A quick, couple-paragraph thought.
And smile lines! Why are they a bad thing? Mine go all the way across my cheeks and I fucking love it. After the traumas of my 20s, to have SMILE LINES on my face is an incredible testiment to (my privilege, and) the happiness I have managed to cultivate in the decades after. Wrinkles tell stories, y’all.
(I don’t love the way lipstick runs up my lip creases, so I wear nude shades now. Cannot imagine using fillers but I am no longer judgey of women who do!!)
I keep reading about women of a certain age thinking they are now ,,invisible” and it breaks my heart. It is such a giant misconception. Maybe they - or rather, ‘we’: I just turned 50 - are ,,invisible” to horny men, but not to any other woman who enjoys looking around for female grace, fun, style, grit, anything REAL, of ANY age. You are seen!! And if not: speak up!
I'm 65; I reached a point around 60 where I felt like 'okay I'm invisible now'. It was something that I had been dreading but when it finally happened I felt liberated. Now, as long as my skin is healthy and clean, I really don't care about my (def-not-from-smiling) lines or age spots. People have been aging since the beginning of time. It's normal, not a disease to be treated. How I would love to reclaim all the time, energy and dollars I spent on that anti-aging merry-go-round!
I love this and I love your perspective. 👏👏👏 Finally signed up as a paid subscriber after lots of free lurking. If anyone reading this is on the fence, do it!
One thing I’ve noticed in myself is that I’m much more afraid of “getting fat” than “getting old.” All of the “old” people I would look at and think “they’re still cool, it’ll be fine!” are all rail thin. Needless to say…I’m in therapy once a week! Thanks for providing a space for us all to contemplate our programming. 🥲
Another classic, Jessica… ,,Looking old is not a health issue. Dreading looking old very much is.” AMEN.
My first answer would have been that I dread feeling old.. like all the aches and pains and decreased mobility and such. Is that an ableist mindset showing up? People of all ages live with various degrees of mobility, pain, etc.
Amusing coincidence of today’s post and this July newsletter from the forecasters and analysts at the Future Today Institute about anti-aging and longevity research (some genuinely jaw-dropping stuff in the works) — https://mailchi.mp/futuretodayinstitute/fti-tech-trends-i-want-to-beforever-young
brilliant + important! thank you as always!
I just have to say...I discovered you and your work a few days ago and have gone deep down the rabbit hole. There are very few instances that I can think of in my life where things have changed on a dime. On Saturday, I was looking at my almost empty product bottles and preparing to go to Sephora to refill them (and of course, search for some new ones) and by Sunday I was throwing them out, with no plan to buy again. The biggest shock to me is that it was such a RELIEF. I can see with such clarity now, that even though I haven't historically bought and used a ton of products, I've been so pre-occupied with thinking about my face, how it's changing, and researching to the ends of the internet the newest trends and fads and contemplating if I wanted to spend money on them. I know I will keep feeling the beauty pressure, but I really do hope that as you've said before, I can deal with those anxieties and insecurities myself, rather than compounding the toxic beauty culture we live in. Thank you for sharing this work!
A derm I used to follow said she did treatments on herself because no one would come to a “jacked-up” derm for services.
I am 64 years old and still feel the pressure to "defy" my age, or "age gracefully". Mostly for me it is because I'm still working and have switched jobs a couple of times in the past few years in order to move up and advance. I chopped off about ten years from my resume, make-up my face. cover my gray hair, and get the occasional botox to appear younger, so I can be seen as young enough to be employable. I've experienced age discrimination, and it is real. I've had bosses/interviewers ask me when I plan to retire, how much longer I plan to work, and had subtle and not so subtle comments made to me about my age. Not to mention the subtle ways women my age are pushed out the door.
I am working with people who are half my age -- the same age as my kids, and on zoom calls I feel the pressure of making sure I don't look too old. In the past couple of organizations I've been in (pharmaceutical industry) I look around and notice there seems to be a trend of smart, and extremely good-looking young women, in decent positions, with the higher positions still going to white men. The dynamics at play make me cringe sometimes, as these women still feel like they have to play up to these men, putting up with inappropriate comments and settling for the pay gap, hoping to eventually get ahead.
I am so glad I found your substack, Jessica, as you are shining a light on how women of all ages are now, more than ever, being sold a bill of goods about what makes them worthy via the beauty and wellness industry. The pressure to meet those standards seems to be way worse now, with all the influencers and social media, than when I was young. I'm a life-long feminist and have fought hard for my daughters, nieces, and granddaughters to have it better than I had it, but in some ways it seems we are losing ground and going backwards.