Society promotes a beauty standard that goes against human biology


(Inc, n.d.)

One of my grandmas had an eyelift, and the other had a facelift. 

“Don’t expose your skin to sunlight.”

“Don’t smile, you’re creating creases.” 

“Never sleep on your sides.”

“Don’t repeat that movement.”

“Your facial expressions are far too exaggerated.” 

“Ladies, start anti-aging creams at age nineteen.” 

Why? To put it simply, women fall victim to societal normalization of equating aging with ugliness. In a world where growing old is against the standards of society, perhaps death is the new beautiful. Noapply this serum, use this eye-cream, get a face lift, get botox, schedule a facial procedure. Ew, wrinkles.

Anyone who watched the Superbowl halftime show saw The Weeknd come full circle with his commentary on Hollywood’s plastic surgery obsessed culture. While he did not sport the prosthetics he used to look like the Real Housewives, his backup dancers were in full facial bandages. His thirteen-minute platform was used to address society’s fixation on youthful beauty.

Age shaming is a burden that primarily heavies women. There is a universal fear of mortality, yet women and women almost exclusively are pressured to prioritize denying their wisdom, serving as yet another source of female oppression. Yikes, she didn’t age well.

Wrinkles and creases are marks of living.

“The idea that women become less ‘beautiful’ with age exists for the simple fact that women grow more powerful with time, and our culture does not yet find power attractive in a woman,” (The Pain and Beauty of Growing Old and Aging Gracefully, 2015).

Age-shaming exists, in my opinion, as the worst form of appearance shaming that women experience. It’s worse than acne shaming; it’s worse than fat-shaming. It presents not only the idea that a woman’s worth depends entirely on her appearance but also creates a certain self-hatred amongst women in order to make a profit. Slide open mothers’ drawers, and I’m sure there’s at least one anti-aging formulated product in them. Age-shaming denies any beauty found in the value of old age, wisdom, or experiences. Women exist as a figure of beauty and a figure of beauty only.

To what lengths will we go to be youthful? And why do we want to be?

“On February 19 (2019), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a puzzling statement cautioning consumers who were seeking blood transfusions from young people. The statement references the rising popularity of startups that claim to have found the key to unlocking the fountain of youth,” (Youth in Our Veins: Chasing After Thousand Dollar Beauty Treatments | Tufts Observer, n.d.). 

Did I read that correctly? Yes. The procedure was conducted due to inspiration from research drawn on mice. Basically, doctors take the plasma of someone from age sixteen to age twenty-five and inject it in someone over age thirty-five. Our blood, the very thing that pumps oxygen into our cells and keeps us alive, is no longer good enough. 

When I grow old, I hope I can look in the mirror and think back on the full story I wrote, a fulfilled life, and see wrinkles from sticking my face in the sun and see smile lines from laughing uncontrollably rather than seeing how much money I blew on facial or body enhancements.

I saw an old lady walking her dog the other day, and sure her face may have been creased in resemblance to that of a pug, but it showed all the life she lived. Wrinkles and creases are marks of living.  

Take care of your skin; in no way is this article’s purpose to advise people to repeatedly get a sunburn and ditch moisturizer. The idea is that if you’re old, you’re oldyour skin is not exempt from aging, and wrinkles are something to be embraced not hidden. I take care of my skin as should everyone else. Let’s not risk melanoma; however, anti-aging skincare products are marketed in a shame-based way. Words such as renewal, regeneration, and plumpness have begun to dominate the labels on beauty products in a fight to rid aging and wrinkles. Age shaming is out of style (Why anti-aging is out in the beauty industry, 2018).

Growing old is a privilege. I mean, think of the alternative; there’s no way to exist youthfully forever. Life isn’t a sci-fi movie. I’m sure if I were able to ask children, even young adults who’d passed away, they’d almost unanimously wish they could’ve grown to be a grandmother or grandfather.

Ageism: the prejudice, discrimination, and slander of elderly actions, verbalizations, and appearance—it’s just old.