Why Women Should Ignore Society’s Messages About Aging

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By the time she hit her 40s, Wendy Euler — model, writer, podcaster, blogger, influencer — had her fill of all those societal messages women get about aging. “You are invisible.” “You’re past your peak.” “You expired.”

And that’s how she created the ““Goodbye Crop Top” Website (later expanding to a podcast and his popular @goodbyecroptop instagram) to encourage older women to feel good about themselves.

“There was a profound absence of material regarding positive aging,” she says. “Nobody seemed to understand the fact that we weren’t all ready for sensible shoes, loose clothes and mean hairstyles. We don’t lose our sense of style after 40. In fact, I think that’s the best time to tap into it, once we really know – and finally – ourselves.

Now 54 and a mother of three, she calls herself a “pro-aging” advocate who grew tired of the derogatory message about aging women and decided to offer a positive and empowering alternative to women of all ages.

“I believe I have a responsibility to give young women something to look forward to instead of something to dread,” she says. “If you’re going to be here on this planet, embrace it.” As she states in one of her podcasts, “Fifty isn’t the new 40. Fifty is the new 50, and that’s the point.”

The Washington Post recently spoke to Euler about women and aging. His answers have been edited for more space and clarity.

Q: So how did this all start?

A: I saw women in their 40s and 50s thinking “I don’t want to look my age” and trying to look like they were in their 30s. It’s toxic. It is not humanly possible and it is psychologically damaging. At the same time, they dealt with everything that happens when you get older: menopause, death and illness, the loss of friends and family, the empty nest, divorce. I felt like there was this huge chasm in the middle where no one was saying, ‘This is the best time of my life’, that’s how I felt.

Q: Have you ever had a midlife crisis?

A: I did it. I had to make difficult choices. I came out of a bad marriage. I ended toxic relationships. But then I started hanging out with people I felt good with, learned from, and who were mostly my age. They validated who I was, and I validated them. I was with women who were comfortable with themselves at this stage of their life. I felt like I was finally getting rid of the insecurities I felt in my 20s and 30s.

At any age, healthy eating can extend your life

Q: But, despite everything, the negative media messages addressed to aging women continue to annoy you?

A: The patriarchy preys on women, selling them things to prevent aging, like anti-aging creams, anti-aging supplements. I hate those words “anti-aging”. I am anti-aging. The only alternative to aging is to be in a box or an urn. There is psychological manipulation going on with big business. It’s about making money. What they sell will never make you look younger – and you shouldn’t worry about that.

Q: So, these feelings pushed you to launch your website?

A: Yes. One day I went hiking in the mountains with a friend my age and we were talking about that kind of stuff. She said, “Wendy, you gotta talk about it [publicly]. Not all middle-aged women feel as good about aging as you do. I was hungry for this content and searched everywhere. So I decided to combine writing and styling and post content that would resonate with other women. And by “style”, I don’t mean fashion. Fashion is a business. Style is something that comes from within.

Q: Describe some of the messages that you think can help women feel better about themselves as they age.

A: One thing I tell them is to go back to basics. A woman who reaches the boiling point where she feels terrible and thinks “I’m going to buy that $500 face cream or that $1,000 sweater because it will do me good” must realize that nothing in a bottle or an item of clothing will only make you feel better. Instead, ask yourself: do you drink water? Move your body? Practice something spiritual? Are you eating well? First, get back to basics. Then, if the cream makes you feel good, put it on.

Plus, the company you keep is everything. It’s not about looks, it’s about feeling. What’s important is not what you put on your face, but what goes into your ears and eyes, and how you feed yourself with everything in between: what you read, hear, eat – whatever Between.

A: I really believe in laughing and having fun. I often ask women: what have you been most amused about lately? When was the last time you laughed until you hurt? And they are puzzled. I recently rediscovered laughter. I will never let go of him again. I believe that for most things it is a panacea.

Q: What kind of responses do you get from women who read your blog or listen to your podcast?

A: You should read them. I cry every day. I received a direct message on Instagram from a woman who said she felt so bad about getting old – she’s 52 – that she was in bed for eight weeks. She never got out of bed. But then she wrote, “Today I got out of bed and got dressed. You’re the reason I got out of bed. It’s the reason I do what I do.

Q: You look great, but probably not everyone who follows you looks so good. Some women might think it’s easy for you to give advice regarding your appearance – have you ever figured that out? How do you respond?

A: I used to get that much more, but now those comments are rare. I think I have now gained people’s trust. I am a model. I work hard to stay in shape. But there’s no guarantee I’ll look like this in 20 years. I won’t stop feeling good about myself no matter what I look like at 75. I will always try to be the best version of myself possible. I am a real person. I am not a famous person. I don’t have a team of people around me to make me look good. I am who I am.

She was ambushed by a searing pain in her leg that struck without warning

Q: So do you dye your hair? And what about cosmetic surgery? Have you had any?

A: I am a unicorn here. I don’t have a single gray hair. I think you always have to understand the why of cosmetic fixes. If the goal is to look 30 years old (at 50), that will never happen and the result could be frightening (not to mention psychologically damaging, I mean). If the goal is to look bright and rested and let’s just say “good for his age”. I say go ahead… and keep your secrets to yourself. I’ve definitely tried Botox…but I love the lines on my forehead. My 8 year old son has them, so it seems abnormal that I don’t have them at 54 years old.

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