Stepping up and challenging ‘anti-aging’

Editor’s Note: This guest post by contributor Marc Blesoff originally appeared on, where he is a columnist. It is republished here with his permission.

Extra!!  Extra!!  Read all about it! — The Who, “Tommy”

I’d never even heard of Allure magazine. It is a leading, sophisticated advertising package for cosmetics, fashion, perfume, hair, etc. Flipping through the pages, one notices Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Lancome, Neutrogena, L’Oreal, and all the heavy hitters in the amazing, billion-dollar beauty industry.

I was in CVS, wearing beat-up sandals, dirty cut-offs and a stained T-shirt, unshaven, buying cough syrup. I saw the magazine cover at the checkout. I bought the magazine — not for hair-styling tips or shampoo recommendations or Botox ads. Right there in CVS the cover screamed out the words “The end of anti-AGING, our call to the industry.”

This is like Car and Driver magazine promoting only green sustainable energy. Or the AMA Journal supporting Medicare-for-All. Or the NRA newsletter agreeing that 150-round clips and silencers sold at 7-11 is not healthy for our communities.

About 30 pages inside this very slick magazine I found the statement written by Michelle Lee, editor in chief: “Changing the way we think about aging starts with changing the way we talk about aging. With that in mind, and starting with this issue, we are making a resolution to stop using the term ‘anti-aging.’ Whether we know it or not, we’re subtly reinforcing the message that aging is a condition we need to battle — think anti-anxiety meds, antivirus software, or anti-fungal spray.”

I ask: What is “anti-aging” anyway? Pro-death?

I’ve written here previously about what Dr. Bill Thomas terms “the tyranny of still.” When referring to olders, the comment “Oh my, you still look so good” or “look at you, still sharp as a tack” or how about when we talk down to olders or raise our volume to help them understand or call them “honey” or “sweetie.”

Michelle Lee writes, “Repeat after me: Growing older is a wonderful thing because it means that we get a chance, every day, to live a full, happy life. Language matters.”

She closes her statement with, “Major props to those who have already taken steps, and, to the rest of the beauty industry, we’re calling on you now: We know it’s not easy to change packaging and marketing overnight. But together we can start to change the conversation and celebrate the beauty in all ages.”

Kudos to Michelle Lee and Allure.

On another note, I recently read a terrific article by Elizabeth White titled, “Breaking the Reframe on Aging“.  One of White’s main points is that too many positive-aging advocates have yet to embrace affordability and access as core principles.

She queries, “Are we really reframing aging when so much of the focus is on the traits of the boomers at the top of the food chain with the resources and means to take care of themselves? Those who are still high-school skinny, free from joint pain, working easily in cool encore careers. What’s the reframe for the approximately 40 million boomers trying to scrape together the finances to survive the next 25 years?”

About Marc Blesoff 19 Articles
After thirty plus years as a criminal defense attorney, Marc has been facilitating Wise Aging and Conscious Aging Workshops. He is married forty-five years, and has three children and one grandchild. He is a founding member of Courageus and is currently the chairperson of the Oak Park, IL Aging-In-Place Commission.

1 Comment

  1. Love the message! Words create perspective and a visual; words having meaning. It ain’t our Bubbe’s world and as Boomers we can help change the narrative and I can still wear short skirts!!

What are your thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.