Don’t you dare witch hunt older mums but praise mature dads

It’s 2019.

(Image credit: FilmMagic)

It’s 2019.

I woke up this morning to the news that 70-year-old Richard Gere had confirmed that he was becoming a dad for the third time, welcoming his second child just nine months ago.

Well, no offence to the Pretty Woman actor, who I’m actually a fan of, but reading through the reports on my commute to work, I was livid.

Don’t get me wrong - I have no problem with Richard Gere, and it wasn’t his age that bothered me. Instead, it was the disparity in how he has been treated for becoming a mature father, as opposed to how he would be treated as a woman.

‘Congratulations’, ‘Gorgeous’, ‘Best news’, ‘Sending you love’.

These were the comments dominating the internet today as Richard and his wife broke the news.

And that all seems well and good, right? Of course, when someone’s having a baby, you congratulate them.

Except, those weren’t the comments that flooded my newsfeed last year when Brigitte Nielsen became a mum aged 54.

‘Disgusting’, ‘selfish’, ‘sickening’ - those are the ones that stuck with me, anyway.

Personally, I find the double standard ‘disgusting’, ‘selfish’ and ’sickening’.

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It’s 2019, and mature mum shaming should be long gone.

While fans celebrated Richard Gere’s news by taking their bets on whether his new arrival would be An Officer and a Gentleman or a Pretty Woman (get the references?), the great debate on Brigitte Nielsen’s camp was whether she would look like her child’s mother or grandmother.

Why is it ok for Richard Gere to create another child just because he has the Y chromosome whereas Brigitte Nielson was practically burnt at the stake for it? And she was the one who actually pushed out a human. She should be congratulated.

This is of course something that Brigitte did speak out about last year, because to put it bluntly, she had to.

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'Some women think, "Oh my God, I'm too old," But how many men have their first kids in their 60s and 70s and they never doubt it?,' Brigitte explained in an interview with People. 'I totally respect that not everybody likes it, but it is my life, and my husband and I have a solid relationship.'

What's the betting that this is an issue that Richard Gere won't have to address, ever?

So, I’m not saying we shouldn’t congratulate Richard Gere. I’m just saying, if you’re going to shake the actor's hand for his exciting baby news, you BETTER extend Brigitte Nielsen and her counterparts the same courtesy.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.