youth

Fetishizing youth sucks for young people too

“Why do they even sell this stuff I mean what’s wrong with looking old?”

Last night one of the 23232897 adverts for an anti-ageing cream appered on TV and I posed the question out loud to my Dad and my friend.

“It’s health Jasmin…it’s good that they want people to look after themselves, what with pollutants in the air”. But that’s like saying the Western media’s obsession with massive boobs is to ensure the babies of the nation are well fed. Hardly anything seems to actually be about health, it’s aesthetics.

“it’s not about pollutants though…that’s not why they’re selling it. It’s about youth and wanting to look young and why is everyone so obsessed with it? Like when people get Botox”

“I think there’s a bit of a difference between moisturiser and Botox” my friend interjected. I muttered something about the bigger picture and shut up.

I thought about why I hated this obsession with youth, despite being young myself.

For the past few months I’ve been frustrated with the fact that after nearly 19 years of existence my “adult face” wasn’t quite…well, adult yet. Because you’re meant to look young aren’t you?

But i felt the wrong type of young. There was being a hot-young-thing, all toned flesh and glossy,parted lips, and the type of young where you get ID’d for a 15 film despite being a university student. I fall into the latter.

I thought a bit more and I noticed the depressing connection between being a “hot young thing” and being a bit like a stereotypical little girl.

Baby voices, puppy dog eyes, pouting, sharp mood changes between sulking and delighted, none of that’s seen as odd in a woman up to an arbitrary age because for some reason we’re thought to believe it’s cute and endearing and a load of other things. Of course most people don’t do this, but if you do you’re viewed as that bit more endearing by those particular type of individuals who just want someone to “look after”, to exert some sort of hold over. Imagine if men were encouraged to simper, how odd that would be. So why should women?

It creeped me out to say the least. I thought about how women are meant to be completely hairless like eggs (what an unsexy similie, see not all things hairless are sexy!) like how you are when your in primary school before puberty hits you and changes you into an adult. How women of all ages get their hoo-hah waxed to replicate the one you had as an eight year old. I believe in choice. You can talk and act and groom as you want. But should you really be doing things just to seem appealing rather than as something you want to do for yourself?

I thought about the way women are infantalised in general. How teddies and hearts and anything fuzzy and cute was entirely appropriate. Yesterday was “Steak and BJ Day”. I saw a tweet that summed up most stupid gender stereotypes. Along the lines of “Valentine’s day was all about chocolate and flowers so this is a Valentine’s Day for men”. Women are simple cutesy creatures, but at the same time should be sexually available and skilled in the kitchen. Talk about mixed messages. Imagine if this kind of rubbish spanned genders. There’d be an outcry.

There are so many creepy contradictions, juxtapoistions, and just things that seem to unfairly come into being a woman. I’ve decided to opt out of this weird ideal and stop chasing something that isn’t really a tangible thing, more an oppressive idea that’s trickled down to us all as the norm. We’re smart and sharp and funny and I can’t think of a single reason why it’s worth acting otherwise.