Clarke posted a picture of a mug sent by her mother and received ageist and mean comments from some social media users.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 3, 2023. It has since been updated.
Women in TV and films, or in general, are constantly compared to impossible beauty standards. Many actresses have spoken out about the limited roles available to them as they age while their male counterparts continue to be offered a variety of roles well into their later years. Moreover, they are also judged by millions of people worldwide for the natural process of aging. Emilia Clarke, the "Game of Thrones" lead actor, also faced criticism for aging. However, fans did rally around the actor and shared positive messages for sharing a natural selfie.
At the age of 24, Clarke landed her breakout role in the popular HBO fantasy series, "Game of Thrones," which debuted in 2011. Portraying the character of Daenerys Targaryen, her 16-year-old character was sold into marriage with Khal Drogo by her brother during the first season of the show. She played the role of Daenerys in all eight seasons of "Game of Thrones" and disclosed later that she suffered from two life-threatening brain aneurysms while filming. Clarke experienced her first aneurysm in 2011 and another two years later. In 2019, she disclosed that due to those health scares, a significant portion of her brain is no longer functional and that she is "missing quite a bit" following the surgeries.
During a TV appearance on BBC, Clarke expressed her amazement at being able to live her life normally without any consequences after experiencing two life-threatening brain aneurysms, which required lengthy recovery periods during which she could not recall her own name and suffered panic attacks. "It’s remarkable that I am able to speak, sometimes articulately, and live my life completely normally with absolutely no repercussions," she said. "In my worst moments, I wanted to pull the plug. I asked the medical staff to let me die."
After making a full recovery, Clarke has been exuding a zest for life. She is frequently spotted with a wide grin and is well-known for her contagious positivity and constant giggles at public events and on social media. Clarke shared a cheerful photograph on social media, posing with a mug sent by her mother with the words "You're doing f**cking great," written on it. She wrote in the caption, "Mum got me a mug. I felt it was important to share this new found wisdom. Use it and reap the rewards."
The comments section was flooded with appreciation from her followers after she shared the candid photo. Gamer Jon Miller gained popularity on Twitter when he shared a screenshot of Clarke's post and made a mean comment, saying "Lmao wow Daenerys Targaryen didn't just hit the wall she flew into it full speed on a dragon." Although some people supported Jon Miller's tweet, many others immediately criticized his hurtful comment, sparking a broader discussion about society's attitude toward women and aging.
Lmao wow Daenerys Targaryen didn’t just hit the wall she flew into it full speed on a dragon 🐉 pic.twitter.com/La3nAJbsqt— Jon Miller (@MillerStream) February 26, 2023
Emilia is a great actress who almost died from 2 brain aneurysm's. Those of us who have died and came back or almost have died count each day as a blessing. Before you refer to her looks maybe be aware of what she went though. She is a warrior. What do you offer in the grand… https://t.co/LnYLoIbrbO— The JoKeR Show on Resistance Radio! (@JoKeRToyHunter) February 27, 2023
Twitter user @CardinalCatboy wrote, "Emilia Clarke was beautiful when she was 22, she’s still an extremely beautiful woman here. She’s just aged…which hasn’t made her any less beautiful. I fail to see the problem with this picture." Another person @AndySwan said, "Imagine dunking on a woman because she looked more perfect when she was younger in movie quality lighting, makeup and camera angles."
Some people pointed out that Clarke is not the only woman in her 30s who faces criticism of her appearance and that this issue extends beyond famous individuals. They argued that women are often trapped in a no-win situation, especially when it comes to societal beauty standards. During an interview with Elle, she expressed her positive perspective on aging, stating that she embraces her face reflecting the time she has spent living. She said, "You've got this idea of aging, and then you've got the idea of what aging makes you look like. At 34, I am wiser, more intelligent, I've had more experiences, I've done all this stuff, and I'm proud of that." She added, "You can only do that because you are the age you are. Time is the only thing that allows you to do those things. So, if my face is gonna reflect the time that I've spent on this earth, I'm down for that."