Health and Beauty

Ageism in the Beauty Industry- A Brief Discussion

If you’ve ever turned on a television, scrolled through pages of social media, and/or walked into a target at least once in your life, most likely you have seen advertisements or commercials for various products promising to turn back time and restore you to the state you were… ten to thirty years ago. When you open a magazine, the image of gorgeous, young, airbrushed women fill the pages.

This marketing strategy has been used for decades to obtain the money of countless aging adults who will do just about anything to look 20 years old again. But why does this multi-million dollar a year, age shaming industry continue to prosper through the recent self acceptance movement?

It’s simple. People don’t want to talk about it.

Think for a second. Is there anything fundamentally wrong with aging? Are wrinkles detrimental to your health or are they just another part of aging? Does a muffin top physically prevent you from wearing your favorite bikini at the beach? Of course not!

The beauty industry spends so much time glorifying all of the bodily changes that occur in youth, but spend an equal amount of time shaming the changes that happen with age. Young girls are praised for developing breasts while older women are shamed for developing wrinkles or a muffin top. Are both of those not just natural changes? The beauty industry has got all of us convinced that in order to become, or stay beautiful, we must spend our hard earned money on products that in most cases, don’t even work. In short, we have come to believe their message that youth is more important than YOU.

It seems so backwards that the lines in our skin, representing hours of hard work, stress, and experience, are looked down upon as something to be ashamed of and hide. Shouldn’t we embrace those marks? In reality, all they mean is that you’ve been here longer, laughed louder, worked harder, and experienced more than others without.

You may be wondering why I, a young woman with not a wrinkle in sight, can have such a strong opinion on something I won’t have to “worry” about for years. The truth is, I’m excited. I can’t wait to grow old and experience everything my life will bring me along the way. One day, when I look in the mirror and first notice the crows feet around my eyes or the lines in my brow, I hope I will smile and think, “wow. I’ve come a long way. I’ve seen and done so much and I am so proud of myself.” I hope the same for all the other strong, aging women in my life.

While the beauty industry is finally beginning to diversify itself based on race, gender, ability, etc., the topic of aging still seems to be quite the taboo. Until we begin to see older models, actresses, and spokeswomen in the eye of the media, not just the 1% who have been deemed as “aging well”, we have not explored all corners of inclusion in the beauty industry. We want to see their wrinkles. We want to see them in the skin they’re in, without photoshop.

I encourage all of you to think about how you want to see yourself in the future. Will you be alright when you no longer fit the beauty standard of looking 20 for the rest of your life? By accepting the inevitable early, you set yourself up for a life of experience and happiness. Don’t dwell and stress over what you can’t stop. After all, doesn’t stress cause wrinkles?

Until next time,

Bekah

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