10 Comments
May 20, 2022Liked by Sari Botton, Marcia DeSanctis

Here in my late 50s, a lot of this resonates with me. I exercise, I take vitamins, I spend too much money on moisturizers. And I am pained by the knowledge that so much of what women go through at this stage is driven by two terrible things: sexism and capitalism. Our society allows men to have signs of aging without driving them to the mall cosmetic counter or the surgeon, first thing. This is before we even mention the cost, the endless tax on women for daring to show signs of existing past 39! I am a target of relentless marketing for products to "reduce the signs of aging" and the ads are full of women, women, women, never men. How weary this makes me, the constant message that I am not allowed to age and must pay to prevent this shameful product of time from appearing on my face, my body, in public.

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Hear, hear. Well said, Pam.

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I enjoyed this piece, which I read with interest because I am asking myself all those questions about "maintenance." But was I was exhausted half way through the article just reading about all the many measures taken to fend off the inevitable, or the appearance of what is already taking its toll: age. And the cost! Meanwhile, I was interested to learn just how often I would have to pay to have roots dyed should I go that direction. For now I take away gratitude that at 64 I still only have about three grey hairs. While after years of medications for chronic illness which have had ruinous consequences on skin and bones, I prefer to invest in repairing my knees to ensure lasting mobility which finally is more important to me. Rowing sounds like a good plan!

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May 30, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

Great piece, Marcia! It's all something I think about a lot, at least half-heartedly, overlaid with a new set of questions: Now that I'm working from home pretty much full-time and am not out in the world on display with much regularity, how much of my appearance do I want to maintain for just myself? Myself and my husband? Irregular video calls, or the odd in-person conference? Those are a new set of standards, just when I had gotten used to pondering the old ones.

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You've clearly defined the two opposing attitudes to aging and appearance, but my experience, as a 76 year-old, is that there really is a middle way. It is possible to continue to look good without struggling to look young. In Europe, any woman can be considered sexy no matter her age; the obsession with youth is an American weakness, driven by commercial interests (as your article underscores). As I see it, the bar for looking great gets lower as we age. Older people with style and joie-de-vivre stand out and turn heads.

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Absolutely wonderful piece --- Spot on in every way.

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I understand the message the everyone should do their own thing, but I dream of all women making a pact with each other to halt the procedures and stop feeding the beauty industry beast…

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This was an interesting piece, but I felt I was reading about a foreign land and culture. Women are their own worst enemies! I believe we, who comprise slightly more than half the population, should stop facilitating and cooperating with the double standards Pam describes so well below.

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I would love to read the essays she describes here about her efforts to “age gracefully.” I was disappointed that her new book is not about those things!

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