On Ageing

by belinda

I’m nearly 40 folks. 4-0. How cool is that, that I got here? When so many don’t. Which is why I don’t see any reason on this planet why I should hide my age. Or feel embarrassed. Hush, I’ve dared to grow older! Don’t tell a soul! Let’s all pretend we’re still 20! How silly. And how unfair.

Because the thing about getting older, is that you begin to realise (as a woman), that there’s a distinct difference in how society reacts to men ageing, versus women. Men are celebrated for their wrinkles. Grey hair looks hot on them (well, most of them anyway). Do they botox their frown lines and tint their hair? No folks, 99% of them most certainly do not. Do they get told not to wear certain things, or behave in a certain way? Do they get called “mutton dressed as lamb”? Do you see where I’m going with all of this?

I’ve been thinking about it a lot, in my 40th year, and then I read this article and I just nodded right along. “That women are often faded out in midlife has nothing do with ability and everything to do with sex and the male gaze. No longer an object of desire, they suddenly become meek, mean, sad or embarrassing – never mind the talent, accrued wisdom and brilliant stories they may offer. “ There you have it.

The article also sites Madonna, with her saying: ““People have always been trying to silence me for one reason or another, whether it’s that I’m not pretty enough, I don’t sing well enough, I’m not talented enough, I’m not married enough, and now it’s that I’m not young enough,” she told Vogue. “Now I’m being punished for turning 60.”

It’s one thing moaning about the status quo, but what can we do about it, us women rapidly approaching middle age? Luckily things are changing in the arts, albeit very slowly. There are more and more movies and series featuring strong, interesting older women (watch Dead to Me on Netflix – Christina Applegate is AMAZING) – and we need to support these stories, in whichever way we can, because the world needs to hear them.

We also need more strong opinionated women on front of us in social media – know any good ones to follow?! Send them my way! Women of all ages need to be celebrated, not only those nubile and in their 20s.

We need to think about how we speak about each other, and to ourselves. Do we gossip about others’ appearances? Do we look in the mirror and see a wrinkle and think: GOD I’m looking old, I may as well just stay home for the next decade? Listen, you can approach ageing however you choose to, and I’m not saying that you should let yourself go to seed. Of course, pay attention to your appearance and do whatever it takes to make you feel bold, beautiful and confident. But I want to take actions as I age BECAUSE I WANT TO, not because society is telling me that the only way I can add value is to try make myself look like I’m 19 again. Besides, I was pretty one dimensional at 19 and not very interesting at all. I also had very bad taste in clothes. I much prefer myself now.

I’m also realising more and more, that health is what we’re after. Not magazine perfection. Make me strong and happy and I’ll take a few wrinkles please. I want to embrace every aspect of this precious life, and feel at home in my body, this one place I have to call home while I’m on the earth.

That’s all really. Happy Mondays all.





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