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D Spar’s New York Times Article

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Columbia Barnard chapter.

In her recent New York Times article, “Aging and My Beauty Dilemma,” Barnard president Debora Spar talks about the controversy aging poses to older women–should they embrace it, or combat it through expensive beauty treatments, and where do they draw the line?


Spar talks of how common hair-coloring, face-lifts, botox, and fillers are among the circle of highly driven, powerful older women in her social circle. But she’s not being critical, so much as honestly confiding that she doesn’t have the answers. She too, admits to undergoing some of these treatments–especially in a society where these things are deemed the standards of beauty–and wonders, “Is it all a slippery slope to some kind of Kardashian hell?”


Spar writes that “women facing the onslaught of middle age are armed with an arsenal of age-fighting implements and, for many, a feminist-inspired philosophy that disdains using them,” phrasing it as though there are seemingly two different routes that older women can take. But Spar herself seems like a very good example of someone who falls in a middle category: she acknowledges the time and money being spent on all of these aesthetic treatments, but also seems to think that maybe there’s nothing that terrible about them as long as women are being honest.


“Not only are we nipping, suctioning and using hormones, but we’re also feeling embarrassed about it, and lying. Neither of which was really the point of women’s liberation.”


To read the full article, click here.