I’ve lost count of the number of makeovers I’ve seen where a pretty, individual-looking woman has been turned into a bland, blonde lookalike no different to every other blonde model trotted out as something we’re supposed to aspire to. The last example was a gorgeous looking woman with black hair in plaits who emerged from the hairdresser’s – yes, you’ve guessed it – as a blonde Stepford-wife-looking woman. Grrr.
I’ve also recently seen photos of Jane Fonda with fawning commentary of how wonderful she looks at 78, which is fine except she’s had plastic surgery and I’m sick of the assumption that it’s so much better to look plastic perfect in old age rather than celebrating our ageing process, owning it and flaunting our wrinkles, grey hair, thin hair, straggly hair, sagging boobs, thinness, fatness or whatever.
Our bodies are the badge of honour for the life we’ve lived and continue to live and I’m a warrior for honouring our veteran years even if we look as if we haven’t just leapt gaily out of a photoshopped magazine shoot.
I thought of this these past couple of days after watching Patti Smith singing “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” as the accepted the Nobel Prize for Literature on behalf of Bob Dylan. I’ve just been watching this video again – not just for the performance which is wonderful but because it was so great to see Patti Smith, at 70, with flowing grey hair, no make-up, looking powerful, centred and standing proud in her age.
And yesterday I saw an interview with the wonderful Glenda Jackson who’s just appeared as King Lear looking unkempt, demented and as unlike the womanly stereotype as you can imagine. Such a courageous woman, standing up for her principles, utterly opposed to the Iraq War, socking it to war criminal Tony Blair at every opportunity., and, like Patti Smith, looking her age and utterly unconcerned with make-up and prettifying herself. It is just so good to see women of this age with no botox, no make-up, looking confident and untouched. An inspiration to women everywhere.
Yes, women do have the choice to appear as they wish but we also need to acknowledge that the Gold Standard of old age does not have to be trying to regain our youth and deny our old age. We crone women need to be loud, proud and worshipping our ageing bodies instead of trying to package them into eternal youth because our materialist society can’t handle old age.
Hey, it happens to us all, so embrace it, dance with it, honour it. Be true to ourselves and flaunt our authentic ageing process. We crones ROCK!