The phrase “youth is beauty, age is not” is a harmful and inaccurate statement that perpetuates the negative stigma surrounding ageing. It suggests that as we age, we lose our value and beauty and that youth is the only time in our lives when we are truly attractive. Growing old ain’t for the faint of heart, it’s true. It’s tough to deal with the bingo wings, the wrinkles, and the ever-expanding waistline. But as we age, we gain some pretty amazing things too. Confidence, wisdom, and the ability to rock our unique qualities and strengths. Not to mention deeper relationships and a greater sense of purpose in life.
And let’s not forget a greater appreciation for gut cleanses and exercise. This month I have been on a gut cleanse and continuing a five-times-a-week exercise regime, which is tough. However, I am not looking to regain my 20-something skinny figure, but I am doing it to keep healthy. My priorities have changed since I was young. I will always carry extra weight around my middle but hopefully not enough to make it dangerous. I have bingo wings, and though I am doing a lot of arm and shoulder exercises, it is to keep strong and flexible. I am not looking to have arms like my 30-something daughters.
Grace is also trying to stave off the health implications of growing older and does daily yoga incorporating lots of stretching to keep her supple, mobile and hopefully pain-free.
Indeed, youth is often associated with energy, vitality, and a certain level of physical attractiveness. However, the idea that youth is the only time when we are beautiful is not only untrue, but it’s also incredibly damaging. It puts pressure on young people to maintain a certain level of beauty and perfection, and it sends the message that as we age, we become less valuable and less worthy of love and attention.
Furthermore, the notion that age equals ugliness ignores the many positive attributes that come with getting older. As we age, we often gain confidence, wisdom, and a sense of self-acceptance that can be incredibly attractive. We also develop deeper, more meaningful relationships and have a greater sense of purpose in life. These traits are often associated with beauty, yet they are rarely recognized as such in a society that values youth above all else.
It’s important to remember that beauty is subjective, and what one person finds attractive may differ from what someone else finds appealing. The media and popular culture often present a narrow and unrealistic standard of beauty. Still, it’s important to resist the temptation to conform to these standards and embrace our unique qualities and strengths instead.
In addition to the harm it causes to individuals, the belief that youth is beauty and age is not has serious consequences for society. It reinforces the idea that older people are no longer valuable or relevant and can contribute to ageism and discrimination. It’s important for all of us to challenge these harmful beliefs and work to create a more inclusive and equitable society where people of all ages are valued and respected.
This not only puts pressure on young people to maintain an unrealistic standard of beauty, but it also sends the message that as we age, we become less valuable and less worthy of love and attention. Talk about a major bummer.
The good news is we can choose to reject this harmful ideology and embrace the beauty and value in all people, no matter their age. And let’s be real; there’s nothing more attractive than a person who’s comfortable in their own skin and proud of the life they’ve lived. Just look at the fabulous Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu in Emily in Paris – 60 years young and slaying the style game.
I recently watched Emily in Paris, and whilst Lily Collins, who plays Emily, is a beautiful young woman, it is Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, who plays Sylvie, that I truly admire. She looks comfortable with her older body, and she has great style. Admittedly she is thin; however, she has wrinkles, but she does not cover any of them up. She looks her age, 60 years in April, but is proud of it.
So let’s reject the notion that youth is beauty and age is not. Let’s celebrate the many strengths and attributes that come with getting older, and let’s recognise the beauty and value in all people, no matter their age.