“OMG, you’re 35? But you look so good for your age!”
I think it’s obvious by now that statements like this should not be regarded as a compliment. It’s age-shaming. Can’t someone just look good—no matter how old they are? Think about it: the fashion industry is making moves to be more inclusive by producing campaigns that include all sizes, shapes, and ethnicities. And while some may say that it’s because everyone is so easily offended on social media nowadays, the truth of the matter is that our society is slowly transforming into a more accepting and inclusive one. And after Allure’s sudden declaration about how they will no longer use the term “anti-aging,” it looks like the beauty industry is finally catching up to this all-inclusive mentality, too.
Welcoming the New Age of Beauty
As a former beauty editor, I have to admit that I was more curious about the way this would impact how Allure would write their copy. I mean, just take a look at their archives. It’s littered with stories that say “This Year’s Best Anti-Aging Products” and “The 10 Commandments of Anti-Aging”. Slowly though, I began to realize just how impressive this “anti-aging” ban actually was—and it wasn’t just because a top beauty magazine would have to find a new way to talk about moisturizers and Botox. On a more global scale, this move is beginning to challenge the way a $445 billion industry communicates with their consumers. “Whether we know it or not, we’re subtly reinforcing the message that aging is a condition we need to battle—think antianxiety meds, antivirus software, or antifungal spray,” writes Allure’s editor-in-chief, Michelle Lee.
So What’s the Big Deal, Really?
It’s simple. Allure’s bold stance can begin to change the way we relate to, well, looking older. Though the impact may be gradual, there’s no denying that this “anti-aging” lockout has the power to shift our mindsets—to see aging as a privilege and not something to avoid like the plague. Take your cue from these beauty vloggers on YouTube—older women are beginning to take back their power more and more by embracing their laugh lines (read: not crow’s feet), showing off their silver streaks (read: not white hair), and simply flaunting what they’ve got. So even though the appeal of looking youthful (and finding products that can help you achieve that by using other marketing euphemisms for anti-aging) may never go away completely, the big difference is that there’s a chance that we won’t be as desperate to chase after the proverbial fountain of youth anymore. The goal, or rather, the hope is that this shift can help us relax and finally accept and love where we are right now. After all, a wise woman once said that today is both the oldest we’ve ever been, and the youngest we’ll ever be again.