The Pressure To Stay Young


Ariana Bruno, Writer

“You are a woman with a man inside watching a woman. You are your own voyeur,” – Margaret Atwood

When you begin to live with the approval of strangers, one bad thing can cause everything to crumble. Women are like shiny new toys for a few years before they lose their spark at a certain age. There is always going to be some standard of beauty that we’re not meeting, and it’s become impossible. Being beautiful is something so banal and short-term, and I wish we as women would stop giving into it so much. The world has made women believe they must look perfect to get any respect and it’s heartbreaking.

Women often miss out on beautiful little bits of life for the sake of keeping their beauty. Girls are worried about staying out in the sun for too long in fear of getting age spots. Girls are afraid to frown, smile, or furrow their brows too often in fear of wrinkling. Girls pass up on a plate of food in fear of gaining any more weight. 18-year-old girls are getting “baby botox” before we can even fully grow into our faces. It’s all fear. Sometimes, it feels like part of womanhood is having things taken away from you.

People have been so influenced by trends and media that even being told “you’re beautiful” doesn’t change anything. We’re all in a secret war against ourselves every year we get older. Of course, there is nothing wrong with improving yourself through self-care, but, how long can we continue doing this? The pressure for eternal beauty is exhausting. Whether you love spending your money on beauty products and going to beauty appointments, the constant effort put into the pursuit of being perceived as beautiful is draining emotionally and financially. But, beauty does go deeper than that. Our desirability is so prioritized above anything and everything else.

Life is often easier for us when we do decide to dress up, shave our legs, wax our eyebrows, and get our nails done, but beauty is also a tool of self-expression and compassion. Beauty is not just something for the insecure, but nobody deserves to be discredited for being insecure. We so easily dismiss beauty as frivolous and this silly thing that women happen to spend a lot of money on because they’re deemed as insecure. However, beauty has the power and ability to be transformative.

The issue we have currently is that society makes women scared to age and it allows us to blindly exist in the world of beauty that’s powered by capitalism and these toxic beauty standards. These executive teams, which consist mostly of men, decide what they want to sell to everyday women. Whether manufacturing a new insecurity is marketing material or pumping out some new skincare ingredient you have to try that will benefit our skin, there is other dimensions to look at. We can choose how it came to be by deconstructing that power imbalance through researching, writing, and talking about beauty from a place of legitimacy. By unpacking psychological impacts, trends, and marketing strategies, women can take back their purchasing power through education and knowledge. It will take years, if not generations, to make the beauty industry powered by consumer interest that is solely driven by a want for tools around self-expression. It is achievable, but we have to work hard to get there.

Aging is a privilege that too many people don’t get to experience. Enjoying your youth is just as important as enjoying your older years. No matter how old we get, everyone will find their place in the world.

***This opinion article reflects the voice of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of The Viking Times as a whole. Like most news outlets, The Viking Times is a non-partisan media platform.***