While women are always criticised for failing to accept ageing gracefully, the attitude of people around them doesn’t make the task any easier. Singer Pink recently hit out at a troll who critiqued her for looking old.

Pink went on to say that growing old in fact was a blessing, and women on social media couldn’t agree more.

It is ironic that while people love joking about how testy women become at the mere mention of age and wrinkles, it is not beyond them to criticise women for the same. There is a reason why most women start to panic as they leave their twenties. The world around them suddenly becomes unkind and ageist.

Women have forever been burdened with social expectations to look youthful and presentable.

But with times, this obsession over looking young has precipitated in the minds of millions of women, who consider ageing as an omen. Women are afraid of growing old. Their confidence takes a huge hit when people start commenting on how old they look. Most women feel their presence disintegrating in the society, once they lose their youthful looks. This feeling of becoming irrelevant after a certain age stems from how people treat ageing women.

Age may be just a number but physical appearance is as inseparable part of social identity. So if they look old, people will make them feel old. In recent times, anti-ageing treatments and procedures have given those who can afford, a way to bypass wrinkles and saggy skin. And, in turn further amplified the expectations as to how women should age.

Sadly, women face age shaming as much from each other as they do from men.

A smooth, supple skin, albeit artificial, is a matter of pride. However, those who choose to embrace their greys and wrinkles are shamed relentlessly. How are we supposed to expect men to empathise with us, when ageism is not beyond us women? Youthful looks are a bone of contention among women in the same age group. In fact, I know women who resort to age shaming out of sheer insecurity. They forget that there is more to life than fretting over looking young.

As some women on social media pointed out, not all women are lucky enough to grow old. By rejecting ageing, we are rejecting nature’s way of telling us to value our lives. Wrinkles, crow lines and grey hair are battle scars from the arena of life. They signify years spent under the sun studying, working, raising a family, following a passion and growing as a human being. Why should we be ashamed of them? It is the perception which makes someone ugly or beautiful. So, if people fail to see the life which led to those wrinkles, then they are at fault. Only those who accept their age know how small and precious life is.

Also Read : Young Women Are More Left Wing Than Men, Study Reveals

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own

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