*Sixty is the new forty.
Fifty is the new thirty.
And forty is the new twenty – well at least Jennifer Lopez thinks so.
What the heck is wrong with being forty, fifty or sixty – you know your age?
Well plenty if you are enmeshed in this youth obsessed culture.
I recently saw a segment on an entertainment magazine show about an upcoming documentary citing an alarming new trend in the high fashion modeling world – prepubescent teens. They showed young girls at the tender age of twelve and thirteen photographed in couture fashions clearly highlighting their thin womanless figures void of any curves or maturity and their innocent, doe eyes void of any world experience.
It was disturbing nonetheless because of the abuse and exploitation these young, hopeful models endured as chronicled in the documentary. But it also unearthed a disturbing, subliminal message that is purposely, boldly and willfully promulgated by those in the business of shaping public opinion and defining culture.
These are children – literally. And no woman ever can turn back the hands of time and recapture her prepubescent body or demeanor to look like the images that besiege runways, fashion magazines, websites and television commercials. The images and standards of beauty pushed like crack to the viewing consumer are absolutely impossible to attain.
But the question is how many women know or even understand this?
And how many women are even clued into the aggregate effect a steady stream of these kinds of images have on her psyche, self worth and self esteem?
The subliminal message is crystal clear: the older you are the less you are – that is less celebrated, less adored, less beautiful, less desired, less valued, less respected, less relevant and just plan less . . . well you fill in the blank. Pick a word, any word that comes to mind.
The advent and availability of innumerable creams, lotions, potions, pills and surgical procedures aimed at restoring youth is unlike anything we’ve every witnessed. Back in the day my mom and probably your mom used Vaseline and Noxzema as their sole beauty regime and it worked for them or satisfied their need. But also back in the day she wasn’t subjected to an onslaught of advertising that constantly told her she wasn’t good enough unless she looked like their spokes models.
But today advertisers tell us ever so subtlety and sometimes like a punch to the face that we are not good enough and we need to do so much more to “defy the aging process.”
Over the years I’ve been seduced into parting with my hard earned cash and engaged in a very brief foray into world of skin firming, complexion polishing, pore reducing overly priced lotions.
At the end of the day and money, I learned that it’s less about what you put on your skin than the fuel you put in your body. And let’s not forget about the importance of hydration. So save yourself lots money and start there with healthier food choices, better food quality and drink lots of water.
You can’t “defy” the ageing process. It will happen, slowly and gradually depending on how you live your life. The message that you can only exploits an insecurity created to defy a God ordered evolution rite of passage – that we age. We can choose to age gracefully or disgracefully. We really get to choose. But in their quest to appear younger and free spirited, some women only manage appear insecure and desperate. We see them profiled in the media from their obsession to plastic surgery to the proliferation of women donning any array of age inappropriate clothing and displaying age inappropriate behaviors that raises eyebrows and insults. Though they are unmercifully judged, it’s their life and they are free to live it anyway want. But I wonder how truly free they feel inside?
There are a few redeeming kernels that can be picked from this youth obsessed culture. Fitness and fun are two that come immediate to mind.
Maintaining a healthy body weight is essential to looking good, feeling good and staying healthy. There’s everything right about that premise. It can improve the quality of your life and the quantity of it as well.
And having fun is important too. Trying new colors, textures and styles; participating in new activities and events; and exploring new technology and social media will keep your mind sharp, your spirit enlivened and increase your sense of connectedness to the world at large.
I’ll leave you with this admonishment: to hell with the pressure to be what you are not. Act your age, embrace your age, honor your age and be thankful for it. The years you’ve earned say plenty about your value in life, what you have contributed to life and what you have to share about living life. Beauty is fleeting but wisdom is priceless and can only be acquired through living a life less fettered with anxiety, delusion and pretense. That’s pocket change that can take you a long way. Embrace your age; live your life.
Veronica Hendrix is a syndicated columnist and feature writer whose work has covered the span of the human continuum – from clinical trials of male contraceptives, to the gang violence. She is the owner of Bromont Avenue Foods. She is the author of “Red Velvet Gourmet Spice Rub and Seasoning Heart Healthy Recipes.” Visit http://bromontavefoods.com for more information. For comments, interviews, speaking engagements or moderator requests please send an email to [email protected].