A new survey has revealed a sad but perhaps predictable truth: women dread ageing.
So much so, in fact, that the poll by Sanctuary Spa Wonder Oil Serum shows 41% of women wished they looked younger, two thirds use anti-ageing products, and an alarming 1 in 5 women worry about their age… every, single, day.
There were some more positive numbers; women become more confident in their appearance the older, with those over 55 worrying the least about how old they look.
But the fact it’s even comparable, that there’s a ‘more’ and a ‘less’ to the panic about something so natural, is fairly cheerless news.
And making it even more cheerless? That we women only have ourselves to blame.
Women wage the war
“The pressure about ageing in women comes from other women,” states Marisa Peer, speaker, therapist, and author of 'You Can Be Younger' (Amazon £13.01).
“Just like teenage girls goading each other to worry about their weight, nothing has really changed, older women put pressure on each other about their age instead.”
Peer is quick to point the finger of blame at the ever-pervading media too.
“On the one hand you have adverts for ‘older people’ products that don’t use old people, or if they do, they’re glamorous ones. You’ve for adverts for stair lifts with some size 12 model or for seated baths with a 40-year old in her swimming costume.”
Then of course, there’s the inevitable media obsession with celebrities.
“You see pictures of Helen Mirren or Jerry Hall looking fabulous and there’s inevitable pressure to copy them. Being in your 60s or 70s used to be elasticated waists and pinnies, particularly in countries like Italy, women were allowed to ‘get old’, but now the pressure to be attractive never ends.
“Picture a 50-year-old woman now, and you see someone in jeans and a cardie heading to yoga; before, you’d see someone frumpy, surrounded by grandkids.”
Can the pressure be positive too?
And actually, now you look at it like that, perhaps the pressure isn’t so bad. Perhaps you could argue that it’s not even pressure at all, it’s actually inspiration.
“Seeing all these older women not looking old is proof that your life isn’t over, that you are allowed to take care of yourself,” remarks Peer.
“Even seeing the Queen still out and about shows that that’s how things are meant to be; you’re supposed to still have energy.”
Some home truths…
Interestingly, Peer adds that a lot of this energy stems from the modernisation of home appliances.
“Back some decades ago, women would have been hand-washing and doing all the household chores without the appliances we have now, meaning they’d have been more tired and had less energy to spend on appearance.”
Of course, better nutrition and medicine means we’re living longer and longer, too. Instead of ‘giving up’ in your 50s or 60s, you know – hopefully – you have a good few decades left.
“The ‘grey pound’ of the baby boomers means there’s more to spend in those decades too, be it on nice holidays or gyms to keep slim or clothes to look good.”
Online shopping has flung open the wardrobe doors for these clothes too.
“Shops more aimed at older women, like Marks and Spencer, have upped their fashion stakes, but the rise of online shopping also means women can shop in ‘younger shops’, like Topshop, where once they might have felt intimated going into.”
And everyone knows you can’t find a pinny in Topshop…