It starts way too early. As young women, we look in the mirror and want to change something about our appearance. For me, I saw only acne and a nose that was crooked and too long. Thanks to the media and advertisers, we spend the portion of our life when we are at our physical peak – young, glowing skin, rosy cheeks – judging ourselves as not pretty enough, not thin enough, and not sexy enough. In my day, Brooke Shields represented the ideal. She and her Calvin Kleins set a standard of beauty with which I simply couldn’t compete. And, by judging myself as not good enough, I cheated myself of the self confidence I should have been nurturing. Apparently, I’m not the only one.
The Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report recently found that 69% of women say there is pressure from advertising and media to achieve an unrealistic standard of beauty that causes their appearance anxiety. Fifty-six percent of women recognize that social media drives pressure and negative body image. Sixty percent of women feel they need to meet certain beauty standards but, interestingly, 77% believe it is important to be your own person and not copy others. Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. I know LOTS of beautiful women, so that stat is simply tragic.
Awkward adolescence passed and we plunged headfirst into our 20s, 30s, and 40s. We dated, forged careers, exercised our bodies, cared for families and volunteered our time to causes we believed in. We gained wisdom and a few scars. Some of us fought injustice, while some battled life threatening illness. We spent time (hopefully) gaining enough life experience to develop true inner beauty and to appreciate our accomplishments.
Then, one day we looked up and suddenly everyone on TV appeared to be about 16 years old. We look in the mirror and are stunned anew each time at the sags, bags and wrinkles gaining a foothold. Our mental image of ourselves may be mid-thirties, (at least that’s my imaginary age) but the mirror is telling us something quite different. So, after everything we’ve accomplished, inner beauty, success, and all, are we still going to obsess about our appearance? For many, the answer is yes.
While some women are happy to embrace the inevitable effects of aging, gray hair and all, there are a number of women who are prepared to inject, moisturize, fluff, tuck and shellac if they have to, to keep the march of time from marching all over their faces and bodies. Is one group better than the other? Isn’t the ultimate goal really to enjoy your life, friends and family? To take care of your health so you can stay active and move with confidence? Whether you do that with a boat load of moisturizers and an aesthetician on speed dial or not is up to you. But be happy either way – and let’s try to not judge each other for our choices. Everyone has a right to age the way they want.
We hope that PrimeWomen.com can be here for you, regardless of your decision. Yes, we share beauty finds and makeup tips, but we also feature inspiring second acts, women who are making the most of their retirement years, healthful advice from professionals, and much more. And we will do our best to present real women and their real issues as we age beautifully, together.
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