The Age Old Myth: That Women Must Not Age
If you’re skimming through this article, you’re either a woman feeling the crushing weight of societal ageism or someone with an urgent need to crack a joke about a skincare product. The discussions we frequently have about women’s age are an undeniable reflection of our society’s bias. It’s high time we started challenging this leviathan called ageism, starting with the ludicrously sexist expression, “you look younger than your age”. Grab your glasses (not the rose-tinted ones) and read on about why this needs to stop.
Embracing Experience Instead of Youth As a Measure of Attractiveness
On a lighter note, if wrapping everybody in the illusion of eternal youth was the key to a utopia, wouldn’t we have foundations flavoured ‘Forever 21’ replacing water in our diets? Sure, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of healthy self-care, but doesn’t the fixation on youthful looks sort of neglect the beauty of experience and wisdom?
Instead of reinforcing the stereotype that women need to maintain a youthful appearance to be desired, society can learn to value the beauty of experience. After all, who said only wine could age gracefully?
The Dehumanizing Aspects of Making Age an Othering Tool
Picture this: someone goes out their way to tell you that you don’t look your age and gets a five-star rating for that comment. Well, they might as well have said, “I know your age, but I obliviously choose to see you as something else.”
Telling women that they look younger than their age implies that aging is a nightmare, a one-way ticket to invisibility, and that’s far from the truth or the reality we should be promoting.
Empowering Women by Normalizing Aging
Why does beauty have an expiry date, but James Bond movies don’t? One is natural and a beautiful part of our life cycle; the other is fiction! Okay, maybe that comparison was a bit far-fetched, but shouldn’t we appreciate every stage of life’s journey?
Let’s try and change the narrative. Saying someone “looks their age” could be seen as acknowledging their experience, wisdom, and their journey. Maybe it could even carry the promise of a conversation filled with enriching anecdotes instead of flattery based on fleeting beauty standards.
In the same way, we’re taught to embrace the diverse aspects of life, let’s learn to understand and appreciate each other regardless of age, appearance or the number of anti-ageing products we owe our ‘youthful’ looks to.