What’s age got to do with it?

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What’s age got to do with it?

Has someone told you, “You don’t look your age!” Whether it’s intended as a compliment or not, this statement reflects a misguided belief; in reality it is actually ageist. It implies that looking younger is a desirable standard, while neglecting the beauty and accomplishments that come with aging.

Ageism is a prevalent issue and it’s important that nobody feels the need to appear younger than they are just to be accepted by others.

Stereotypes, ageism, and the lack of authentic representation of women have distorted our perception of what age should look like. However, there is no right or wrong way to look a certain age. The appearance reflects one’s age because that’s what it looks like for her to be at that age.

Grey hair, wrinkles, and other signs of aging can be beautiful and should not diminish a person’s relevance, abilities, or worth. Age should not limit someone’s ability to run marathons, succeed in business, wear fashionable clothing, or demonstrate intelligence. Grey hair and wrinkles are natural parts of life, and waking up each morning is a blessing in itself.

I came across the campaign #ILookMyAge on LinkedIn by Centre for Ageing Better. I was not only impressed with it but also was heartening to see women from around the globe challenging the stereotype of ageism. They proudly stated their age and were happy the way they looked. Finally it was a feeling of shattering the stereotypes of how women should look.

It is their groundbreaking project, “Ending the Age of Invisibility” by The Bias Cut, revolves around authentic and celebratory representation of women aged 50 and above. They aim to challenge ageism and redefine what it means to “look one’s age.”

To celebrate, they are inviting everyone to proudly state their age and proclaim, “I look my age.” With an intention to reclaim the definition of age, redefining what it means to “look one’s age.”

Challenging unrealistic beauty standards placed on women in media and advertisements

In today’s society that is driven by media (all kinds especially social media); women are bombarded with stereotypes that dictate how they should look, behave, and present themselves. Women are constantly exposed to images of flawless, young, and conventionally attractive models, which set unrealistic beauty standards. These have detrimental effects of such unattainable expectations and encourage women to challenge and redefine the concept of beauty on their own terms.

Media and advertising often perpetuate the notion that youthfulness is the epitome of beauty. From skincare products promising to erase wrinkles to hair dyes claiming to cover up gray, the message is clear: aging is undesirable, and women must strive to maintain a youthful appearance at all costs. This pressure can lead to self-doubt, anxiety, and even self-esteem issues, as women feel inadequate for not meeting these unrealistic standards.

Another aspect of the beauty standards imposed is the emphasis on physical perfection. Models with flawless skin, hourglass figures, and symmetrical features dominate the media landscape, creating an unattainable ideal that leaves many women feeling insecure about their own bodies. The constant pursuit of this narrow definition of beauty can result in unhealthy behaviors, such as extreme dieting or undergoing risky cosmetic procedures.

Media and advertisements often depict a specific type of woman as the ideal, reinforcing stereotypes and marginalizing those who do not fit the mold. Whether it’s the portrayal of a thin, white, and able-bodied woman as the standard of beauty or the lack of representation for diverse body types, races, ages, and abilities, the message is clear: if you don’t fit into this predetermined category, you’re not beautiful or worthy. This narrow representation not only erases the diversity of women’s experiences but also perpetuates discrimination and exclusion.

It’s high time that women reclaim their power and challenge these unrealistic beauty standards. It’s time to:

  • Embrace Diversity: Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, ages, and colors. It’s essential to celebrate and embrace the diverse beauty that exists in the world, including our own unique features and qualities.
  • Demand Authentic Representation: Consumers have the power to demand advertisements that reflect real women with real bodies and experiences. Supporting brands that prioritise diversity and inclusive representation can drive positive change in the industry.
  • Focus on Inner Beauty: Instead of solely focusing on external appearances, let’s emphasise qualities like kindness, intelligence, compassion, and resilience. True beauty lies in the way we treat others and ourselves.
  • Challenge the Norms: Let’s challenge societal norms by actively rejecting narrow beauty standards and promoting body positivity. Encourage open discussions about the harmful effects of these standards and support initiatives that promote self-acceptance and self-love.

Women need to redefine beauty on their own terms and break free from the shackles of unrealistic expectations. It’s time to celebrate and embrace our uniqueness, because every woman is beautiful in her own way.

PS: This article was first published in Womens Web. https://www.womensweb.in/2023/06/oh-you-dont-look-your-age/

Pictures are taken from Google with due credits.

Dr. Laxmi Todiwan
Dr. Laxmi Todiwan
Founder Indian Women in Hospitality. She is a Professor, Corporate Trainer, Motivational Speaker and a Blogger. A multiple award winning hospitality professional with a career spanning over two decades; people engagement, training and development are close to her heart. She writes for hospitality journals, online platforms and columns in the local newspapers. Married to a Master Mariner she loves to write on the maritime industry as well as the lives and relationships of the fraternity. She expresses her thoughts on her blog and website, www.theiwh.com

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