While both leading ladies and leading men are generally expected to be fit and attractive, those standards are time and time again far more harshly applied to women. After all, plenty of male actors have changed their appearance over the years, whether via plastic surgery or the natural effects of aging. Yet that’s seldom seen as a massive cause for concern.

In fact, Zellweger’s co-star Colin Firth has visibly aged quite a bit since playing Mark Darcy in 2001’s Bridget Jones. But it’s almost impossible to imagine anyone suggesting audiences won’t believe he’s playing the same character.

The tired, frustrating truth is that Hollywood doesn’t like the idea of watching women get older, which is why so many women in Hollywood feel compelled to get plastic surgery in the first place. After receiving praise for “aging gracefully” in the decade-spanning Boyhood, Patricia Arquette told People she felt “trapped” by the constant discussions of her looks and called the chatter about onscreen aging a “one-sided conversation.” And she’s not alone. Star Wars star Carrie Fisher took to Twitter to express a similar frustration about the constant discussions surrounding her body:

Hollywood’s discomfort with watching women age is part of the reason women over 40 have such a hard time finding interesting, complex roles. Vulture found that while leading men get older, their love interests stay the same age. This explains why a 37-year-old Maggie Gyllenhaal was told she was too old to play the love interest of a 55-year-old man. And why Olivia Wilde was deemed too old to romance Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf Of Wall Street despite the fact that she’s nine years younger than him. (The role eventually went to Margot Robbie, 16 years DiCaprio’s junior.)

Even roles clearly written for older women tend to go to younger ones. Vulture tracked particularly egregious examples of actresses playing mother roles they were far too young for. The 29-year-old Angelina Jolie, for example, played the mother of a 28-year-old Colin Farrell in Alexander. And 25-year-old Jennifer Lawrence has bolstered her early career by playing roles that seem to have been written for 40-year-old women.

Put another way: Robert Downey Jr. is currently playing one of the world’s most popular superheroes, while Marissa Tomei and Diane Lane are playing the mother figures of superheroes. All three actors are 51 years old.

Rather than shame individual women under the guise of pseudo-intellectual critiques of vanity, we should be shaming the system that appears designed to crush them. If there is a problem involving Zellweger, it’s certainly not her decisions about what to do with her body. The problem lies with an industry that limits the choices of its female stars and then punishes them when they try to play by the unwritten rules.

As evidence, look to critic Gleiberman, who seems to think he is paying Zellweger a compliment in his piece by describing her as ”beautiful, but not in the way that a Nicole Kidman or a Julia Roberts was. She was beautiful in the way an ordinary person is.” How odd that an actress might feel pressure to alter her image after being subjected to such critiques. Remember, as director and activist Lexi Alexander explained on Twitter:

We should also keep in mind that audiences first fell in love with Bridget Jones not because of the size of her eyelids or the shape of her cheeks, but because of the zany, harried, and utterly endearing energy Zellweger brought to the role. Gleiberman might find her “an extraordinary ordinary girl,” but that’s not what made her famous, not really. If the trailers for the new film are any indication, the insecure, optimistic Bridget that audiences have come to know and love will be back on screen this time around, even if Zellweger’s lips look a tad different.

How ironic that 15 years ago, the first Bridget Jones film drilled home the message that it’s okay to love “imperfect” women just as they are. Clearly that’s a message Hollywood—and Owen Gleiberman—still need to learn.

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.