The way I feel about my appearance has changed in my 60s… and I like it

When I met the man I’d later marry, we were in tropical Papua New Guinea. It is a hot, sweat-inducing
Opinion

When I met the man I’d later marry, we were in tropical Papua New Guinea. It is a hot, sweat-inducing place and I couldn’t wear makeup. It just slid off.

Back in the south, working, I went the usual way – I’m female so it was incumbent on me to look my best. Retired, I don’t wear makeup except on the rare dress-up evening out. Glittery ear rings, eye shadow, lipstick, but that’s it. No one has recoiled in horror so I figure I must look reasonably okay.

Just recently, on Starts at 60, there was an article: ‘New Year, New Body’. I wondered if for a change it might be aimed at men? Ha!

Sub-headings: the body beautiful, emphasise your best features… exercise more, wear the clothes that enhance your figure, the best bra, improve your posture…

Who is this for? What about the woman with a scarred face, or a dowager’s hump, or a damaged foot, or absolutely no spare money?

Not boys. Not teenage lads. Not men. Men our age let it all hang out. Some men our age look 8 months pregnant. We might wish they didn’t but columns of advice don’t flagellate their self-images in every magazine and ad.

Singer Annie Lennox had this to say about 18 months ago, as she turned 60:

“There’s this youth culture that is really, really powerful and really, really strong, but what it does is it really discards people once they reach a certain age. I actually think that people are so powerful and interesting – women, especially – when they reach my age. We’ve got so much to say, but popular culture is so reductive that we just talk about whether we’ve got wrinkles, or whether we’ve put on weight or lost weight, or whether we’ve changed our hair style. I just find that so shallow.”

A woman in her late 40s commented on this:

An interesting topic! After years of stressing about public acceptance of my appearance, I have spent the last year of my 40s learning to love myself at face value and have others love the real me too! Some may gossip about how I have let myself go, but in reality it takes great inner strength to not paint a face on each morning, only to be judged anyways. So I have gone au natural and it has been liberating! After all, I know how “beautiful” I am with make-up on… But do others know how beautiful I am without it? Some may always be shallow and place value on women just because they are all made up. But true love is tested most in the morning when there’s no makeup on. I have heard some women never even show their spouses how they look without makeup, rising early from bed to paint their faces. It is an insecurity I have rid myself of. If you don’t love me naturally you don’t love me at all. Bring on my 50s! I’m ready!

 

Do you agree this woman’s older years will be more liberated than any woman’s who might be influenced by the ‘New Year, New Body’ approach to her body?

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