Wednesday, October 22

Beauty, Ageism and The Female Sex: Why We Need To Give a Damn

(Image source)
I recently came across pictures and articles criticizing Renee Zellweger's looks. Reading the articles, comments and shares from the web made me realize that there is such a discord about how people view beauty and aging between the sexes. Aren't we concerned that in Hollywood, older actors have more career longevity and are cast with actresses half their age while older actresses struggle to find notable starring roles which are few and far in between? Of course they are a handful notable exceptions to this but I am speaking on general terms.

See examples:
Later on other articles came out defending Renee Zellweger, asking people to leave her alone and to examine their values and opinions on plastic surgery and aging. The truth is, there is something horribly wrong with society today. I find it disturbing that women are not allowed to age gracefully like men due to unrealistic standards set by the media. Aging gracefully by today's standards has become a euphemism for natural looking cosmetic procedures for older women. What's worse is that we are buying into the lie. Most of the criticisms about Renee’s looks have come from women.

People like Renee and other aging celebrities are merely victims of a patriarchal ageist mindset that is plaguing women all over the world. It is particularly more brutal for those working in industries where looks and youth are put at a premium. They are pressured to look younger than their actual ages because they are made to believe their worth as a person declines along with their age and looks. Ageism affects all sexes and profession but in this case it is more vicious on women and our self-image.

Botoxed and plumped-up faces of celebrities sell the lie that beauty is partly dependent on how youthful your face looks and you can look as flawless as Angelina Jolie at 39! (Seriously! without getting anything done! :s ) . Buying into unrealistic standards and perpetuating this lie among the sexes does a great disservice to us as women. It devalues our accomplishments, self worth and distorts self-image, and reinforces the sexist and misogynistic idea that a woman’s worth is solely dependent on her superficial characteristics, which aim to please men.

You don't need to be a feminist or a woman to give a shit about this. All you need to do is to take a good long look at your own mother or any older woman. Ask her how she feels about her looks, does she feel beautiful when she looks into the mirror? What lengths has she gone through to feel beautiful or has she given up on the whole thing and chucked femininity and beauty on the back-burner?

We need to give a damn because we refuse to belong to a society that distorts the true meaning of beauty and belittles our worth as we grow older- and EVENTUALLY WE WILL GROW OLD (no one is exempt from this). We need to give a damn because we love our fellow women and ourselves. We need to start building each other up instead of tearing each other down over such trivial matters. We need to give a damn for our own sake and for future generations to come.

It starts with us. We need to stop buying into their lies. We need to question our current values that put a premium on such superficial measures of self-worth and beauty.

As for me I firmly believe that true beauty is ageless and skin deep. I only need to look at my own mother to confirm the truth.

*Update: Zellweger released a statement in response to the whole internet brouhaha over her looks: read it here

Ps. The main reason for this post is not to shame her or other people who have undergone cosmetic procedures but to question the values of society that ridicules women for looking "old" and pressures older women to go through such lengthy measures to look "young". 

Let me know your thoughts on this! 

Stay beautiful! xx

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