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Beauty

The Art of Aging: Women’s Bodies

I honestly do not think that we talk about it  enough. I feel like most of the time it is subconscious, but we treat the aging body so strange as if we won’t age someday. We are at a point in history where people are living  really high numbers in age. 60 years ago or so, you were probably expected to live till the age of 70, maybe. Despite this successful progress we have made with the longevity of being alive, we treat the aging body very strange, and there is a related obsession to remain looking youthful.

Cultural standards of beauty and femininity are deeply rooted in the idea of youthfulness. As a result of the importance society places on youthfulness, there are anti-aging strategies that are heavily marketed in our culture. Anti-aging is a feminist issue because this mindset creates another divide between women of  privilege to age differently than impoverished women. The body is the first indicator of aging, and cosmetic surgeries are a luxury that only people with money can afford. As a society, we tend to have a specific way of viewing an aging body. People tend to think very innocently of older folks almost dismissing their sexuality and their functionality. We even manage to get weird and uncomfortable when confronted with the reality of an aging body. The way we view aging bodies is evident in a lot of aspects of American culture, especially in our media. In films and TV shows, old people are often portrayed as weak, indecisive, and we find them comical for it.

There are tons of products and procedures out there that promote this idea of anti-aging. From wrinkle creams, hair dyes specifically for covering gray hair, to botox and facelifts.  When we encourage women to take actions that will make them look more youthful, we are also encouraging an internalized self-hate and for them to feel folk, loving your body is about loving it now as it is. Your body is as beautiful and functional as it was yesterday and several years ago, please age gracefully. For everyone else, it is time to end the rigid ways in which we view aging bodies. Everyone deserves to feel comfortable in their own skin, and we should always help to enforce that through our dissatisfied ? in their bodies. No matter our age, our bodies are always in flux.

The Huffington Post published an article about artists who captured the beauty of aged bodies. It was a beautiful article that displayed pieces of art that highlighted the natural beauty of aging bodies as well as small quotes from the people in the art and how they feel about themselves.

 

Jahaira is a double major in Psychology and Women's and Gender Studies and a campus correspondent for the Her Campus chapter at Wells College. 
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