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Why Women are Afraid to Age: Opinion 

I know for a fact that I am not the only girl who cries on my birthday, not over happiness but out of fear. Getting older has always been something to fear for me. Since the beginning of my memory society has told women that being young and hot was all that mattered and once you hit 35 your life is over. And once we hit that age we don’t have the ability to have a personality or to be cool, hot, stylish, and anything else that is associated with youth. Honestly it has taken me until nineteen to stop being afraid to age and grow into something other than a teenager girl but how could you blame me? When it comes to media I have only ever had three examples, at least those that come to mind of older women that keep their lively lifestyles, those being Sex and The City, The Devil Wears Prada, and Golden Girls only two which center the older women

Besides those pieces of media that come to mind, all others revolving around older women pin them to be “old hags” or completely unhappy with their own age often having them jealous of a younger female character. We see in classic literature the archetype of young women being married off and older women struggling to have a life because they are “too old to marry” and then are seen as burdens to their family and society. Much of the media revolves around a younger age bracket it's rare to see media that strictly revolves around older women and again when there is that media it strictly revolves around one type of older women. But even then the women come face to face with ageism even in a fictional reality. The continuing of this type of media only amplifies the fears that women have of aging and continues the mentality that aging equals something to push away and stay away from as long as we possibly can. Not only does tv/film media scare us into the thought of aging but so do marketing- specifically fashion and product and pop news outlets.

The anti aging product craze is through the roof, it seems like left and right new products are emerging that claim to give a facelift with no surgery or to make every single aging line disappear within weeks or even a day. There are facials that cost way more than they should and more facial machines then I can count that are believed to limit the aging process. The first thing asked to older beautiful women is “What is your secret?” as if youth equaled beauty. Women are expected to look like a 20 year old woman their whole entire lives and to spend all the money they can to remain that way. There are women now in their early 20’s getting preventative botox or “baby botox” just to prevent the natural aging process. Women not looking older is something that is constantly pushed by society but of course those women can not win either. When an older woman does look younger and acts “young” they are seen as trying too hard to stay relevant so basically women never win no matter what we do. But that is not to say that the anti aging agenda is not heavily pushed even with that stereotype. Within the beauty world aging is seen as a negative thing: lines, texture- real skin is meant to be prevented. 

The fear of women aging goes beyond beauty/ skin; it also takes place within the work of fashion. It is rare to see a fashion campaign that revolves around an older woman though in my opinion the most influential person in fashion , Anna Wintour is an older woman. Yet that does not stop ageism in fashion. It is no secret that bodies change as we grow older. It is only natural yet, there is no diversity to accommodate these changes, and if there's a line of fashion directed towards older women the clothing has no uniqueness or is not at all fashionable. Furthering the narrative that once you grow older you cannot and will not have the opportunity to be fashionable especially if you are not in the know of fashion. And I am not saying that there is no such thing as a fashionable older woman because some of the most fashionable women out there are older. But in the fashion industry specifically in the media end it is something that is not viewed or talked of. 

Last but not least, pop news media is a major factor in why women are afraid to age. Even the women that were once idolized in the media are under constant scrutiny and being ripped apart just for aging. I remember as a child seeing magazines while in the grocery store with large red circles pointing out a celebrity woman gaining weight after giving birth to their child and comparing their looks and body to a previous older photograph. We are constantly seeing these types of criticizing articles in the media trying to “expose” celebrity women for simply growing and changing. Alongside those articles are ones that praise men for growing older. There is constant praise of “dad bods” and salt and pepper hair but the total opposite happens when it comes to women. For the men having dad bods is not seen as “letting themselves go '' as it is for women but accepting themselves and being too busy living their life with their 23 year old model girlfriends and yes that is Leo shade. The women that we are told to idolize that have the money for facials and trainers and everything else that the beauty industry try to convince us to buy face such harsh comments for aging so of course everyone else will feel the intense pressure. How could we not after everything we as women consume tell us that aging is such a horrible thing. 

I honestly think that the whole anti aging push is a load of bull designed to make women feel bad about ourselves no matter what we do. I see aging as something so beautiful and it took me until now to see it but it is the truth. You get more stylish as you grow, you make stronger connections, you become more experienced and knowledgeable and that is something I now look forward to. I hope I reach the age that my face has wrinkles and I have stories to tell of my life. It’s truly something that I believe we have to be grateful for because not everyone gets the privilege to grow into their older years. So work on those fears, change your mindset to see all the great things about growing up and changing because no matter what it is going to happen anyways so might as well go into that phase in your life with so much joy and gratitude. 

Written by Celeste Nieves

Photography by Sylvie Goodblat

CD and Styling: Jazzi Almestica

PA: Jake Pranian

PA and Video: Ben Pfeifer

MUA: Marlie Kaye

Talent: Mickayla Davis, Ariana Catalinotto, Sen Zacarias, Lucy Geldziler

Photos Edits by Mark Bluemle

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