Let's give ourselves a pat on the back, because there are at least two fields in which we out-earn our male counterparts: music and acting. Yes, indeed — the release of Forbes' 2013 Top Earning Celebrities Under 30 proves that of the top 10 actors, actresses, pop stars and otherwise under 30 who are making it rain, an impressive seven are women. So, yay ladies (and yay to Lady Gaga, who tops this year's list)! Because maybe, just maybe, this is a sign that gender equality will reach all workplaces someday. However, it also raises a question: Where are the successful male twentysomethings?
Obviously, there are quite a few, but are, say, Zac Efron, Rob Pattinson, and Chace Crawford on the same level as Jennifer Lawrence, Adele, or Taylor Swift? Not so much. We see young female singers or actresses making bank as well as establishing their chokehold on our hearts from an early age, but there is distinct dearth of male celebrities doing the same. Is it because, as we always knew and our moms always told us, boys take longer to mature? Or is it somehow related to the desires of the viewing audience, a sign that we don't actually want mega-celebrities to be boys versus men?
It could be a bit of both. For one, think of the twentysomething guys you know. They're lovely, of course, and many boast the maturity of men twice their age, but many also bring loads of childish I'm-just-being-me bullshit to the table. (And, my god, just one peeing, Bill Clinton-insulting Justin Bieber is enough.) Add to that the awkward puberty stage that many young male stars face (and many young female stars like Emma Watson manage to bypass), and there's little wonder why audiences prefer to latch onto older male celebrities.
But then there's something even more to be said about exposure. Rihanna has put out seven albums in seven years, an impressive feat considering that she has also completed five tours in that time. Lady Gaga has been almost continuously on tour since her first hit in 2009, and has put out two albums in that time. These are women working their asses off to be successes, tirelessly pushing to succeed. And we see the same in acting: We do have twentysomething heartthrobs, like the aforementioned Efron and Pattinson, but the fact is that they're just not producing at the level of their lady competitors. Lawrence is part of two multimillion dollar franchises, won an Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook, and shows up in the news constantly. Whether that's because of drive or marketability, it's clearly difficult for men to make the similar jump from young upstart to sultry star. It seems Hollywood and audiences are much more accepting of their leading men as men.
After all, if we look at our favorite leading men, they are almost uniformly in their mid-to-late 30s, even if they look younger. (Damn you, cruel universe, in which men get better looking while our boobs fall to our knees and whatnot.) Meaty roles require men with more life experience than younger actors have to offer, so the age difference in Hollywood remains absurd. (Almost as absurd as this admitted double standard.) With this as a Hollywood given, we often see a male lead who is a decade older than his leading lady.
But cheers for womankind for being awesome and career-savvy as usual. The girls have set the bar high, guys. It's time to up your game.