Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Why Should Old Equate to Bad?


I am getting so tired of self-help books and TV shows that go on and on about looking younger; in essence, saying young is good and old is bad. I discussed this earlier in my little rant about Oprah and some of her programs.

Just when I think I can let it go, Crabby Old Lady at Time Goes By posted this article and YouTube video by Charla Krupp.

Ms Krupp has written a book titled How Not To Look Old. She gives tips that she claims will make us older women look ten years younger, ten pounds thinner and ten times better. Why? Is ten the magic number that's going to make us happier, more fulfilled and content? She is delusional if she thinks minus ten pounds and ten years is the cure-all for what she admittedly calls a youth-obsessed culture.

Let's do the math: at forty, we'll look thirty; at fifty, we'll look forty; at sixty, we'll look fifty; at seventy, we'll look sixty; at eighty, we'll look seventy; and at ninety, we'll look eighty. At some point, you'd think even Krupp would have to accept that we're going to look old if we live long enough.

Given her advice about wearing thongs and fishnet stockings, I think what she really means is for us all to be stuck looking thirty-something. Thanks, but no thanks.

In her video, Krupp actually says if we look younger, it is going to "beat the system" and will help us stay vibrant and visible. She's got this ass-backwards. How can older women stay visible by looking and pretending to be younger? This only perpetuates age denial. The way to beat the youth obsession is by being visible and vibrant as we age -- whatever the age – not by trying to look younger.

In the grand scheme of things, I'm not that old yet, but I'm not young either. I often get the comment that I look young/good for my age (despite the white hair). My appearance is due to a combination of a reasonably healthy lifestyle and luck of the draw in genes. It's not something I obsess over. I have wrinkles that are not going to be botoxed and breasts that are not going to be augmented. I have a five-minute makeup routine that I skip altogether if I'm not going out anywhere. I can be up, showered, dressed and out the door in twenty minutes. Yes, I'm still vain enough to put on the glam when the occasion calls for it. It's not for the purposes of looking younger, but to look the best I can for me, now, and at my age.

So, why do books and programs like Krupp's bug me so much. Well, for one thing, I intend to continue aging naturally. I don't like the idea that my worth or the worth of other women should be based on how old or young we "look". I hate the notion that has crept into our consciousness that looking old is bad. Our age is our age. When I'm seventy, I don't expect to look young and I'm not going to deny being old. I want to look my own version of seventy. And that should be good enough for anyone.

So ends another rant about ageism. I have a feeling it won't be the last.


1 comment:

Joy said...

YES! I totally agree with you on all of this! Thanks!