Sharon Stone has been in the media lately, from Shape magazine to an interview on Oprah Prime to Huffington Post coverage of both, saying she doesn’t want to be an ageless beauty, that ageless beauty doesn’t exist.
She then goes on to explain: “We have to have internal health and internal wellness, . . . And I think that’s physical health, mental health, spiritual health. I think it’s a sense of ethics. It’s everything. If you want to keep yourself together, it’s all things.”
In other words, she describes many of the key components of ageless beauty, a rich, multifaceted holistic beauty that embraces the whole woman across the life span.
At a glance, my disagreement about ageless beauty may seem to be a minor issue of how we define terms, because I think we’re on the same page as far as what really matters about who we are as post-50 women. But when it comes to beauty, how we define terms is at the crux of the issue.
Who owns the term beauty is at the crux of the issue.
For far too long, beauty has been defined by society, not by women themselves. Even in standing up against traditional societal expectations, Sharon Stone is implicitly accepting the definition of beauty as solely focused on a woman’s appearance.
Women of all ages struggle with self-image and body image, largely because of the unattainable standard we see held before us in the media. But too often the choices we’re given are either to try to live up to this standard or to reject it wholesale. But in reality, rejecting the desire to feel beautiful is not as easy as it may seem, so women are caught between two impossibilities and often left feeling unable to attain either.
Accepting or rejecting superficial notions of beauty only legitimizes the superficial definition in the first place. Either choice limits us and who we can be.
I propose that we go further and redefine what beauty really means, a beauty that is as ageless as the core of who we are, that embraces our creativity, our intelligence, our hard-earned wisdom, and so much more—and how these manifest on the inside and out.
Instead of choosing between two negative options, I propose we choose the positive, truly empowering third option of creating and being vocal about the beauty we want to see modeled around us, the beauty we simultaneously aspire to and appreciate as already existing and evolving within us with each passing year.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel beautiful. We don’t need to add that to our already long list of ways we unnecessarily berate ourselves. What’s wrong is how we define what beautiful is.
We can take back beauty. We can redefine it for ourselves and for generations of women to come. We can make beauty ageless.
Featured image by Lisa E.