Body Image Week: We Don't Just Need a Body Image Revolution, We Need An 'Aging Image' One!

I’m on vacation this week, so I’ll be re-publishing a series of body image posts from the archives. This one originally ran in May of 2010.

As I recovered from binge eating disorder and body obsession, fat days have gotten fewer and farther between. But guess what’s been popping up in their place? Wrinkle days! (This was me the other morning while brushing my teeth: “Mm, this new Aquafresh tastes niACK another crow’s footWHERE’SMYMOISTURIZER?!!!!”) I may have gotten a lot saner about my weight and food obsessions, but now, apparently I’m dealing with this. And, I don’t know about you, but I could use a healthy-aging body-image heroine. In this era of Botox, fillers, cheek implants and completely surgically made-over faces, how are we supposed to know what’s normal? The extreme implants and facial surgeries sought out by aging women have become the West’s version of genital mutilation—only it’s voluntary.

I am hereby declaring our society’s fight against aging complete and total insanity.

Does a naturally aging 49-year-old look like THIS?

Is THIS what 64 really looks like?

Is THIS what women look like when they're 77?

I think we don’t just need a Body Image Revolution, we need a Natural Aging Revolution! I nominate the talented, brilliant Meredith Vieira, 57, and Goldie Hawn, 65, to be the posterladies.

Who’s your body/aging image hero? And (for those of you over 25 :) ) how do you feel about getting older?


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7 Responses to Body Image Week: We Don't Just Need a Body Image Revolution, We Need An 'Aging Image' One!

  1. Chelsea says:

    I found myself thinking Heather Locklear looks good, but I get your point with the others. I don’t picture myself having a lot of plastic surgery (I’m 44) but I also won’t rule out a procedure or two if I decide it’s something I want. As cliche as it sounds, I’m really loving life in my 40’s more than I ever have before. If it takes a few crow’s feet to get to be this settled in your skin and happy in your relationships, then it’s more than worth it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Even though I’ve never really worried about wrinkles and getting older as being a self-esteem factor, I can easily say that my aging-image role model is my mother. Lucky me, I get some of her genes too! She looks her age, and she looks it well.

    Plus, I’ve always found wrinkles around the eyes and mouth to be beautiful, I can’t wait to look the part of a well-lived woman.

  3. Deanna says:

    I wouldn’t trade my 42 year old brain for my 22 year old body.

    That said, age has its own beauty. Different, to be sure, but not ugly.

    The best anti age routine: don’t smoke, don’t have too many regrets, smile and wear sunscreen.

  4. LovesCatsinCA says:

    I think Meryl Streep still looks lovely as she ages. Jodie Foster is around my age and you can see some expression lines on her. We all age individually anyway. I’m in my mid-40s and I don’t really have any crow’s feet to speak of, but I definitely have the furrows between the brows and horizontal lines in my forehead-and I SHOULD because I have an expressive face when I talk. I don’t talk with my hands like some people gesture-mine stay still-but I move my face a lot. Someone who is opposite would age differently.

  5. Megan says:

    Awesome post! Thank you so much for opening up this discussion. It’s true that we have very few role models to teach us women that aging naturally is acceptable, and beautiful in it’s own right. I’m 33 and very aware the signs of my body’s aging. To be honest, I suffer from a lot of anxiety about it. I fear the wrinkly upper lip, the crows feet and droopy under-eye bags, the turkey neck and sagging breasts… I especially fear menopause and the loss of both my sex appeal and my libido. And, most of all, I fear being replaced by “the younger woman”.
    I hate that I feel this way, but there it is. I can only hope that, as I continue to work towards a healthy self-esteem and a sense of self-worth that isn’t based on my appearance, I will make peace with aging and put my fears to rest.

  6. I agree completely - I feel so sad when I watch movies and see women - and men - whose faces are still, except for their lips moving. I notice that a more recent trend is to botox around the eys but still leave some forehead muscles active. The whole botox thing horrifies me - inactive muscles atrophy, so what will support the skin in years to come?

    My female natural ageing role models are the Brit actor Helen Mirren, yes the gorgeous Meryl Streep, aussie actor Kerry Armstrong, and have you seen Carolyn Cleaves, who has an aweset set of facial muscle exercises - she says that when you exercise your facial muscles, you just look more like yourself - unlike the way we have to get used to the new faces of people who have cosmetic procedures and they kind of remind you of who they used to look like….

  7. Chelsea says:

    It’s also nice when little surprises happen, like when Teri Hatcher uploaded all those pix she took of herself fresh out of the shower, no make-up, and proving she could move her facial muscles.

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Sunny Sea Gold

About the Author

Sunny Sea Gold is a media-savvy advocate and commentator specializing in binge eating disorder, cultural obsessions around food and weight, and raising children who have a healthy body image.