chapter  4
14 Pages

Crumbling Rejuvenation

Archetype, embodiment and the ‘Aging Beauty myth’
WithJosephine Dolan

The chapter takes bearings from the fantasy films Stardust and Snow White and the Huntsman, and explores the cultural specificity of the crone archetype as realised through Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) technologies. The circulation of the crone archetype has always articulated some of the cultural anxieties about aging, especially for women whose identities and sense of self-worth are problematically imbricated in discourses of idealized beauty. The problem is particularly evident in contemporary culture due to the attractions of successful aging discourses. After forging links between traditional myth and fairytale, and Roland Barthes' mythologies, the chapter traces the intersection of femininity, successful aging and rejuvenation agendas as they intersect in the constitution of an 'aging beauty myth' embodied by the films' stars. For femininity, successful aging is predicated on its insertion into what Naomi Wolf has termed the beauty myth such as panoply of procedures, processes, products and panaceas that commodify women's bodies.