Anti-Aging: A Death Sentence
By Karen and Erica
In 1972, Susan Sontag wrote an essay, The Double Standard of Aging,” in which she remarked that “in an era in which people actually live longer and longer, what now amounts to two thirds of everyone’s life is shadowed by a poignant apprehension of unremitting loss.” Loss of youth, that is.
Things did not change quickly. Even during 60s and 70s, the years that birthed the feminist movement, most of us, women in particular, started hearing about the benefits of using anti-aging products when we were about 18. The concept of a use-by date was inculcated early. So was the notion that women’s value arose from their physical attributes, and that everyone was living the best part of their lives when they were young.
Lately, though, perhaps because the numbers of our demographic are large, and growing, and because there is some faint perception that as a group we have money and power, the whole anti-aging concept is under attack. Allure Magazine. Italian Vogue. Madonna. Lauren Hutton. Helen Mirren. Diane von Furstenberg. All decided to refuse to use the term. And they are important because they are all in the image industry.
Why this new stance? Because they realize the only real way to avoid aging is to die young, which is a high price to pay. Otherwise you, and the way you live, will start to reflect the piling on of years. And those signs are abundant. You will know more good things. You will be more confident. You will be bold. You will throw caution to the winds, do things you would have been scared to do when you were young. You will give advice. You will start a business. You will wear red even though people told you not to. And, yes, your face and body will no longer be those of a teenager. If you have taken care of them, by thinking, and eating well, and moving briskly every day, you will look like the layered and luminous person you are.
Who, then, would be anti-aging? Once the image industry starts to figure it out, only someone who was too young, or too dumb, to see what fun it will be when you have earned your cool and can flaunt it. Or someone who wants to forego the benefits of access to the people who have made it. The numbers of those people are diminishing.
So get out there and let them see what 60, 70, 80, 90 looks like. Life, not death.