Viv Groskop's recent article for The Guardian, "The ageing beauty revolution is here”, highlighted a barefaced Pamela Anderson and naturally grey Helen Mirren and Andie MacDowell at Paris Fashion Week. The paper reported: “Makeup is out, grey hair is in: the week it became cool for women to look their age”. Here at Studio10, it comes as no surprise. We’ve been advocating this natural PRO AGE celebration of our years FOR years.
In many ways (and certainly for the purpose of these musings) whether we choose to dye our hair or opt for a natural barefaced look is essentially immaterial when you consider the bigger picture – and one that Andie MacDowell is particularly vocal about – it simply isn’t the same for men – as ever (read an eyes skyward emoji here). Yet for celebrity women who choose to take a natural path, the column inches it garners is astonishing.
Open any magazine or tabloid newspaper and you’ll find stories of yet another celebrity ‘embracing their natural hues’ or ditching makeup; and the individual choices we are making ourselves as women who are ageing are largely reflective of a PRO-AGE movement – embracing midlife plus and the opportunities that this time of our life has to offer – regardless of grey hair, dyed hair, makeup or no makeup.
The point is – why should we be talking about it at all? The ageing process for men goes virtually unnoticed. Their hairlines recede and it’s considered distinguished, a few lines add a rugged look of wisdom, a full head of steely grey hair and out trots the silver fox. Of course, there are racks of hair tints for men – and I’m sure there are many who do – but you would never see social media pictures of George Clooney #embracingmygrey! It all happens without comment. As Andie MacDowell questioned in a recent interview: “Why have men been glorified as they age?” Why indeed.
In the same interview she also asked: “Why do we have this expectation for women to not age?” I wonder if perhaps there is still an element of denial attached to the ageing process, with deeply ingrained cultural attitudes and our own unconscious bias at play. The beauty industry is flooded with ‘age-defying’ products, fashion has become ageless, and the use of filters on social media all point towards the idea that we are still living with imposed standards of beauty and society is dictating how we should feel about it.
As far as I’m concerned it is – to quote The Guardian – “cool” to look any age we choose, but if we do decide to ditch the dye and go barefaced, there is also something sassy and rebellious about a woman who is not afraid to be herself in a world where we still have to fight to be exactly that. So maybe the core of the matter lies right there – to be ourselves – and able to step beyond these imposed standards of beauty for women without unleashing endless debate. It would be nice to leave a legacy for future generations where being and looking exactly as we choose has become an unnoticed norm.