kate bosworthI watched snippets of Superman Returns tonight on HBO, after having seen it in the theater last summer. I’m not going to waste your time by pointing out the terrible special effects, the gaping plot holes, and the baffling ending that I am sure cannot be explained to me logically by anyone.

But I do want to talk about this one thing, because I’ve seen it a lot lately and it is driving me crazy: why are female love interests today getting younger and younger while the male leads stay the same age?

I think Superman Returns is the best example of this phenomenon, since this movie supposedly takes place five years after the original Superman movie (which was released in 1978. Now, in the original movie, Lois Lane is painted as a no-nonsense career women – a reporter high up on the ladder at a big city paper. Margot Kidder (below left), who plays the original Lois Lane, was 30 when the movie was made and might even look a bit older than that in the movie. It might be a stretch, but it’s somewhat believable that she could be writing big articles for the paper at that time.

Now let’s fast forward to Kate Bosworth (above right), who plays Lois Lane in Superman Returns thirty years later. She was around 23 when the movie was made, and she looks around that age in the movie. But she’s got a five-year-old kid and it’s been five years since Superman was around – this should land her in her mid-thirties, at least. Instead, she looks a solid ten or fifteen years younger than she should.

I might be able to suspend my disbelief that some 23-year-old has landed a huge job at a city paper, but now I’m supposed to believe that she got five years younger instead of five years older during a five-year span of time? Is she also from a different planet? And am I also supposed to believe that, if she’s 23 now, that she was 18 when she got the job at the paper and originally met Superman? That’s harder for me to accept than a guy who wears a cape and blue tights and carries around commercial jets.

Even more than that, am I supposed to believe that she’s gotten more glamorous, less charmingly odd, and less practical after the birth of her bastard child and as time passed?

Who knows, maybe this has to do with the fact that I’m a brunette. Who tends to photograph weird. Or that I am not nearly as skinny as either Bosworth or Kidder. But seriously, I think it might be a scary sign of our times. For a long time we’ve know that actresses tend to “lose their value” as they age much faster than their male counterparts, but this is getting ridiculous.

I mean, we’re getting a strong, quirky, smart, career-minded character in Lois Lane, but in today’s standards we have to also make her barely legal? What do we tell the girls in this country, who are going to think that they and their aspirations expire right before they’re old enough to rent a car? That they should hurry up and get married before they become invisible at 25? That they should skip college and get to man-finding?

And don’t be that one guy who mentions that Juliet was 12, because I don’t want to hear it. Juliet might have been 12, but she was also dumb and immature enough to kill herself over a dude when she should have been pursuing her own dreams, taking guitar lessons and gossiping on the phone, had phones been invented.