Why do we chase youth and beauty? Seriously, we (mature women) are obsessed with wanting to look younger. Women are relentlessly seeking fixes to hide wrinkles and silver strands at a hit in our wallets and the cost of our health. We secretly stare at our own reflections picking at and sabotaging our own bodies. We stand in front of the mirror and perform fictional nips and tucks to see what we’d look like if a surgeon cut off an inch of flesh, pulled and tucked loose skin, and extracted a pound of fat.
Regardless of age, women subjugate their bodies for scientific experiments all for the sake of vanity (or for the sake of something else). We sign legal documents that release experts from all risks associated with surgery, oblivious to the fact that cosmetic procedures are life-threatening surgeries that don’t guarantee safety. Let alone, we ingest pills backed by merely indicative studies and inconclusive research that don’t prove nor confirm that taking a supplement will in fact improve our wellbeing. We pathetically fall for influencer and celebrity affirmations. Even the most intelligent ones among us are gullible to celebrity-endorsed products and procedures, not realizing that profit is the end product of every endorsement. Why?
I’m guilty of chasing youth too
At first, I hesitated to write about this topic. Hey, it’s been three weeks since I shared the latest blog post because I had been contemplating the idea. As someone who has been under the knife for cosmetic purposes and as someone who has been poked with needles, I should speak for myself and avoid hypocrisy. But I’m not a hypocrite and I’m not here to be critical of myself and millions of women who chase the same dream! I’m writing this to expose the harsh reality of a deceptive system and society. A system that preaches one thing and practices another. A society that displays the colors of the rainbow but sees shades of gray.
This should bother you!
Why are we chasing youth? I ask this question because each day, we contradict ourselves when we applaud female empowerment, for hurraying gray locks and craw feet. On the other hand, we cannot stop hunting for the opposite, for a younger-looking version of us. We see the media embrace aging women in magazines as fashion designers started to feature older models on runways and covers. Yet we are still ashamed of showing our age. Are we cocky? Or are we intuitively sensing that ageism is still alive and real?
Workplace ageism: a myth or a reality?
A few weeks ago, one of the largest companies in Canada faced severe criticism regarding the dismissal of a 50-something female journalist and accusations of ageism. The story goes that Lisa LaFlamme, a renowned Canadian journalist was questioned about letting her hair go gray which fueled speculations about the reason why she was dismissed. And ever since, people began writing a series of confessions on Linkedin about workplace ageism. All of a sudden, every midlife female on Linkedin is speaking up against the practice of ageism in recruitment and promotion. I was not surprised to read the posts. In fact, I’ve been sensing bias in recruitment and hiring while I was searching for a job in the past 12 months. Don’t ask me how or why I felt that way, I just did. The Linkedin posts in previous weeks confirmed these feelings.
Oh, so finally they’re spilling the bean! You’re too old for a new career, too old for a promotion, too old to fit in a “dynamic” young company. It is these sentiments that play with women’s psyche and self-confidence. Aging is a blessing and a chance for women to exert their wisdom and wealth of experience. Sadly, modern societies haven’t grasped the strengths of mature women, and many women haven’t realized it either.
He loves me not!
A friend’s husband left her because she was aging and he was no longer attracted to her. Of course, not all men are made equal. And there are a few good men out there. However, the thought of being left behind at a certain age, around 40, is terrifying because of the stigma attached to being a woman in midlife. And it’s not terrifying because he left her. She’s terrified because this vibrant, intelligent, and ambitious is labeled as grumpy, moody, unflexible, and out of tune. What is she to do if she desires a new start, a new romance, and companionship if the opposite gender desires youth?
And for women born after 1960, this stereotype is far off reality, a stereotype that chains her persona because of a few lines and silver strands. Gen-X women are modern women who embrace youthfulness inside, in their minds and hearts. They are forwards-thinkers, achievers, and independent. They will tell you that they still feel 20 even at 50.
Nip, tuck, stuff, and color all you want
The pursuit of the younger version of us is not the correct ammunition to fight ageism, but rather a simple tool to resist it when it’s prevalent. We chase youth for many reasons, vanity, self-confidence, and perfectionism. It’s a pill that monitors our inner insecurities which we inherited as a result of social and systematic injustice towards women… aging women. We swallow the pain of extremity to be accepted by our partners, co-workers, and children. We want to look young because we are young at heart and mind. Call it a midlife crisis, call it whatever you want. To us, we simply want to be the best version of ourselves, inside and outside!