TL:DR You can’t, and we need to stop thinking that women are only worth revering if the are (or look) young.
Come on, really, if you have read this blog at all before, you couldn’t really have expected me to be giving out anti-aging tips… I am going to give out some “time is not a thing just do what you want when you want”, advice though, so if you are new, stick around 😀
One day whilst wandering through the world of advertising and social media I ran across an advert for caffeine shampoo for women. This struck me as pretty odd in the first place because honestly, caffeine belongs in your coffee, but it also struck me as perpetuating yet another societal stereotype that negatively affects women and plays on our insecurities. It struck me when I saw and heard the narrator of the advert whisper the words “over 40” as if it were something sneaky or terrible to admit.
It struck me that women are not allowed to age. Or appear to age anyway.
Once you are beyond your 20s you are obligated by society to spend as much time and money as possible trying to convince the world you are still in your 20s. There are countless anti aging moisturisers, face washes, serums, stuff in tubes you put into your wrinkles, sold in supermarkets and beauty selling places, there are varieties of make up that you can use to smooth out your face and all sorts (i am not well up on make up tbh). Not only that there are increasingly alarming cosmetic procedures available to keep your face and body in the same state as it was when it was 25 (from a distance anyway). It is all designed to pile on the pressure and get you to part with your hard earned cash.
There are hair colours and treatments out there to hide greys and make your hair look younger (I didn’t know that was a thing but apparently it is). Yes I am absolutely aware that my hair is not by any means it’s natural colour, but I am not pretending that I don’t dye it and that I have just miraculously escaped the going grey process. I’d be lying however if I didn’t tell you that I have on plenty of occasions dyed my hair to cover up greys as well as to make it look awesome!
I am not immune to the conditioning. Much as I believe that aging is perfectly natural and that I don’t care how old I am or who knows it, there is a teeny part of me that goes *yay* when someone says “you don’t look 44” I do look 44, but I don’t act like a typical 44 year old so people don’t associate me with that age.
This is all to do with long years (44 actually) of society subtly and not so subtly telling me that getting old is bad. Getting old is something to be fought against and that looking old is something to be fought against even harder.
It is of course not possible to reverse aging, not unless you have mastered some sort of quantum time manipulation that lets you change your body at a cellular level… All these things do is attempt to mitigate the signs people associate with aging. But you know what, it is time for this nonsense to stop.
It is time society in general accepted that women, as well as men get older. This happens no matter what you do, and you know what it is not a bad thing.
Being older than you were, is not a reason to stop doing things. The fact that I don’t act like a “typical” 44 yr old is not a fault within me, but a fault in society’s assumptions. There is no right way to behave at any given age! There is no right way to look, no right way to dress and no right or wrong things to do.
(caveat, there are some wrong things to do for children and yes age appropriate can apply to children… that is not what I am talking about here)
If you want to do things, do things… age appropriate activities / looks / clothes etc need to be abolished from general use and from general thinking. If you want to go parachuting and wear new rocks with multicoloured hair, then do it! Probably don’t wear new rocks while parachuting…but that’s more practicality than age appropriateness… Honestly stop thinking about age appropriateness! It doesn’t make sense either, because on one hand women are told to appear young at all cost and on the other they are told to act / dress in an age appropriate manner… You can’t have it both ways, and in my opinion you should have it none of the ways!
Age is nothing to be ashamed of. Embrace the age you are because it is the one and only time in your life that you will be that age! You cannot stop time, the best you can do is be happy about its passing and fill every moment you have with something brilliant!
Something brilliant also includes rest…or sitting or eating 5 cupcakes… life is not all about rushing about, it is about choosing your course for that day. If that course involves sitting on the sofa colouring beacause you have had a hard few days then that is all good. But if that day involves you thinking you have to sit on the sofa because you are too old to do something then have a re think!
Age and aging is not absolute and it is not the same for everyone. There are things that come along with getting older, grey hair, lines on your face, the ability to get to the end of a sentence without inexplicably going up in tone, the ability to make pop-culture references that are no longer pop… but none of those things are shameful or embarrassing. Not even the pop culture one…honest!
I am not saying don’t dye your hair if you want, I am not saying don’t wear make up… All I am saying is don’t feel that you have to do those things to perpetuate the myth that women don’t age!
No, none of this is easy, and the business of convincing women that they need to look the way they did when they were teenagers is huge, so abandoning it is a massive step. It is the entire basis of diet culture after all, as well as a lot of the beauty industry… I’ll cover diet culture (again) in a different post!
Here is a picture of me as a teenager… I am definitely not advocating trying to look the same, but in a weird quirk of fate or stubbornness, I still dress the same as I did. I don’t look the same though, and that’s ok 😀 I think my point it, if you like it, wear what you like, regardless of your age…
My hair is better now and I am way stronger! I also have more lines and bigger everythings but that is ok. I don’t always dress the same as when i was a teenager I promise, some of the 90s / late 80s fashions are never to be repeated