Alexa Demie star of Euphoria is 31 and has been praised for looking amazing at such an age. Society has a weird obsession with turning 30, one that Hollywood only helps to feed. Whether it’s the argument of, turning 30 is the new 21 or the milestones you should have hit by a certain age. Your 30’s are portrayed as a time when you are both young and ancient at the same time. Why can’t turning 30 just be turning 30?
Alexa Demie is not the first actress nor will she be the last to be in the line of fire due to her age. Megan Fox worried about giving up on her career, at the ripe old age of 30. It sounds ridiculous but it’s a very real issue facing women in industries that tend to value them on their looks first and talent/skills second. Hollywood’s agism aspect of 30 isn’t even half of the battle these days, as two features arrived on Netflix in 2021 dealing with the fears of turning the big 3-0.
Bo Burnham’s Emmy award winning Inside took the world by storm in the summer of 2021 and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Oscar nominated Tick, Tick, Boom captivated hearts at the end of the year. These are artistic examples of the “turmoil” turning 30 brings. Both pieces had songs focusing on turning 30 and the pressures that come with it. Ironically these songs were written 30 years apart and still explore similar themes. In Tick, Tick Boom Jonathan Larson’s Boho days we hear “I thought by now I’d have a dog, a kid and wife”. Bo Burnham expresses similar expectations in his song 30 (albeit less eloquently) with his lyric “and now my stupid friends are having stupid children.” The assumption is that people entering their 30’s should either be settled down with a family or have intentions to settle down and start a family. If these are not your intentions then you’re facing an uphill battle of defending yourself as to why you don’t want these things or aren’t ready!
In addition to these societal pressures placed on people in their 30s women fall victim to scrutiny more so than men, after all, their internal body clock is ticking. The world was shocked to hear Alexa Demie born in 1990, portrays 17 year old Maddy Perez in the hit HBO show Euphoria. Comments ranging from how “youthful” and beautiful she looked as if these were mutually exclusive. Despite the fact, that her co-star Zendaya being is in her mid twenties was also playing a teenager, saw little to no backlash. The hardest pill for many to swallow these days is accepting that 30, is not old! and you can look “amazing” yet not look youthful or under 30.
The other factor that seems to be plaguing those on the brink of turning 30 or in fact in their 30s is, despite the fact the world is a very different place. 50 years ago was like a different world but the same “milestones” are often still expected to be met. Owning a house in your 30s in the 2020s is the ultimate luxury whereas in the 1970’s it was nearly a given. across the board millennials (those born between 1981-1996) in western society are falling short of almost all of life’s “checkpoints” than previous generations. Due to economic crisis, housing crisis, energy crisis, and climate crisis it’s to be assumed they are not hitting the same milestones as their parents.
In addition to this for women, it has become far more acceptable to pursue their career before they start a family, or maybe not even start a family at all. But the language used when a woman decides to hold off for a few years is always different when a man in the same boat decides the same. That is to say, there is a discussion when a woman makes this decision whereas it is rarely discussed when a man decides this. The list of examples demonstrating double standards between men and women turning 30 is endless. Alexa Demie is just the most recent victim of agism rearing its ugly head, the mere fact she had kept her age out of the limelight for years speaks volumes. Hopefully, in the coming years, we will stop holding fully grown adults to milestone achievements at certain ages, in the same manner, we track an infant’s milestone achievements.