The anti-aging backlash

“Aging is not lost youth, but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” ~Betty Friedan

Allure, September 2017

Topping my list of things that make me happy this month is Allure magazine’s resolution to stop using the term “anti-aging.” (You can read the full editorial in the September 2017 issue here.) Women of all ages are applauding the magazine’s stand on this important topic, and it’s time for fashion editors and cosmetic companies to start paying attention.

Getting older, after all, isn’t something we can avoid — and it’s not a disease to be cured. Aging is a natural process; our human destiny. 

Most women, however, are brainwashed to believe that aging is shameful — and that mature women are no longer beautiful, relevant, or desirable. The propaganda starts hitting us in our early teens. 

Lining the pockets of advertisers and cosmetic surgeons, we spend lots of money buying into the national concept that youth is ideal. We’re convinced that our wrinkles and other badges of maturity should be repaired, or at least artfully concealed. (And we needn’t look hard to find stereotypical examples of older men with younger trophy wives or girlfriends. One is running our country.) As if all this weren’t sad enough, the fashion industry keeps sending us mixed messages on how to dress to avoid “looking old.” Meanwhile, our daughters are watching.

I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t bother to take care of our skin or that we shouldn’t enjoy developing a personal style as we age. But to deny or fight aging is to rally against life — real life.

We are human. We all get older. Our beauty is defined by the way we live — and all that we give — while we’re here. Big cheers to Allure for respecting and celebrating maturity. ~CL

Throughout my career, I've worked as a book production editor, travel magazine editor, features writer, and weekly newspaper columnist. My award-winning lifestyles features and essays have appeared in many national magazines and anthologies, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest, Victoria, Better Homes & Gardens, Bella Grace, and more. My weekly Sunday "Life Lines" column ran for 14 years in The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) and won a First Place (Local Columns) award from the Michigan Press Association. My essay collection, Writing Home, includes 93 previously published columns and essays focusing on parenthood and family life.

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