Eliminate the stigma behind getting older

Dame Helen Mirren recently made headlines when she graced the cover of Allure’s September issue at 72 alongside the words “The End of Anti Aging.” Soon after, the magazine announced that it will be banning the term “anti-aging” from its pages. It’s a move Mirren herself advocated for when working with L’Oreal. She explained to Allure that she told the brand, “This word “anti-aging” — we know we’re getting older. You just want to look and feel as great as you can on a daily basis.”

The sentiment has given me, a woman who has both obsessed over and loved her wrinkles, a lot of feelings. On one hand, Mirren’s right. The term “anti-aging” implies that all women are — or should be — fighting tooth and nail to turn back the clock. At the same time, the reality is that society can be unkind to women who look their age. If you’re a woman over the age of 50, finding work has statistically gotten harder since 2008, and the LA Times recently reported that among 65-year-olds seeking administrative jobs, the callback rate was about half that of younger applicants — 7.6 percent versus 14.4 percent.

I didn’t just pick up a new microneedle roller for strictly vanity reasons. Though I’m (sadly) not Helen Mirren, as a health and beauty writer, my appearance, somewhat like an actor’s, is part of my livelihood. Who’s going to hire an old-looking beauty writer? It’s always on my mind, and it’s exhausting.

Then there’s the backlash to contend with. Should those of us who choose to turn to the occasional treatment or serum — or even needles or a nip and a tuck — be subject to rampant internet filler- and filter-shaming? Too often it feels as though we’re damned either way. Women are called fake if they rely on anti-aging treatments, or hags if they look a little tired.

Fortunately, neither Mirren nor Allure advocated for a one-size-fits all approach. Instead, Mirren told the magazine she believes, “Anyone should be able to do what they want. If they look in the mirror and go, ‘I look good’ and go out in a positive way — I don’t want anyone to feel miserable.”

And she’s not the only one. A number of influential women have spoken out in favor of a more open-minded view of getting older. Take, for example, the insightful quotes about aging from the following six celebrities. Wouldn’t it be great if we could heed these words and usher in a time where we embrace aging rather than railing against it? What if we looked at all aging as “aging beautifully”? I know the lines on my face are from living my life — who could be anti that?