A new HBO documentary called About Face: The Supermodels, Then and Now explores the world of supermodels and what happens when women who made a living being young and gorgeous stop being young. Answer: it's not as easy as it should be.
No matter how much we claim older women are attractive or sexy, it always has a qualifier. Salma Hayek is sexy at 40. Helen Mirren is hot for an older woman. There is the sense that older women are put out to pasture to make way for the new lovelies who will soon be old themselves.
It can make aging a terrifying and frustrating prospect, especially for those whose stock and trade is their looks. Isabella Rossellini, once the darling of society, says in the film:
My social status has diminished because I know I’m not invited to the A parties anymore. My daughter is. As you grow older, you don’t count anymore.
Scathing words, to be sure. But they are also true. Even for those women who aren't famous and are just normal, aging is a hard process. One friend who is in her mid-40s says around the age of 37, men just stopped noticing her.
I haven't experienced that yet, but I have definitely felt diminished in stature and attention by being slightly older. There is an unspoken beauty in youth itself. Women in their 20s take it for granted and have no idea that it doesn't last forever. Youth is wasted on the young and all that.
There is more to life, though, than beauty. At least I think there is. Right? Right? I, for one, will be looking forward to seeing this documentary for many reasons.
I love the idea that at some point (please Lord), we will reach a point where we do value wisdom and age over youth and beauty. As our skin wrinkles and crinkles around the eyes, our hair grays, and our perky boobs droop, wouldn't it be nice to imagine we are entering a new kind of beauty? It would be just as valued and revered and we might be excited to enter it rather than dragged kicking and screaming. Is it possible?
Do you hate aging?
Image via HBO