I’m embarrassed actually to have this a blog post heading, but today I received a press release with exactly the same title, so I thought I’d flag it up as a ‘How Not To’ talk to older women about their beauty. It’s beyond me how anyone thought this was a good idea – there’s certainly nothing embarrassing about ageing but in case you’re interested, here are those mortiying signs of being older than you used to be:
Wrinkles & Sun Damage
These are all legitimate concerns for many women (and men) but the release is scattered with words like ‘detested wrinkles’ and ’embarrassing beer belly’ – anyone would think there was simply no hope for anyone past 50. You can have concerns about how you look at any age so this is a magnificent example of age-shaming. As I go along, I’m asking PRs if they can think of words to better describe the processes that skin can through as we get older. Other than the old anti-ageing that’s wheeled out every five minutes. To be fair, I am no more able to come up with significantly better to describe the state of wanting to look nice when you’re 50+! I use the words age neutral to describe products where age is irrelevant, or age inclusive to describe how I write my blog, but how to say ‘I don’t need to look young to look great’ or ‘I am very happy to be the age I am but I’d like lovely skin care please’ – there are no short ways that I can think of to wrap these sentences up. I use Beauty+ as an indicator that a product is more relevant to an older woman than a young woman in the particular cases where that applies (hence the BeautyPlus portion of my blog).
I’m also asking directly, when presented with an ‘anti-ageing’ product which part of my face specifically the PR or brand thinks will benefit from the product. NOBODY wants to say it out loud, let me tell you! It has yet to happen that any brand rep is comfortable pointing out my ‘flaws’ despite trying to convince me it’s a product that older women ‘need’. Seems it’s okay for the label to say it, but to actually say it to my face has proven more difficult when the reality of the anti-ageing message is laid bare.
If you have any words that describe the okayness of being older but the desire to have decent skin and to love beauty products not because you’re older but because you just love beauty without mentioning anti-ageing or age shaming, please let me know what they are!
The more that brands try to convince women that it’s somehow shameful or embarrassing to be older, the less that influencers in the field are going to take any notice of them. The tide has turned – the more older journalists and bloggers I speak to the more I realise that age shaming in the beauty industry is going to be challenged, questioned, argued with and named and shamed.
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