Defining My Own Beauty Now That I’m Fifty

By Audrey van Petegem, Chief Editor

As I recently delved into all sorts of questions regarding oh… little things such as the dichotomy of  love & desire in my marriage and the discovery of seeing myself as a sensual being, the thought pattern inevitably led me to questioning my “beauty”.

Actually, what does “beauty” mean? It’s hard to discern, especially in our society, exactly what makes a person beautiful. The continuous assault of “perfect beauty” imagery wants us to believe one thing. Wiser outlets – and even dedicated organizations – tell us that beauty comes in all colors, shapes and sizes… And ages.

I’m 50 now (soon to be 51), and clearly, my thoughts about beauty has changed. Has my beauty really faded to the extent the advertisers told me it would?  Am I less valuable and relevant now that I have (darn it) visible lines and wrinkles and a little misplaced pudge? The consumer marketplace is certainly making me feel like I no longer exist…

These thoughts were even further provoked by Dove’s latest campaign, “Real Beauty Sketches”. I’m sure you’ve seen it. It has racked up nearly 30 million views since it went up a week ago. It’s obviously striking a chord!



I wonder how I would have described myself just last month if I had been part of that same experiment. Probably not as harshly as the younger women in the video, since one of the benefits of age is indeed wisdom.

Baby Boomer Beauty SurveyBut, it turns out that us “older” women are not feeling so bad about ourselves – despite all the hard work the advertising industry is putting in to make us feel inadequate in the beauty department. Indeed, BOOMbox Network recently completed a beauty survey on Baby Boomer women: ”How do women over the age of 45 REALLY feel about ‘beauty’ at their age”. More precisely, how do they feel about their own beauty and about the advertising/marketing of the beauty products that targets them?

The major findings:

  • For women over 50, hair is really, really important!
  • We feel more beautiful in midlife than when they did in their 20’s (That’s the magic of confidence that comes with age!)
  • We do NOT believe in beauty product claims (Can’t dupe us. Don’t even try)
  • We do NOT like the use of younger models or celebrities in advertising of products targeted to them (C’mon, the twenty-something selling me wrinkle cream. Really?)
  • We define beauty in completely different and unexpected terms (Our husbands, our girlfriends, a good night sleep are the types of things that make us feel beautiful)

So, us old gals are not doing so bad, huh? And we’re certainly not gullible. Age does have it’s advantages. It’s confirmed.

So you know, I’m not feeling like I’m fading at all. In fact, I’m more confident than ever about who I am (especially after reading François Roland’s “Being French!“). Yes, there are a few visible wrinkles, but these lines are well earned and are testimony to a life thus far well-lived. And as François Roland so eloquently states, “The tracery of wrinkles on your face creates and reflects the absolute uniqueness of who you are.” I know that the spark in my eyes and the mischievousness in my smile are alive and kicking, thankyouverymuch!

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