The Double Standard

Ravenous Butterflies
“Women have another option. They can aspire to be wise, not merely nice; to be competent, not merely helpful; to be strong, not merely graceful; to be ambitious for themselves, not merely for themselves in relation to men and children. They can let themselves age naturally and without embarrassment, actively protesting and disobeying the conventions that stem from this society’s double standard about aging. Instead of being girls, girls as long as possible, who then age humiliatingly into middle-aged women, they can become women much earlier – and remain active adults, enjoying the long, erotic career of which women are capable, far longer. Women should allow their faces to show the lives they have lived. Women should tell the truth.” Susan Sontag – The Double Standard of Aging (1972)
Annie Leibovitz – portrait of Susan Sontag.

It seems to me that the double standard of aging is yet worse today than days gone by, with women being the biggest perpetrators of deception themselves. Well, women and marketing. Marketing and products. It’s not easy to find original and simple of anything anymore, much less “beauty” products. Buying face lotion is a lesson in patience getting past the rejuvenating and replenishing and restoring with vitamins and retinol A thru z. Removing wrinkles and spots and age itself is easily bought over the counter—surgery in a bottle. And then the surgery itself—beyond Botox in a needle—is available to everyone, not just models and movie stars. Oi! So it appears as if women have to have the courage to just be themselves, not as a member of a group. The group itself (of aging women) is splintered the same as so much in our world today. Put this in the corner of “Self Matters.”

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