Nineties heartthrob/renowned nice-guy Keanu Reeves is officially off the market. Reports of the star’s relationship status flooded in early Tuesday morning after he appeared on the red carpet alongside artist Alexandra Grant the night before. The couple immediately gained the public’s support and broke hearts across the globe, but despite many congratulating the pair, comments on Grant’s age and appearance quickly followed.
While Reeves is not characterized as one who judges based on looks, Grant has undeniable beauty—beauty that many are correlating with her age. Grant is only forty-six, but she likes to keep it natural (‘it’ being her hair color). The public immediately took notice of Grant’s silver locks, deeming her a suitable age-match for fifty-five year-old Reeves despite the nine-year age difference between the two.
Alexandra Grant and Keanu Reeves
— Keanu Reeves หนูรักเค้า ❤ (@keanureevesmore) November 3, 2019
Though many remarks on Grant’s age were meant to be positive, they were inherently back-handed. It seems as though the masses do, in fact, believe she is beautiful—for her age, at least. And of course there were the unfortunate is-she-his-girlfriend-or-grandmother jabs, as ageism never dies in the media, but the worst aspects of this situation are implied.
Y'all know you can celebrate Keanu Reeves having a gf in his same age bracket without using the frankly misogynist term "age appropriate" right?
— abolish the disney-nostalgia industrial complex (@jannahskywalker) November 6, 2019
Her age came as a shock to many, it seems. A man dating a woman who is nearly a decade younger than him is revolutionary in Hollywood, and not because of how apart they are in age, but rather how close. Last week, sixty-five year-old actor Dennis Quaid announced his engagement to a woman nearly forty years younger than him. Forty-four Leonardo DiCaprio has quite a notable reputation for dating young women fresh out of their teens. How often do we discuss their girlfriends’ ages, though, and how often do we label them age appropriate—or rather inappropriate?
The answer is rarely. Quaid trended on Twitter as a brief blip—a sudden engagement announcement—then was forgotten by mainstream media. DiCaprio’s preferences for adolescents has basically become the butt of a joke, not a questionable pattern in which the age gap continues to grow between him and his ever-changing significant other. We do not comment on those young women’s hair colors, nor do we decide whether or not they are pretty… for their age. The reason why we do not do such things is that, in Hollywood, these kinds of age gaps have become normalized. We do not see the power imbalance. We do not see the stark differences in maturity. We do not recognize such discrepancies when analyzing public figures. We have accepted this behavior as a common relationship dynamic amongst celebrities.
Keanu Reeves continues to maintain his anti-Hollywood down-to-earth image by dating someone around his own age instead of a child
— Donavan (Cripp Daddy♿) (@RealYungCripp) November 6, 2019
Is the most fascinating thing to talk about Alexandra Grant REALLY her age? She’s a highly accomplished artist, a philanthropist and a babe. Can she please not be reduced to ‘Keanu’s age appropriate girlfriend’ -she’s a spectacular woman in her own right, he’s lucky to be her man
— Emily Sears (@emilysears) November 5, 2019
There’s no denying that Keanu Reeves is one of the most respectable figures in Hollywood or that this relationship suits him well. There is just no real reason to celebrate these age dynamics. He is not doing anything revolutionary by dating a woman near his age; we just have warped our view of Hollywood relationships and have turned a blind eye to instances of romantic imbalance.
The only time we recognize celebrity behavior and relationship dynamics is when they are completely average: an age gap less than ten years, natural hair color, a lack of botox. We have normalized Hollywood relationship dynamics and Hollywood beauty standards to the point where we praise a man for not dating a twenty year-old in his mid fifties, but are shocked when a woman refuses to dye her hair.
Featured image via Davey Adesida / W Magazine