"For me, beauty is not something external, but an attitude towards life"
The Beiersdorf study is based on eight in-depth interviews conducted with women between 55 and 65 in Hamburg and Paris on the subject of aging have been led. On the Dior study "Beauty and aging worldwide 300 women each between 30 and 60 from France, Italy, the USA, Japan and China took part in the survey.
There once was a time when the words "old" meant "old" and "ugly stuck to each other like peanut and brimstone. And if someone wanted to separate them, a wrinkled witch from an old folk tale was guaranteed to intervene and weld them together again. Nothing against the Brothers Grimm. But according to psychologists, they are also partly to blame for the fact that for a long time older women were associated at best with wisdom, but hardly ever with beauty. What a pity. And how good that this is just changing from the ground up. It’s about time, after all, women over 50 in Europe already make up around 35 percent of the population. Rising trend. And they are as active and attractive as never before. Because they know what they want, but also what they no longer absolutely need. Because they have experienced a lot, but still have just as much ahead of them. And because they allow their faces to tell of these experiences and dreams. Such women are on the rise. Precisely because they stand out so pleasantly from youthfully smooth and interchangeable model faces. When the Dove company had a 96-year-old woman glowing from its posters last summer, the response was overwhelming.
"Since I retired, I’ve been reading more than ever and constantly traveling the globe. This is the best time of my life!"
Just like the BRIGITTEwoman titles: We were the first to show great women with gray hair and wrinkles. After all, 40-plus women are also special women, from a special generation. The women’s movement brought enough self-confidence to face the changes in the body more calmly than their own mothers did. The courage for new beginnings at any age came from the ’68 movement. A stable economic situation also ensured that most people had the material prerequisites for healthy nutrition and care. No wonder, then, that today’s 50- to 70-year-olds often feel ten years younger. Two studies of the cosmetics companies Beiersdorf and Dior prove it. Many of the women interviewed think they are even more beautiful today than they were when they were 20. Perhaps this is also because, despite all the advertising messages, beauty is not primarily associated by most European women with a firm body and smooth skin. "Smile", "Appearance" and "style of dress" are the characteristics they mentioned most often in the studies: Charisma beats body cult. And the wrinkles? No one loves them, and most of them want to do something about it.
But there are limits: Lifting is still rare in Europe. You better try to take extra care of yourself from 50, it’s as good for the soul as for the skin. Products that try to recreate firmness with refined formulas are therefore well received by most. In spite of all the anti-aging rituals: Women in Europe reject youth at any price in any case. You can be beautiful at any age, they think. And desirable anyway.
"We have been friends for over ten years – the simplest recipe for staying young."
Unfortunately, this is not yet the case elsewhere. Older Asian women in particular fear for the softness of their skin and for the famous porcelain complexion. In China, people used to swallow ground pearls in order to maintain their skin tone. Today, many women use whitening creams – even though they contained harmful mercury until recently. In Japan, stories of fun-loving older women who don’t care about conventions have a long tradition. Author Tanabe Seiko’s books about such a woman are nationwide bestsellers. But so far, only very few people dare to follow suit. Maybe this will change soon. Finally, even in booming China, people still like to look to the USA when it comes to lifestyle trends. And when it comes to self-actualization after 40, North American women are simply unbeatable.
Hollywood stars show how it’s done – the rest follow suit: Motherhood at the end of 40, a complete new start at 55. The fact that women like to be helped by plastic surgeons in order to maintain a correspondingly youthful appearance at this pace of life is the other side of the coin. Even there, only four percent of the population actually goes under the knife. For many it is also enough to simply style very carefully. Above all, they attach great importance to a practiced application of makeup. African-American women also take imaginative care of their hair well into old age: Artistic hairstyles have always been considered coveted eye-catchers by many African peoples.
"I learned yoga as a child, it gave me balance and happiness. Today I know that it also makes me attractive. Because only those who feel good look good."
Just as plump hips as possible: curves as a beauty feature – even if this is unfortunately changing at the moment due to the many thin Western models in African media. In Latin America, too, people like things to be more lavish. Beauty is a fulltime job here – but it is done with great pleasure and often with friends, even after the 50th birthday. Birthday: manicure, pedicure, beautician and hairdresser appointment. "We don’t stop living when we get older", says Peruvian ethnologist Carmen Arellano Hofmann. "There are so many parties in our country where you appear dressed up. And then there is flirting!"
Chile’s Michelle Bachelet shows that Latinas over 50 can also make a career for themselves. She was recently elected her country’s first female president-at 54. Exactly at the age when you should really get going again.
"Beauty is what shines in us when we have love and kindness in our hearts."
The West as a role model?
Nina Degele, Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at the University of Freiburg, has been looking into another aspect of global beauty: the boom in cosmetic surgery. Especially in the West, women over 50 are conquering society and are perceived as attractive – also because of their age. On the other hand, there is the "Botox trend". How does it fit together? This has primarily to do with the age structure of society. It is true that women of this age are very self-confident today, especially because they are well educated and have played a decisive role in shaping society. Therefore, they must be paid more attention by the media and the economy, especially since they are a clientele with high purchasing power. But wherever there are far more older people than young people, youth is considered a rare commodity. And what’s rare is now coveted. Is this true for all cultures? Cosmetic surgery is booming worldwide. In many countries but rather for ethnic reasons. In Asia, for example, women are less likely to have surgery for wrinkles, preferring to have their eyes enlarged or their legs stretched to look more westernized. Why is it that the western beauty image is considered so attractive everywhere?? I suspect that this has to do with the economic success of the western societies. The is associated by people with the western look also thanks to advertising and media. And this is what is considered desirable.