Let’s Hear It For Wrinkles!

Barbara Morris

Barbara Morris

Ladies over 50, get ready. Anti-aging is out; pro-aging is in. After all, that’s what you want, isn’t it? You are not interested in looking younger, you just want to look healthy and be honest about your age. You are fine with your wrinkles and other signs of aging. That’s what “they” are saying. It’s just another positive step forward in women’s liberation, you understand. (The pro-ageing movement the beauty of being old)

Let’s get real here. A woman who says she is fine with her wrinkles has come to terms with the wrinkles. That doesn’t mean she’s happy about them. She realizes there isn’t a lotion, potion or cream she can buy that will eliminate wrinkles so she finally says, “To hell with it — I’ll just accept the way I am”. That’s not liberation, it’s resignation. I suspect that if a group of wrinkled woman were approached by a genie who offered to remove their wrinkles, probably all of them would say yes in a heartbeat and fight about who goes first. Maybe someday our cultural perception of what constitutes “beauty” will be different but until then, old is not beautiful. Insist old is beautiful all you like, it’s just not happening.

I will agree that every woman wants to look healthy. But be honest about her age? What does it mean to be honest about your age? You know how old you are; but who else do you have to be honest with about your age? Your age is nobody’s business.

Women’s lib advocates who want older women to be happy with their signs of aging are clueless. They are so busy advocating their notion of liberation that they are out of touch with reality.

wrinklesWhen a woman projects an image of being “old” — she is perceived and treated differently. And the older she appears to be, the more pronounced is the different treatment. When it comes to equal treatment of all women, our liberated society is still mired in cultural and traditional stereotypes about aging that have existed for eons.

For example, if you appear old, or your age is known, it’s assumed you are no longer as competent as you once were. You are seen as doddering, deaf, physically incompetent, at least to some extent, and that you need someone to do for you, or take care of you in some way. Face it: that’s how advanced age in our culture is perceived. It’s well meant of course, but irritating as hell. If you take exception to the mistreatment you are a cranky, senile old hag.

An illustration: I had an appointment at the hearing aid department at Costco. I was there with my daughter — she was shopping for her paleo stuff and I was shopping for my usual stuff. For my next appointment I went by myself. The very nice hearing aid lady commented, “Is your daughter here? Did you drive yourself?” Yes, I drove myself. Get the picture? Because she knew my age she made an assumption about my competence. There are many subtle and not so subtle ways the appearance of “old” or awareness of chronological age results in negative stereotypical treatment and it’s not pleasant.

So, the women’s lib types can do their thing. They can revel in their wrinkles and blab their age to anyone willing to listen. I wish them well. But I don’t want to be included in their “pro-aging” movement. I will fight tooth and nail to ward off wrinkles and keep my age to myself as much as possible. I don’t like having my age or appearance signal that it’s okay to treat me as if I am dumb as dirt or need a seeing eye dog to get around. That day may come but I’m not there yet.

Of course, I could be wrong about all of this, but probably not. As my family will attest, not only do I know everything, I am always right about everything and my age has nothing to do with it. Imagine having to live with that.


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