It’s been exactly 30 years since Keanu Reeves portrayed a teenager in the cult classic Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. The actor, who is now 55, has never been married and is now dating Alexandra Grant, 46. And for some reason, this strikes many people as odd.
The couple is currently trending on Twitter with many praising Reeves for dating an ‘age-appropriate’ woman. It may be Reeves’ youthful charm or Grant’s natural gray hair that has many doing a double-take, but the sad truth seems to be that when it comes to ageism and sexism, Hollywood, for all its #MeToo activism, still belongs to a world in which men and women are judged very differently.
The Matrix actor, who tends to be very guarded when it comes to his private life, is not to blame in this scenario. When the couple was spotted holding hands at the LAMCA Art + Film Gala on Saturday, many on social media were quick to praise Reeves for dating a woman nine years younger than him, as if it made more sense for him to be dating a 20-year-old.
The relationship between Reeves and Grant is not new. They have worked together as business partners on the adult picture book “Ode to Happiness” (2011) and the photography collection “Shadows” (2016), and like many friends, their relationship has blossomed into a romance. Shocking.
Our hearts are full for Keanu Reeves and Alexandra Grant after they shared this moment on the red carpet pic.twitter.com/gm1IFhMN8r— NowThis (@nowthisnews) November 8, 2019
“In this house, we love, support and respect Keanu Reeves and Alexandra Grant,” one Twitter user wrote. The post has received nearly 24,000 likes and more than 5,000 retweets.
It’s understandable that if you’re a fan and like Reeves that you might be happy that he’s found love, but it doesn’t make much sense to applaud his relationship for reasons other than wishing him well. Comments like “Of course Keanu has an age-appropriate girlfriend. He is a Good Man,” only reinforce the fact that a man with a girlfriend who is reasonably close to him in age is worthy of praise, yet women like director Sam Taylor-Johnson, 52, who has been married to Aaron Taylor-Johnson, 29, for seven years are often the object of ridicule.
Sharon Marcus, a professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University and the author of The Drama of Celebrity told NBC News that the conversation surrounding Reeves and Grant highlights the ways men are held to less harsh standards than women.
“If the ages were switched and Grant was 55 instead of 46, people would view the situation differently,” Marcus said. “But now Keanu Reeves is getting treated as a king and prince for dating a woman older than 25 because men get graded on a curve and are praised for being moderately decent.”
In Opinion— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 7, 2019
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“We live in a society that understands success in material terms and views women as assets,” Marcus added. “When a celebrity like Keanu Reeves goes out with an older woman who doesn’t dye her hair, some people think he should be awarded a feminist Nobel Prize.”
Of course, sometimes the door swings both ways. Dennis Quaid, 65, has recently been criticized for his engagement to Laura Savoie, a 26-year-old doctoral student at the University of Texas. Still, at the end of the day, many are probably thinking, “good for him.” And yes, good for him and good for anyone who finds love. Also, good for Emma Watson for saying she was “self-partnered” rather than single in an interview with British Vogue because to quote Rupaul, “If you don't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”