As women, we've been taught that beauty is synonymous with youth. Our subconscious minds have been subliminally programmed to believe that aging is undesirable, and women expire after a certain age. When women reach the forty plus category they are written off and given an automatic death sentence.
All of a sudden, in the blink of an eye we start to be cut off from the world we once new. Our faces aren’t seen in the media, goods and services are no longer marketed to us. It’s a kind of unspoken invisibility that leaves many us in a kind of vacuum, walking between life and death. We’re too old to wear mini skirts but not old enough to wear Depends.
There are so many negative connotations surrounding the word aging. A line, a wrinkle, weight gain, a bit of cellulite and grey hair are all associated with aging. It’s almost like a dirty little word that you shouldn’t say. God forbid you dare talk about getting old! It’s the subject of conversation that everyone avoids, yet secretly dreads; An almost taboo topic that occurs to each and every one of us.
Many women entering their forties struggle with their emotions, and finding their place during midlife. It can be destabilizing for some, even traumatizing. Women sometimes struggle to carve out a new path during their “journey” into midlife. But who said that entering midlife is a “journey”? Why can’t we just continue on the same road we’ve always traveled on, and be who we’ve always been? Why does society make it so hard for women to just be themselves?
As a woman over forty, you’re given a list of things that you can’t do. You can’t dress this way, wear this type of makeup, or do certain activities. Now we’ve become too old to do all the things we used to do. And to top it all off, there aren’t any products or services being marketed to us. So what are we supposed to wear? What beauty brands are we supposed to buy? When you look at beauty advertisements for anti-aging products, a twenty five year old woman is always used. The beauty industry and the media has done a fabulous job at making women over forty feel invisible.
If I relied on the beauty industry and the media to determine my self-worth, then I’d probably be a depressed person. I’ve had to mentally assert myself to rise above how society views women in midlife.
When I look in the mirror I see a young woman, because I feel young. Yes, I am aging (of course). But its about how I feel about myself. I am young because I feel young. And there isn’t a line, wrinkle or bit of cellulite that can make me feel differently! I don’t let the media dictate how I see myself.
I’ve always believed that you’re only as young as you feel. And if you feel good, then you’ll look good. It’s a a very simple formula! People who feel good about themselves are happier and make better decisions, because they love themselves. There is absolutely no reason for women to lose confidence because of a line or a wrinkle. It’s all about mindset. Entering midlife does not have to be a death sentence.
I know that it’s hard to fight against negative ideals that have been subliminally programmed into our brains for years. We’ve been programmed without our knowledge, and sometimes it can be difficult to fight against such indoctrination; especially when we’re looking in the mirror and the enemy we’re trying so hard to fight has become ourselves.
The real enemy is the beauty industry and all the negative marketing strategies that have been shoved down our throats. Defying years of negative indoctrination that has been subliminally programmed into our subconscious takes courage. Living your life free of fear, takes guts.
The beauty industry makes billions each year from fear mongering and creating insecurities. But once we step out of the shadow of fear and into the light, we’ve won the battle. I don’t think that the beauty industry would make as much money as it does if women were happier.
I listen to women of all ethnicities in different parts of the world on a daily basis. And quite frankly, it breaks my heart to hear women who have somehow lost their confidence and are living in fear, because they’re in midlife. A large part of my mission is to empower, celebrate, and change the way women in midlife view themselves. There is nothing wrong with aging, it's a fact of life. Ultimately the beauty industry needs to change its approach to aging, and stop instilling fear in Gen Z and Millennials.
But first and foremost, the change begins with us. By creating positive dialogues that are centered around aging and disrupting the industry, we can eliminate the fear of entering the forty plus category. It’s not about “anti-aging”, it’s about “pro-aging”.
Read: 40 Over Fashion. Is "Age Appropriate" Fashion A Thing Of The Past?
One thing is for certain that everybody's aging, whether you're a newborn baby or a seventy year old woman. Aging is a part of life. We age until finally we expire. So why is it so hard to accept the aging process?
For something so inevitable that everyone will undoubtably experience, aging has been given a bad rap. Nobody wants to age, or (God Forbid) look like they're aging. We do so many things to try to slow down the aging process form creams, serums, a nip here and a little tuck there. Everyone fears the day that wrinkles will set in. With all the anxiety surrounding the topic of aging, I wonder why the subject isn't more popular.
In 2020, I began to study social media and how beauty brands market across different platforms. I soon discovered that there was an obsession or rather "fear" of aging. Teens and young adults barely out of high school were discussing wrinkles. These youthful fresh faced beauties were actively seeking solutions to issues that women forty and over commonly face, without having an actual line or wrinkle. This was insane! I read more.
I discovered that teenagers and twenty somethings were now using retinoids, Botox, and strong peels traditionally reserved for women in their forties or above. What brought about this sudden obsession with aging?
The beauty industry has cleverly used social media to market and promote it's agenda. With the majority of social media users being teenagers and twenty somethings, it's no wonder why they are so insecure.
Once upon a time, anti-aging products were marketed to the demographic who actually needed them. Now these products are being marketed to kids, because if you instill fear in them while they're young then they'll forever be on a quest to perfect themselves, and become customers for life.
When everyone thinks of the beauty industry, they think about all the niceties. Makeup, beautiful hair, great skin, and glamour. But what they don't think about is what makes it a multi-billion dollar industry, and how the business keeps on churning.
One word...fear. Fear equals sales. The beauty industry is built on fear. The fear of aging; the fear of getting wrinkles. It's a very cunning strategy. And it works. Unless we change the narrative, open our eyes, and start discussions on how to age positively then we'll only continue on a downward trajectory. For those of us who are forty plus, we have enough wisdom and life experience not to get consumed by what's in the media. But for those of an impressionable age, this can really damage the self esteem.
It's quite worrisome that young adults are unhappy with their appearance and deathly afraid of getting a wrinkle. There shouldn't be so much pressure and anxiety surrounding the process of aging. It's only by teaching them how to embrace and accept themselves, that they'll have a healthy relationship with aging.
As I gracefully glide through the aging process, I realize I'm definitely much better now than I was during my youth. I've grown to appreciate the things that aging brings. I am just like a fine wine that gets better with age.
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