We talk a lot about what midlife looks like here at Studio10. Questioning how we choose to age, societal influences and the weight of how others think we should look at 40, 50, 60 and beyond. There is so much pressure to appear a certain way – particularly on social media, and which we all know is littered with heavily filtered shots that conform to a skewed idea of what society thinks beauty should be.
Of course, it’s easy to despair at the façade put up on social media, despite understanding why it happens, but I’m betting that most of us have used the occasional filter or two, however small, to present a slightly more smoothed-out, tightened-up version of ourselves. The question we have to ask is what message does this send to society at large when we are essentially promoting the notion that we’re just not quite good enough as we are?
So – I was interested to read this week that the French are determined to address this unregulated influencer aspect of social media. A proposed new bill, due to be voted on in the French Senate next month, means that influencers will be obliged to declare the use of all filters, and images that have been “modified by image-processing software” will need to be labelled as an “edited image”. I have no doubt there are many who will argue that this is long overdue.
Alongside endless influencers, there are also many famous fifty-somethings out there who are also, unintentionally I’m sure, setting the bar too high for the rest of us. J.Lo, Jennifer Aniston, and Halle Berry (to name just a few) all look incredible with their glowing complexions, plump cheeks, shiny hair and gym-honed bodies, but is this degree of gloss attainable for all of us? And isn’t this what we’re buying into with the whole filters thing?
Of course I’m delighted that these older women are so much more visible and looking so fabulous; they’re on our screens, up on the catwalks and fronting beauty campaigns, but can the rest of us seriously keep up? And in attempting to do so, are we just feeding into the loop? Do we actually need role models who look a bit more like the rest of us?
It’s a vicious circle for so many women, particularly those of us in midlife and beyond –bombarded with fake versions of so-called perfection that make us feel bad about ourselves, and so we reach for the filters over and over again. And it doesn’t stop there when you think of the procedures and tweakments available to us, many of which are now so subtle as to go completely undetected.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that cosmetic procedures are wrong. Far from it – those of you who read my column regularly will know that I’m all for dealing with our own face and body in the way we see fit, particularly when it comes to ageing, but it’s all part of the same issue. Frankly, we love a beauty ritual here at Studio10. We embrace its power and the ability it creates to explore being the very best version of ourselves – if that’s what we choose. And if that choice is a few filters now and again or the odd tweakment here and there, then that’s fine too. We just need to start being a little more honest about what it is we’re doing – and own it.