The Hypocrisy of Anti-Aging Products.
We don’t see advertisements in mainstream magazines for anti-women, anti-black, or anti-gay products, but beauty mags are full of anti-aging creams, serums, supplements, foods, and clothes.
Almost exactly three years ago, Allure magazine decided to stop using the expression “anti-aging.” Their editor, Michelle Lee, wrote, “Whether we know it or not, we’re subtly reinforcing the message that aging is a condition we need to battle.” Bravo, but most other beauty mags didn’t follow suit, and the $131 billion global skincare market is still significantly focused on anti-aging products.
The irony is that many of the ads promoting anti-aging products simultaneously offer the message that you’re beautiful just as you are. There’s an underlying message of shame, coupled with this unspoken idea that we need to live up to someone else’s standard. The fact is, not all of us can look like Cindy Crawford at 54, who I saw advertising on an infomercial at the gym this morning. Yes, we now have more positive role models on the covers of magazines, like Helen Mirren, Jane Fonda, and Lauren Hutton. Of course, that’s like saying America doesn’t have systemic racism because we elected Barack Obama. Give me a break!
I’m a man. At least most days. I don’t have to deal with all this crap because I aspire to be a “silver fox.” Once and for all, let’s recognize that anti-aging products are anti-women products. I certainly don’t (nor do any of my friends my age) get Facebook ads targeting me for products that demean me both for my age and gender.
I look forward to your suggestions on how we can change this “anti-aging” dynamic in our language and culture.