Women aren’t allowed to age


I see it every day, everywhere I go; women trying to preserve their youthful appearance. I see the anti-wrinkle moisturizers and the detox teas that allegedly help women “age backwards”. I see numerous companies profiting off the insecurity of many women: Aging.

In today’s time, society won’t let women age. Of course, there is no law prohibiting women from aging, however there is heavy stigma surrounding it. Aging is inevitable, so it is strange but not unexpected that so many women feel the need to stay young. Not only to stay young, but many women have developed a fear of old age.

Sexism is not a one-dimensional social ill, it is very important to understand intersectionality. In this case, the intersection with agism. This is called gendered ageism. Gendered ageism is the prejudice against people because of their age. Gendered agsim mainly affects women. Of course ageism affects all sexes, but why don’t we see half as many “anti-aging” creams on the shelves for men in a pharmacy as we do for women? It is no secret that a lot of women’s values are placed onto their appearance. Through society’s sneaky ways of oppressing women, women appease the male gaze under the guise of appearing beautiful for themselves. For example, when women dye their hair to cover the gray hair or when women apply makeup to look more youthful. Doing these things isn’t inherently wrong. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look youthful and it is by no means women’s fault they feel this way. But we have to ask ourselves: Why do we do this in the first place? Why do we feel the need to look young? 

The pressure to stay young is heavily instilled on celebrities which is then placed onto the rest of us. It is no secret that many celebrities resort to cosmetic procedures in an attempt to preserve their youthful appearance. This is why some celebrities seem to never age. This then reinforces the fear of aging and these unrealistic standards are now projected onto regular people without easy access to cosmetic surgery and enhancement. This is where mass companies target vulnerable women, profit off of, and exploit the notion of aging. 

While this issue is still very present, companies have attempted to make small changes. Skin-care companies like Glow Recipe have recently decided to remove damaging vocabulary from their brand such as: anti-aging, anti-wrinkle, flawless, ageless and perfect. They realised that these words are harmful and perpetuate the very warped idea of staying young forever. They want their brand to encourage “embracing age” as opposed to “shying away from it.” Even companies making small changes to their brand vocabulary can have an immense impact on how people perceive aging. Other companies have started to follow in the footsteps of Glow Recipe as well.

To all women who feel pressured to age, listen to this: there is no shelf life for women or anyone for that matter. Unlike what we have been taught, the reality is that aging is not a parasitic monster that should be feared. It is simply the nature of all organisms, and is something that needs to be embraced.