Saturday, February 23, 2008

Age Before Beauty

I don't know if you heard about this fashion search for models over 40. The lovely 25 year old at left was the winner. She's actually 43.

I have issues with this. To be fair, I have issues with the whole beauty industry, in part because it presents only one vision of beauty: a 25 year old, heavily made up woman, provocatively dressed, who has nothing to do with kids.

Ok, here we have a 43 year old, heavily made up woman, provocatively dressed, who actually has 3 kids, but looks like she doesn't. And she looks 25. So she's "beautiful."

I don't know anything about this woman, she may well be a beautiful person. I hope so.

I am irritated by the view of womanhood which equates beauty with sexual attractiveness and translates that to the worth of the person. It's a lie, an ingenious lie intended to turn you into a fountain of money in the pursuit of the fountain of youth. If you can't be worth anything unless you look 25, well, you can't look 25 for very long without help... Ka-ching!

I have often thought that the TV is the most expensive appliance you could ever own because, if you watch it, it will tell you over and over that you are unhappy with your life and unhappy with yourself. That's what it's designed to do. And, of course, it offers you salvation in the form of the stuff that will make you happy if only you buy the right: food, clothing, age defying wrinkle cream, or whatever. What, you thought it was for entertainment?

This model thing is the TV problem without even pretending to be entertainment!

The Truth requires a shift in perspective. Happiness comes from who and what you are in God's eyes. An extension of this, if you are married, is how you look in the eyes of your spouse (this is about more than externals, obviously). If we are being honest, how does it help a married woman to be sexually attractive to random men?

The big lie here is that if you only stay looking 25 (and how many women look like that at 25?), you will be happy. Really? Aside from the time and money, would you be happy? If you fit a particular standard of beauty, does it follow that you will be happy? How happy were you at 25?

25. That was before I had kids. I was happy then, but I am far happier now. I've grown in so many ways since I was 25. I've lived another 12 years and it shows. Late nights show. Six pregnancies show! Hours and hours of laughter show. I'm 37 and I probably look a little older.

The real irony for the beauty industry is this: I look into my husband's eyes and I see myself reflected and there I am very, very beautiful.

5 comments:

Mrs. T said...

What a lovely post. We 43-year-olds who don't look 25 (I looked about 15 when I was 25 . . . I'm not sure I EVER looked 25!) need a lift like this every now and then. You know, a truth lift, which looks and wears and is far better than any other lift one might in one's more depraved moments be tempted to consider . . .

Kate in NJ said...

Great post. We 42 year olds who don't look 25 enjoy the lift as well. :-)
Not that my opinion should matter, but you look young and healthy and beautiful to me (of course I see what a fabulous Mom you are, so I am biased perhaps) too.

Eric and Wendy said...

Thanks so much! It started out as a parenting thing: wanting my children to be free and happy as the people they were created to be, now I want it for everyone!

Little Things said...

You do not look older than 37, goofy! You look great.

Love,
I'd like my boobs back from when I was 25, but other than that I'm cool

Sue Elvis said...

Wendy,

Thank you so much for giving me the link to this post. I agree with every word you've written. You've said it perfectly!

I wonder how daughters feel when their mother doesn't look her age. I've seen a lot of women trying to compete with their daughters in looks, trying to remain at their stage of life, rather than moving on as is natural. Anyway, just a thought! My own daughters aren't going to have that problem!

I love your photo. Your beauty shines through and it's nothing to do with age.