When you say I look good for a woman in my 40s…
Do you mean I look younger than expected?
More toned, less worn, less wrinkled?
Do you mean being in my 40s shouldn’t look good? Or somehow there is a depreciation of sex appeal?
Do you mean that I should always strive to look a decade younger than I am in numerical age? Or is younger a euphemism for thin?
Do you mean that women in their 40s aren’t hot, that one is sexier, say, in their 20s?
Do you mean it’s because I ‘dare’ to wear crop tops, and you think women in their 40s don’t ‘normally’ do that?
Do you mean it’s because my hair isn’t greying yet? Or that gravity hasn’t pulled my breasts down?
Do you mean that a women’s worth declines as aging becomes more evident? As if we are collectible figurines that must stay mint in the box. Is only a ‘young’ woman the desirable default, and all others not?
The issue with this ‘compliment’ is that it centres youthfulness, thinness, a certain type of aesthetic as what is prioritized, beautiful, sexual, and normative. That I ‘better’ continue to look good for being in my 40s because I might not look good anymore one day. That when I’m in my 50s, the best I can aim for is to look good for being in my 50s. Nevermind that if I live til 90, then I will potentially live for the majority of my life forgotten, discarded, and deemed irrelevant because I will look ‘old’. That I must fit into an external ideal to be beautiful, and there is an expiry date attached. That a woman’s looks seems to still be so tied to their worth, no matter how body positive the whole may become.
Why can’t I just look good? Why can’t being older look good— without condition— without the need to add the part ‘for being older’? Who says an ‘older’ woman isn’t fuckable anymore? That pleasure and intimacy does not belong to folks beyond a certain age? Why can’t age be a revered process, one that holds experience, wisdom, and being closer to the infinite? And why so much emphasis on looks anyway?
Has anyone ever considered how ridiculous it is to say, “They are happy for being 40+”, or “She is so funny for being in her 40s”, or “The woman is so clever for being in their 40s”, or “The woman is healthy for being in her 40s”. Because for some reason happiness, humour, intelligence, and wellness are somehow not as tied to a woman’s self image as physical form…
Do we say to a mighty Cedar, a radiant Magnolia, an elegant Willow that they look good for being several decades old? We know that the older a tree is, the more precious it is. We understand how sacred something is when it has seen life.
We look good.
We are good.
That. Is. It.
I wrote this as a response to the demon within who said this photo make me look unattractive because I appear ‘old’ to myself. Sharing the self-pep-talk in case you need it today.
Founder, spirit communicator and Wu shamanic occultist