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The anti-ageism trap

Updated: Jan 12

“How to dress when you’re fifty? She is gorgeous, slim, wears a one-shoulder dress. Her long silver locks bounce around her face. She walks towards the camera with confidence and says: “Be fifty, get dressed”.

I shared the heck out of that Instagram reel. Out with ageism. Out with norms that tell us women how we should behave, dress, cut, colour our hair as we age. A week later, Pamela Anderson took the world by storm when she showed up at Paris Fashion Week completely make-up free. Her courage made headlines and Jamie Lee Curtis announced that the NATURAL BEAUTY REVOLUTION HAS OFFICIALLY BEGUN! But, it turned out that it was all a trap. Me sharing the “you’re fifty, so what” video, the internet going crazy over Pamela Anderson ‘au naturel’. We fell into the “women-are-courageous-because-they-grow-their-grey-hair-out-and-say no-masking-their-age-trap”. I only realised that when friend and writer Charlotte Heje Haase posted this on Facebook:


Stop posting and sharing articles about how bad-ass it is when women grow out their grey hair (Andie Macdowell etc) or how courageous it is when women show up make-up-free (Pamela Anderson etc). It makes me tired, sad and angry.


Courageous? Special? Cool? A statement? That we, as women don’t camouflage that we are human beings?


Wake me up in 2023. Promise me that we’ve become less impressed. That our appearance no longer makes headlines.


Just let us be. Here”.


I read Charlotte’s post just as I was about to bombard my friends and followers with Pamela A’s rebellious act. Then I hesitated. For what if this was not about the natural beauty revolution? What if those of us who share, write and post about bad-ass 50+ women who dare to be natural and go grey are actually contributing to making age ‘a thing’? This column makes it a thing. Is it time for us to let it go? Time to not be impressed? Time to stop applauding the rebellious acts of bare faces and grey hair. Time to just be. Here.

Pamela Anderson make-up free at Paris fashion week

Andie MacDowell at the 74th Cannes Festival opening

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