When an article on this site about ways to dress to cover crepey cleavage was picked up on twitter, one reader, Moy, was quick to respond- and I asked her to share her thoughts on the topic to promote discussion –and healthy debate!
Women over 50: your wrinkly upper arms and crepe-y cleavages are disgusting. You should be ashamed to let anyone see them. It’s your duty to cover them up.
Offensive? Absolutely. This is the unspoken notion behind the apparent consensus that women over a certain age should conceal the features that society has decreed are no longer beautiful.
I get annoyed with articles which attempt to help us feel better about ourselves by advising us how to dress to hide our supposed flappy, wrinkly bits. While I will defend every woman’s right to dress in any way that makes her feel fantastic, I increasingly find myself questioning the thinking behind this ‘advice’.
I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my 50 years, so when it comes to flappy and wrinkly I know what I’m talking about. I spent most of those years hating my flab and…yes…covering it up. Now, at a healthy weight, I’m expected to spend the rest of my life hating and covering up the crepe? No thank you.
Challenging society’s preconceptions of beauty
I’d rather challenge society’s preconceptions about what is or isn’t beautiful or acceptable. How can we agree to call bits of ourselves vile, self-hating names such as ‘bingo wings’? Why should we let ourselves be brainwashed into believing that only pert is pretty? How dare anyone make us feel shame about the natural process of aging?!
When the media holds up women like the gorgeous Helen Mirren as role models, the implication is that the reason she’s gorgeous is that she looks younger than her years… Again, that unspoken, unchallenged assumption that youth = beauty. The kind of knee-jerk non-thinking that declares that Madonna should retire her leotard.
My mother died aged 41 and so was denied the privilege of wrinkles and flappy bits. I have that privilege, so when I turned 50 last summer I decided that I’d had enough of being ashamed of my body. I’ll decide for myself how to dress to feel fab.
I’m celebrating my crepe!
Photo credit: Ambro