Charlize Theron, on the latest cover of W Magazine, made some strong statements about women and aging. During the interview, Theron discussed that she used to be judgmental towards aging women while she was in her younger years. She ended the interview stating, “We can celebrate every age” and women need to “calm down” about this issue (Sieczkowski, 2015). Further, as the interview progressed, Theron discussed her current role as a mother to a three year old little boy and how this has affected her view of aging and beauty. She encouraged women “not to worry” and “don’t be terrified of getting older.” She also discussed that as she herself began aging, her own views began evolving and changing (Sieczkowski, 2015).
There are unique challenges to today’s Millennial generation women, who are fast-paced, socially driven, and impacted deeply by social media’s drive for relationships, social integration, beautiful pictures, and to always keep up with appearances and share their lifestyle, whatever that may be. Theron’s advice to slow down, calm down, and “not to worry” about what others may think is relevant when it comes to the topic of aging from a psychological perspective for women.
It comes down to what do women believe about themselves, and what do they see as beautiful? Women who see themselves as beautiful tend to have a higher sense of self-worth, self-esteem, and higher levels of happiness and positive emotions. These are important to note when determining how today’s women view themselves, beauty, and aging. Theron mentions celebrating every age, which implies that beauty can look differently at each age.
For example, women may feel physically at their personal best during their twenties. They may feel confident in celebrating their bodies, skin, and hair due to their age. But the thirties can bring an entirely new perspective as women take on new roles of motherhood, career, and other roles that have taken time investments (and tolls on the body, and subsequently, body image). The forties will bring more challenges, which can associate with life changes, career enhancement or changes, divorce, marriage, children, etc. Each decade will add new challenges, as well as new ways to view the challenge as a celebration.
Another psychological impact of a woman’s view of herself includes confidence or lack thereof. If a woman believes she was gorgeous at 20, beautiful at 30, and average at 40, her confidence is beginning to devolve and weaken. This could impact her at every level of her being: including emotionally, psychologically, physically, and spiritually. From there, the decrease in the level of confidence can impact her personal life, including her social life, her career, her relationship with her significant other, her children, etc. A woman who is aging and who is feeling sad about the experience rather than celebrating the process will be affected on multi-faceted levels that could have serious impact on her psychological health.
So, what can be done to improve psychological well-being in the area of women’s beauty and aging? Charlize Theron had it right when she suggested celebrating every age. Find personal milestones that are important to you specifically, and celebrate them. Create time for yourself to do what makes you feel beautiful. Invest your time and money in what makes you feel beautiful. If a hobby such as music, writing, or photography increases your positive self-esteem and sense of beauty, invest in it. If getting your nails done, or makeup, or changing your hairstyle makes you feel beautiful, then do it. If you feel the opposite and think those things are tiresome and cumbersome, then don’t do it. If spending time one-on-one with your partner or child makes you feel important (and beautiful), then do it. Take some time to journal about what stages of life you have been through, and what the unique challenges were to those stages. Think about what stage you are in now, and how you can take care of yourself in a positive way. All of these strategies will work to improve your psychological health, celebrate the aging process, and ultimately, celebrate womanhood.
Each new stage brings new challenges, but also new celebrations. And each age can be absolutely beautiful.
Sieczkowski, C. (2015, April 20). Charlize Theron On Aging: '[Women] Start to Feel Like We're Cut Flowers' The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 20, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/20/charlize-theron-aging-w-magazine_n_7102216.html?utm_hp_ref=entertainment&ir=Entertainment