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Beauty and Age: An invitation

This blog is a provocation. It is an invitation to, perhaps, imagine a different narrative about appearance and beauty…….not one that emphasizes consumerism or declares that everyone is beautiful or that attention to, or a focus on, appearance is trivial and beauty work is oppressive – an aspect of a patriarchal society. Of course, beauty work exists within the norms of a patriarchal society, along with a consumerist edict, negatively impact notions of appearance and beauty, but that is only a partial telling of the story of human appearance. I am certainly not the first person to put forth this narrative – there are notable exceptions – Ribeiro, Hollows, Brand, Cahill, Craig, Gibson, Peiss.

Faces are historical and cultural documents. How we chose to groom, style, make-up, or the many other ways we present ourselves through our appearance signals to the world who we are and how we would like to be seen. There is the larger context of culture and history. Taking it one step further, these choices are shaped by race, ethnicity, class, taste, and, of course, age, among other influences. Whether it is a bob or a comb-over, “tasteful” make-up application or “natural” bare skin,

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Age, Appearance, and Beauty – The Face in the Mirror

My latest book, Baby Boomers, Age and Beauty begins with this anecdote:

My dinner companion looked up from her plate and questioned why I was researching and writing a book on ageing and beauty. “I’m just ageing. I don’t think much about it,” she said in a challenging tone. She went on to declare that she never thought about her appearance and rarely looked in the mirror….she preferred to be look and age ‘naturally.’

I suspect that my dinner companion was unaware

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