By Crystal Ogar
The sexualization of young girls and women begins at a very early age. But what happens when you get older? There’s a suspicious trend that starts to arise as you go from being a young adult to an older woman — the marketing of beauty and anti-aging products exclusively to women.
I’m talking about products like Latisse to lengthen your eyelashes, because apparently you can’t get older without losing a few and, surprisingly, that matters. And how about neckline slimmers (seriously), breast support for when you’re asleep, Botox, anti-wrinkle creams, and millions of products to “slow down” the aging process? You name it. To me, it all boils down to America’s obsession with youth and the idea of being young.
To be young in the United States is to be relevant, because once you’re older you no longer matter. Why is that? And why is it that this ideal is only targeted at women? You’ll never see an ad directed towards men about his need to trim his neckline. The most notoriously marketed products for men as they grow older would be Viagra, hair loss remedies, and other products like it.
While men become more distinguished, women become old hags. It’s ageism at play and is specifically directed at women. What is ageism you ask? Ageism, also known as age discrimination, is both the stereotyping and discrimination towards groups of people because of their age. It’s not limited to people who are older, but to younger people as well. For example, it happens when someone tells you that you’re “too young” to understand something and there’s no possible way you could just because of your age.
Celebrities are victims of it, too. You hear it and see it all the time in the media, especially when female celebrities start to get older; not only are their bodies and looks under scrutiny, but mentioning how “old” they’re starting to look and you’ve got yourself a media field day. According to the media, even turning 30 is bad news!
Getting older is a beautiful and natural process of life. With time, you grow, learn, experience more, and it should be up to everyone to embrace that. The way that the media treats older women (or not at all) is by erasing them is a problem that, just like the sexualization of girls and women, needs attention as well.
The media behind large movies, television shows, or any type of entertainment will show you women in their teens to early/late 20s, and if they’re not, producers and media makers will do whatever is necessary to make them look that way.
I’ll leave you with a clip from sketch comedy show That Mitchell and Webb Look, which basically says it all.