We women over 50 don’t need to be “fixed”. Aging is not a failure. Today I feel a rant coming on about the “anti-aging” beauty market. Yes, there’s a whole industry that tries to make us unhappy with ourselves. Then, they figure we’ll buy their stuff to feel better.
Our brains have been conditioned to believe one narrow view, that young is beautiful, young is strong. Then Western culture brainwashes us from childhood that that we can be better, prettier, and more desirable if only we buy this or that product.
“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
In the last decade some companies have included women over 50 in beauty campaigns. They still stand out as the exceptions. Here’s 81 year-old Jane Fonda on the cover of British Vogue.
But flip through the inside of any beauty magazine, and many ads for skincare products feature 20-somethings.
The persistent marketing campaigns are not a coincidence: the “anti-aging” industry takes in $80 billion a year. But, as the National Institute on Aging has stated, “no treatments have been proven to slow or reverse the aging process” — therefore, “anti-aging” is a Quixotic mission. Just a thought: perhaps the beauty business could be more supportive, a partner as we age?
The average life expectancy for a woman in the U.S. is 78, and in Canada it’s 82. “In an era in which people actually live longer and longer,” Susan Sontag wrote in the 1972 essay “The Double Standard of Aging,” “what now amounts to the latter two-thirds of life is shadowed by a poignant apprehension of unremitting loss.” I wish I could write like Ms. Sontag, because she just said it!
We don’t lose value as we age. True, we’re not dewy fresh, but we are getting more complex and more interesting. Our lines and spots and silver hairs are not diseases. We don’t need to be hard on ourselves about them, or buy things to get ourselves “fixed.”
Let’s agree to step out of the negative spiral, and focus on health and joy. I look forward to many years of sunscreen, (and retinoids), biking, yoga, quinoa salads, and a healthy
six four ounces of Merlot per day. 😄
P.S. I found a fierce article about the beauty industry, by a young woman, and I recommend it to you: (warning for strong language): “Anti-aging” Is Marketing Bullshit.
End of rant, stay fabulous and safe, wash and wash and wash, xo
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