LOOKING GOOD? MUST WE?

On the right had side of my screen when I look at my Facebook page there is a picture of a female with the caption: woman 47 looks 27.I am not at all sure what 27 looks like but this female has those terrible collagen mistake lips that resemble a couple of invertebrates slithering across her lower face. Though stationary now they spread themselves disporting like seals on a rock. If this is what 27 looks like and we are supposed to be stricken with envy it doesn’t work on any level. I feel that the woman in question was misguided to offer herself up to my spiteful criticism, she would be better taking the plastic surgeon to court.

We are often shown examples of women who ‘look younger than their years’ I dispute these. I have among my friends people of all ages and conditions and they are all very different, Nobody is a typical example of her age. There are no typical examples of any age, because there is NO template. I am undeniably old and through my life have had people tell me I don’t look my age – but as I am not sure what my age looks like I am doubtful if this is a compliment. Do I look older? Sometimes I feel 100 but when I look in the mirror the same old face stares back at me. In fact when I have a photograph taken I always hope that I will appear as I was when in my forties – this never happens but it seems to prove that I am not immune to ageism – and how could I be? I look like me and I am not sure that I like what I see but I accept it and I forget how ancient I must seem to the young.

Coincidentally I opened my email account a moment ago  and beside a serious, though humorous blog about female infanticide and gang rape in India I see a face cream advertisement appealing for women to test this unguent for wrinkle control. Ironic or sad? Personally I like wrinkles and am aiming to emulate WH Auden soon.

These constant demands to keep ourselves on glamour alert from the cradle to the grave annoy me intensely and I am not immune. I try not to succumb to blandishments for creams and make-up and largely succeed but love my perfume and antiperspirant, I see them as a social need.

Fortunately for me I haven’t worn high heels for very many years and am sure that if I did so I should break something – like a hip. Yet I rather admire women who totter about in stilettos in their seventies – for their sheer bravery. I think that we each have the opportunity to be as we are but I find it annoying that women in particular are subject to marketing forces which persuade us to look younger, be slimmer, and conform to some stereotypical idea of what we should look like. Who says? Not us.  So, we can try to be as we are and enjoy it and if we can’t bear that then we can think carefully who we are performing for and how much it costs and finally ask ourselves if it is necessary.

Then say ‘No’?

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