Some heartening news: only 24% of women polled by Merz Aesthetics believe youth is what makes women beautiful.  Most women surveyed think you can be beautiful at any age, and most believe it’s certainly possible to stay attractive despite fading youth (“Growing Older, Looking Better”).
But wait a second.  You know who was surveyed?  Women in France, the U.K., Italy, Spain and Russia.  In other words, NOT American women.
In all fairness, I can’t claim from the study that American women wouldn’t agree with these results.  But let’s be real.  Our culture worships youth.  Even men feel the pressure to look youthful.  According to an article by American Health and Beauty (“More Male Patients Seeking Cosmetic Procedures”), men are increasingly seeking facelifts, male breast reduction, Botox treatments and liposuction.  The reason given?  Major competition in the job market from younger, more energetic youths.
What’s even more depressing is the rise of eating disorders among the silver-haired set. A recent New York Times article (“An Older Generation Falls Prey to Eating Disorders”) states that more and more women over the age of 50 are suffering from anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders.
So how do we deal with this fear of aging?  Ironically, a plastic surgeon, Robert Tornambe, has published a book on rethinking our aging looks (“The Beauty Quotient”).  I haven’t gotten to read it yet, I confess.  But I read his plug in the Huffington Post: “What is Beauty? A Plastic Surgeon’s Perspective.”  He asserts that there are 3 distinct aspects to our beauty quotient:
1.     Physical health
2.     Psychological health
3.     Personal appearance (skin car regimen, wardrobe, hair and make-up, etc.)
He urges us to be realistic about our changing looks and see the “glass half filled vs. half empty” and learn to make the most of what we have.
I can’t help but wonder how he can justify his occupation then.  Nevertheless, I do appreciate his list and overall philosophy, and may even try to implement them myself.

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