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Matron & Crone

Growing Old

What is it about women and aging?   Why are most of the cosmetic ads for anti-aging serums, creams and rejuvenating ointments aimed at women?  Is it vanity or something more deep rooted?

In the past a woman's viability was compromised by aging.  If she was lucky enough to live through multiple childbirths to the age of fifty, her usefulness as a child bearer ended with menopause.  Her ability to care for herself without a husband was limited, as for centuries women had little or no rights to property, and were bound by social and cultural convention that may have prohibited employment outside the home, or even acquiring the basic skills necessary to survive.  Aged women who lived alone were marginalized  and sometimes even reviled as witches, as was the case in the latter half of the 17th century in Europe as well as the Americas.  Even into modern times, our fairy tales are populated with ugly old step mothers, and evil old queens.  For centuries a woman's looks were her currency to a better existence and aging was something to be feared.  It takes a long time to reverse years of bad press. 





In the contemporary world we have choices and freedoms not shared by our grandmothers.  We can live independently, earn a good living, and survive on our own.  But we still return to the mirror, and wish we could turn back the clock on aging.  Is there any room for an appreciation of beauty in aging? 




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