Stay Young and Beautiful If You Want to be Loved

Do you remember the song "Stay young and beautiful if you want to be loved"?  I feel that this has become an anthem for our times. I have a particular aversion to the term 'anti-ageing' and have felt this for a long time. "Anti' means against and it has always amused me to think that you can be against an inevitable natural process. It ought really to be called "anti-looking older" which is what the term has come to represent. The implication is that everyone in their right mind wants to stop getting older - so why would anyone object? I am all for looking fabulous which has nothing whatsoever to do with age, but I feel that the pressure to look younger or at the very least to try and stop the clock has many negative effects for women of all ages.

Women in their twenties and thirties. Many young women are so terrified of crow's feet and wrinkles that they are having 'preventative' Botox in the belief that they will never look old as long as they start 'anti-ageing' in their twenties. One clinic reports a 56% rise in demand for Botox injections for this age group thanks to programmes like 'The Only Way is Essex', where such procedures are seen as the norm for both males and females (see left 25 year old Billie Faiers.)  There is scant medical evidence to back up the belief that having Botox  actually prevents wrinkles. €˜At best, it€™s a waste of money, at worst, there€™s potential to make people look older in the long term' was a comment I read recently from one Harley Street dermatologist.

Women in their forties. We used to say 'Life begins at 40' as a recognition that our middle years represented the best part of our lives. No longer. My daughter Anna is 41 so lots of her female friends have been having significant birthdays. These women are often in despair because they feel that 40 is the gateway to invisibility and irrelevance.  You can't blame them when even outfits for the Mother of the Bride (see left) are routinely shown on 30 year olds! We were approached by a French clothing brand a while ago for a joint promotion.  We turned them down when we saw their publicity material which only featured the clothes on 30-something models who all looked ridiculous wearing such inappropriate styles.

Women in their Fifties. This is where the anti-ageing pressure becomes serious in it's impact on women in the workplace.  This is the age at which women may start to be overlooked for promotion and if the worst happens and they are made redundant, they may find that they just cannot get another job. I often get comments on blogposts about needing to dye your hair and stay as youthful as possible (maybe with invasive cosmetic procedures) because experience at work isn't valued nearly so much as youthfulness. I accept that men may suffer age discrimination at work too, but can you think of any female equivalents to David Dimbleby (77) and John Humphries (72) still regularly on prime time television? No, me neither! I'm waiting to see what happens to Kirsty Wark (61) and Sue Barker (59).

Women in their Sixties. If you are really spooked about growing older then reaching your sixties must be very challenging. Donatella Versace turned 60 in 2015 and her face shows all the tell-tale signs of 'work'. The sad fact is that it hasn't made her look younger but slightly other-worldly which is the final reason that I dislike the pressure on us all to 'stay young and beautiful'. Anti-ageing treatments whether they are creams, lotions, potions, injectables, fillers or face-lifts don't actually prevent or reverse the ageing process. They just help to create panic in the young, unnecessary worry in the middle-aged and fear and dread in us all. What a waste of time, energy and money! So - what's the alternative? I'd propose a different anthem "Stay fabulous forever and learn to love yourself!"

Here are my suggestions for the Pro-Age as opposed to the Anti-Age approach to growing older.

Anti-Ageing: Nip/tuck/slice/cut/inject/pump up.  Pro-Ageing: Eat well, sleep, walk, laugh and enjoy new things and new people.

Anti-Ageing: Obsessive exercising/dieting/body dysmorphia. Pro-Ageing: Active, energetic and happy in own skin. 

Anti-Ageing: Trout pout, fat lips.  Pro-Ageing: Lip Prime. Cherry Red Lipstick and Lip Gloss ......

Anti-Ageing: Silicone Breasts.  Pro-Ageing: Silicone Face Prime.  .....

Anti-Ageing: Botox + paralysed muscles.  Pro-ageing: Interesting, vivacious, expressive lively facial expression

Anti-Ageing: Fashion victim.  Pro-ageing: Style and chutzpah (Fabulous Fashionistas)

Anti-Ageing: Mutton.  Pro-Ageing: Stylish, Soignee and Svelte

Anti-Ageing: You borrow your daughter's clothes.  Pro-ageing: Daughter borrows your clothes when she wants to look grown up  

Anti-ageing: Never ever ever say how old you are.  Pro-Ageing: Loud and proud of having come so far on life's journey

Anti-ageing: Everyone thinks your daughter is your sister (you hope!).  Pro-Ageing: Your daughter needs a mum. She's got lots of friends already.

What are your thoughts on the pressure on us at every age to resort to anti-ageing treatments? Do you feel this pressure and how do you deal with it? Would you add anything to the Pro/Anti-Age list?


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