Or, What’s A Little Facetune Between Friends?
Social media has connected us in ways we never thought possible a few decades ago. I’ve made (good, real) friends all over the world thanks first to online support groups, and then through blogging. It’s been a wonderful way to find and build relationships with people I would never have crossed paths with otherwise.
The downside to social media (especially visually-based platforms like Instagram, Facebook and blogs) is that it has to some degree become just another stream of commercialized, filtered, airbrushed, images. Nobody’s life is as “perfect” as their Instagram feed. It’s human nature to want to put our best selves forward. And it’s also human nature to compare our messy, mottled, wrinkled, pile-of-laundry-on-the-bed lives to someone’s carefully curated feed and feel a bit inadequate.
I had a conversation with a friend recently about the degree that we’re willing to show our aging faces, necks (!), and bodies on social media. There are all kinds of apps out there that will smooth away the wrinkles, remove the age spots, make the lips look fuller. As another friend said, “why wouldn’t you want to look your best?”
But then I think, when does it stop? When do we stop viewing signs of age as flaws that need to be corrected? Ageism is a huge problem in our culture. It keeps people from being hired. It makes doctors and other professionals take our concerns less seriously. And our own negative attitudes about aging can have a detrimental impact on our health (both physical and mental) over time.
Shifting Perspective, Aging Gracefully?
I recently watched a Ted talk by America Ferrera. It wasn’t about age, per se, but about embracing what makes you different from the dominant cultural ideal. So much of what she said resonated with me, especially about being made to feel of “less value.” And “who we see thriving in the world teaches us how to see ourselves, how to think about our own value…” And “…it is possible to be the person who genuinely wants to see change while also being the person whose actions keep things the way they are.” As long as we are buying into the idea that looking younger is “better,” (and manipulating our images to accomplish this) we’re helping to keep things the way they are.
Which isn’t to say that I’m going to quit my skincare routine, or stop wearing lipstick. Healthy and vibrant can co-exist with age. But we’re never going to change our culture’s attitudes toward aging by trying to erase it. Aging gracefully means different things to different people. Perhaps one small way to embrace our age is to not be afraid to let it show.
What do you think?
Above, I took this using the Portrait mode on my iPhone, mostly to blur my messy house in the background. 😆 Otherwise un-retouched. That’s my new favorite red lipstick, Kosas Weightless Lipcolor in “Thrillest.” Stays on, is moisturizing, and doesn’t bleed! Also cruelty-free and paraben-free.
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