This Woman's Response To Anti-Aging Advice Is A Powerful Must-Read
Women are so often inundated with warnings against aging — You must prevent wrinkles, cover gray hair, never look your age — that it’s easy to simply stop noticing them, to just accept that women shouldn’t get older. But Annick Robinson has had enough; the Montreal woman spoke out against anti-aging advice on Facebook recently after a run-in with a salesman who tried to sell her skin products to prevent the appearance of aging. Her response was perfect, and essentially boils down to “Hey, what the hell is wrong with a woman getting older, anyway?”
On April 9, Robinson wrote about an encounter at the Calgary airport with a salesman who coaxed her into a store by offering a free bar of soap. “This is basically how the conversation went,” she explained (though she admitted that the dialogue below “is not verbatim”).
Man: "your skin is so natural looking, you aren't wearing any make-up, right?"
Me: "Um, nooooo?"
Man: "Let me guess your age..." Proceeds to pull out a number 12 years younger than I am.
Me: "I look my age and that's ok actually."
Man: unsure how to handle that.. "let me show you our face serum, because if you aren't careful to maintain your skin now, these wrinkles on your face will get much deeper, by 45, creams won't help anymore."
Me: "what's wrong with a woman looking 40?"
The sales guy went on to point out Robinson’s supposed “flaws” and issue dire warnings about what would happen if she didn’t take action to prevent wrinkles. Robinson responded by explaining that whatever is going on with her skin is a natural result of getting older, and that bags under her eyes and laugh lines are reflections of good things in her life, like having a baby and, you know, laughing.
Man: "Well let's talk about the bags under your eyes, and smile lines, my eye cream could improve those in 15-minutes."
Me: "What's wrong with my eyes? I have a miracle baby at home and haven't slept in 2 years, so if I have bags I am grateful to have them, and my husband and I laugh a lot. Those are his fault. He loves how I look... I don't think I need your cream."
Man: (nervously) "They may be manageable now, but by 50, it's too late to correct sagging skin and deep wrinkles, unless you act now, only surgery can correct those."
Me: "what's wrong again with a woman aging? You know, my husband and I can't wait to grow old together, we talk about it all the time, how we'll be this funny wrinkled old couple. My husband is going to age too, we all are. It's kind of how life works."
Robinson finally left the situation by pointing out that getting older is something we are lucky to be able to do. She recounts saying, “I look fine now, and when I'm 45 I will look fine, and when I'm 50 I will look fine, because there is nothing wrong with a woman aging. Old age is a privilege denied to many, and I don't appreciate you marketing youth instead of your products, and denigrating aging women as a sales tactic. Thank you, but I don't want or need your cream.”
Since it was posted less than a week ago, Robinson’s story has gone viral, garnering more than 25,000 shares on Facebook and more than 1,000 comments. Robinson posted an update in which she emphasizes that her intention in her initial post was not to call out this single salesman. “I am sure [he] is very good at his job and following a script,” she wrote.
The problem isn’t one guy; rather it’s the premise that underlies this way of thinking in general, and the foundation upon which so much marketing toward women is based: The idea that women shouldn’t appear to age, that their worth depends beauty — and a very narrow definition of beauty at that. As Robinson writes, “Its not even about the salesman … It’s about a billion dollar industry that depends on women hating themselves.”
Robinson ends with a call to arms:
Let's start a movement peeps, let's end predatory marketing practices that sell self-loathing to women from cradle to grave. Women have more important things to do in 2016 than spend a single other minute worried about our wrinkles or the acceptability of our thighs.
Flip the script when you hear it. Every time. Until it loses its power. The next generation needs you to change the game.