Aging: Finally Coming of Age
Aging is nothing new
We beings have been doing it since time began. Time passes. We get older. No matter if we’re trees or humans or horses or plankton.
Women, especially, have internalized a societal directive that says stop it, slow it, avoid it, hide it at any cost for, basically, ever
And that’s powerful. Entire industries have been built on the attempt to look, seem, act, live younger. I’m looking at you beauty category. While others have essentially said, you over thirties can stay as long as you don’t look it, but you over forties? Buh-bye. That’s right, fashion, we noticed. And we can’t forget the ones who just quietly stopped talking to us. (read: everyone except pharma who recognizes that our pain is their gain).
But lately, something feels different
There’s a celebration of age that relates it to progress. An understanding that we wouldn’t be where we are without the experiences that time brings. The good, the bad, the hilarious, the sad, the cringey, beautiful, the ones we want more of, the ones we’d rather forget. All of them have led us to where we are today. With the perspective, the ambition, the empathy, the anger, the desire, and the total lack of fucks for the bullshit from a world that tells us to be anything less than 100% who we are.
Women are happy with who they are
Last week I posted on LinkedIn about how when young women and girls are offered role models of women in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond, they are encouraged to view aging not as something to fear, avoid, and deny, but as something to welcome and look forward to. It is the most celebrated post I’ve ever written. Women are embracing their age more vocally and more proudly than ever before. And that sets the example younger women need. Not one that says, hide your age, cut your hair, repress your self. One that says, highlight who you are, what you look like, and where you are and want to be in your life.
Fancy did this recently for our campaign for hair care brand Hair Biology, a brand created to address the changing needs of hair as we age. The women in the ad are badass and better than ever and they celebrate themselves and their lives without apology.
When we surveyed nearly 500 women over 40, a full 80% of them said they felt younger, cooler, or sexier than they expected they would when they were younger. What that says is that society sold them a story that couldn’t have been farther from the truth. And it’s giving them the opportunity to be the role models they never had.
The way we portray aging is up to us
One of the things we always say at Fancy is that as advertisers and marketers we have a choice. We can perpetuate stereotypes, iterate the status quo, do what’s always been done, or we can use our power and might to push culture. To not simply reflect what’s out in the world, but project an entirely new way of seeing it. Now is our opportunity to give space and time to the power and beauty of aging. To give visibility to life after 40. To recognize that even well beyond our middle age we feel and are amazing.
The women are already there.