Audrey Hepburn once said, “The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows. And the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows.”
According to information from Statista, the size of the anti-aging market in 2018 was over $50 billion. By 2023, that figure is expected to rise to $66.2 billion, which means it is growing at a rate of 5.7% per year.
Many people are desperate to reverse the signs of aging because they wish to reclaim their youth. Some look at their older self in the mirror and don’t like what they see. The problem isn’t the aging process itself, but it is in how society perceives the idea of growing older.
Far too often, we fail to respect the wisdom of our elders. We cast them aside because they aren’t as productive, even though their knowledge and mentorship are critical for the next generation to survive.
Why Do We See Aging as a Problem?
Although men can struggle with the aging process, the burden of beauty is usually reserved for women.
The modern woman has unparalleled freedoms to enjoy in society today compared to those who lived a century ago. Women vote, have access to improved educational opportunities, and can hold positions of power that are equal to me.
Everlasting beauty exists still today because we have not learned to appreciate the aging process. The everyday interactions that women have with society challenge the idea that they are good enough just as they are. Even something simple, like a sideways glance as a woman walks down the street, is enough to place the idea of being beautiful at the forefront of her mind.
As women age, they lose their ability to bear children, but their contribution is far more significant than that. If society truly values a woman as an integral and equal member, then getting older shouldn’t be a problem. Yet it is – so why is there such a disconnect?
It has to do with power.
The idea that women seem less beautiful as they get older is directly connected with the amount of power that she holds over time. We might live in a modern culture, but society still doesn’t see a powerful woman as being attractive.
Women Are Encouraged to Look Like Teens
What do you think about when you picture the ideal beautiful person?
Many people picture the ideal man as being muscular, intelligent, and a family man. He goes to work, earns a fair salary, then plays with the kids at home while looking like he did in his 20s while working out every day.
Women have beauty standards that are based around pillars of teenage expectations. People want to see them with smooth skin, narrow hips, and long eyelashes. Instead of embracing the idea of curves and attitude, they are encouraged to adopt a slenderness that is rarely natural.
Why do we like the idea of having all women look like teens? Because that appearance directly translates to the idea that a woman is helpless compared to a man. It suggests that she is malleable, requiring her to be obedient in all ways.
If we were to see a 70-year-old woman who looks her age as a TV journalist every day, it would change how people think about beauty.
CoverGirl is taking the lead with this idea with the help of 71-year-old model Maye Musk. It’s not just her beauty that people should consider when looking at the accomplishment of being a model at her age. Musk also holds graduate degrees in dietetics and nutrition. She’s also the mother of Elon Musk.
How Do We Embrace the Idea of Aging?
If we as a society are going to embrace the idea that there is beauty in aging, then we need to find a way to remove the normative beauty standards that devalue people. Throwing out a makeup bag or embracing a new trend won’t change the idea that we disregard aging unless someone looks young.
Men are usually portrayed as aging like a fine wine. Their faces get wrinkles and sunspots as their beards grow white – and this process receives celebration. When women go through this same process, it’s like they’re a container of spoiled milk about to be thrown away.
The only women who receive applause for aging with beauty are those who look a little older, but not too old so that it is obvious that they’re using plastic surgery to alter their appearance. If you don’t age “youthfully,” then you lose the standard of beauty that society assigns.
We must approach our smile lines and grey hair as beauty accessories just as we do for the youthful figure that everyone had in their teens. If we are going to find the aging process beautiful in the future, then now is the time to teach our children to develop a sense of self that doesn’t include their outside appearance.
The beauty that you generate from within will shine to the rest of the world.
We are spending billions of dollars every year in a futile quest to remain ageless. You can use hair dye, anti-wrinkle cream, and plastic surgery constantly, but there must be consistent applications and investments to maintain the status quo. Those funds could be going toward much more important things in life.
It would take about 50% of the money people spend on anti-aging products to solve the problem of world hunger.
Everyone is beautiful in a way that is unique to them, no matter what the age on their birth certificate happens to be. When we realize this fact, then we might get one step closer to a society where true equality exists.