great expectations of women and so-called crime of ageing

Model / actress Christie Brinkley, who at the age of 62 looks as youthful as ever
Model / actress Christie Brinkley, who at the age of 62 looks as youthful as ever

Upon hitting my half century, I’m finding this ageing malarkey isn’t easy.

It’s not just the hot flushes, or the aches and pains, it’s the great expectations placed upon women to look a certain way.

The majority of media content involves the physical appearances of female celebrities. We are bombarded on a daily basis with photos of stars in revealing outfits. The headline descriptions of these women involve words like busty, leggy, saggy and ample to name but a few. Women come under harsh scrutiny by the media in today’s world and it’s very unpleasant to observe. The message comes across that if you don’t look young and attractive then you are of no worth. According to most periodicals we females should all be on the quest for everlasting youth. One double page spread I’ve just perused screamed the headline: ‘Stars’ Secrets to Looking Younger!’ and proceeded to detail female celebrities’ beauty regimes on how they achieve their youthful looking complexions. Ruth Langsford,56, confessed that micro-needling was her secret to youthful skin. This involves poking tiny needles into your face to boost collagen and reduce wrinkles.

Forty-three-year-old Gwyneth Paltrow swears by a 1,000-year- old treatment called apitherapy which involves bee stings to make her look forever young. And 42-year- old Victoria Beckham is a fan of Japanese facials, which involves receiving a face full of bird pooh which costs £180 a time!

As a woman of a certain age I admit I feel increasingly dissatisfied with my appearance, especially as my menopausal belly fat creeps on and parts of my anatomy which used to be taut, like the tops of my arms, now resemble porridge. I’ll be frank, it’s chuffing depressing watching it all head south and it’s made worse by seeing fragrant pictures of the likes of 62-year- old Christie Brinkley, who is over a decade older than me, smiling up from the pages of a magazine dressed like a 19-year-old with a face suspended in time.

Amazingly, she still looks how she did in the ‘Uptown Girl’ pop video of 1983!

How is that even possible, is it plastic surgery or brilliant photoshopping?

With the current trend for body shaming in the media and also on social media websites, it makes me glad that I’m not a teenager today. Being incredibly self-conscious and shy in my youth, I would have found today’s unattainable ideals of beauty crushing to my self-esteem.

The body size of models and stars in mass media have become noticeably smaller since I was a girl.

My role models back then were my classmates and Leslie Ash, who regularly appeared on the front of the Jackie and other teen mags, she was pretty and slim but not ridiculously thin like many of the bird-like stars the media often glamourize today.

According to a recent survey regarding the effects of the mass media on body image, 80 per cent of women surveyed said they were made insecure by images they see on television, and more than 66 per cent were influenced by underweight models in magazines. Women who were shown pictures of skinny models showed a decline in self-esteem and overall mood. I would hate to be part of this Instagram generation where young girls showcase themselves in the hopes of getting lots of ‘likes’ to feel worthy and validated. They use filters on their photos to make themselves look better, but in fact all they are doing is portraying themselves as something they are not.

Nowadays, disillusionment with ourselves is rampant. It appears we all want to be something we’re not. Many of us seem desperate to achieve unobtainable goals, the old want to be young. The young want to portray themselves as glamourous, funny and interesting on the internet’s global platform to a 24-hour audience. This is something that most of us struggle to achieve in real life, with real people, I can’t imagine the pressure this must put young people under. Regarding their looks, the youth of today have a hard time thanks to the media but the oldies get it harder. Ageing is difficult enough without women being made to feel as though it’s some sort of crime. Newspapers and magazines bombard us with articles on ways we may be able to hold back the hands of time, which is an impossible task. Ageing isn’t a disease for which we must find a cure, we should be encouraged to embrace maturity and urged to lift our minds, not our faces!