Rewriting the Narrative on Being an Older Woman
What do Suzanne Somers, Cindy Crawford and Jane Seymour have in common? All of them are selling you “ageless” skin care. And most women are buying it. Maybe not the product but the idea that you are in need of radical repair. It’s the message older women are bombarded with on a daily basis.
I know I have bought into this message on occasion. I’ve probably spent the equivalent of a new car’s worth (new model BMW) of costly skin care products in the last ten years. While I don’t plan on any cosmetic procedures, I have to admit at times I’ve thought about it…especially when the wrinkle free, lip-plumped woman is getting so many compliments from friends. She even brags about how men now are looking at her. The nerve.
Lately I’ve seen many Facebook posts by women of a certain age either fearful, concerned or saddened by looking older. One woman over 50 wrote: Welcome to a new life of being invisible. In fact polls show that what older women fear most about aging is not being noticed or relevant to society.
But here’s the good news. According to a recent New York Times article there are more women over 50 in this country today than at any other point in history. That’s according to data from the United States Census Bureau. These women are healthier, are working longer and have more income than previous generations.
Think about it when you were in your 20’s and 30’s did you have the skills, confidence and self-knowledge that you have now? Were you stressed over things that now when you look back you realize were ridiculous? How much time did you waste wondering if your Butt looked good to men? I know when I was a TV news reporter I wanted to look and sound the part, not actually believing in myself as I do now. I think that’s why I trust older journalists as a whole.
At this age we should be basking in our glory. Most of us still have strong bodies and our confidence and skills are at their peek. We seek love, adventure and knowledge more than ever.
So why do we give in to this idea that we need to look ten years younger? Why are we made to feel bad about who we are because our skin is no longer flawless? There are lots of people getting rich off of older women’s insecurities, which are magnified by advertisers scare tactics. They say, look at these beautiful women (who are airbrushed or creatively filtered to show a youthful face) enjoying life and everyone is ecstatic over their youthful appearance. They are valued because they are still deemed worthy because they, despite the odds, have radiant skin and toned bodies.
The problem with trying to cling to your youth is that you remain focused on the outside to get your sense of self worth instead of evolving into a love affair with who you are on the inside. You are using your time, energy and money to hold on to an ideal that you think gives you value. I bet if we used the money we spent on all the anti-aging products to further a cause (animal welfare, environmental repair, helping the homeless) our country would be much better off. Instead we are giving plastic surgeons, celebrities and the beauty industry billions to “fix” us when we don’t need fixing. We just need to be the amazing women we’ve become over the five decades or so that we’ve been on this planet. We cannot despair over some wrinkled and sagging parts of our bodies. The world needs us to lead and focus on building a more healthy, enlightened and sane society. Our spirits must soar.
We can take our power back by rewriting the American woman’s narrative that to be old is to be invisible. We are stronger than ever. Now is not the time to throw in the towel and say, ok youngsters, take over. You are the stars in life. I had my day. It’s time for a New Wrinkle on aging so let’s get to work.