Sat. Mar 23rd, 2024

I don’t care about aging and you shouldn’t either

By Caterina Magnoni Oct 27, 2023
Ravi Patel/Unsplash

At first, it was the clean girl TikTok trend. A fresh, low-maintenance aesthetic that presented women with glowing skin, glossy lips and almost no makeup as the archetype of beauty. Who says that having a face full of makeup, or textured skin and body hair is wrong?

Then anti-aging made it to my For You Page even though I am only 22. According to TikTok I should be adopting techniques to avoid looking old as soon as possible. From eating raw eggs in the morning to drinking with an anti-wrinkle straw, this strenuous routine should help women look young and beautiful forever. On the platform, the hashtag #antiaging now has 7.8 billion views.

Gen Z (people under 30) are booking more cosmetic procedures than ever, according to data released in February 2023 by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. The phenomenon has been named Zoom Boom, because the rise in use of platforms like Zoom during the pandemic, led to more people feeling self-conscious about what they saw.

This inescapable fear of aging has also been exacerbated by the old age filter on TikTok, which turns those who use it into an older version of themselves. Kylie Jenner told her 54.8 million followers – mostly young women – what she thought about seeing her face with some wrinkles and under-eye bags: “I don’t like it at all.”

I am tired of this narrative. I am tired of the idea that men age like fine wine – the silver foxes of Hollywood, while women, once they turn 25, should start getting Botox or even stop making strong facial expressions. Imagine being so terrified of looking old that you refuse to show emotions. You can age, if you are lucky, but you must do it gracefully. If you do not look like Halle Berry or Gwen Stefani when you are in your 50s, it means that something went wrong – maybe you drank too much from a bendy straw.

At a TED talk about the fear of getting older, Scilla Elworthy, born in 1943 and founder of the Oxford Research Group, said: “Obsession with body image is tiring, it’s never-ending. If our emphasis turns to what life is really about, to what makes us feel electric, then that starts to glow on the outside. I resign from the world of Botox and facelifts.”

Despite being constantly immersed in a youth-obsessed culture, I think that aging is beautiful. And it is a privilege that too many do not have. Under-eye bags, forehead lines, crow’s feet and smile lines should not be a sign that we have failed to take care of ourselves. They should remind us how far we have come and how intensely we have lived.

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