“My face is less wrinkled. Even as I was slowly evacuating the sources of stress in my life, the vertical slit between my eyebrows spontaneously filled after I was thirty-five. In the winter months, the person asking for my date of birth at government offices looks at my face once more as if he did not believe the information I gave. However, in the summer, nobody doubts my word. Because the thin skin of my neck gives a clue of my age. But I am not concerned about ironing my neck. All I do is wet it every morning while washing my face and apply a few drops of olive oil during the day. I did not need any plastic surgery for my face, and I don’t think I will. I don’t see my face as a bug to fix, my body as a broken part to fix. It took me a long time to learn to love myself. My presence on earth is not a flaw. What I said does not mean that I quit myself. I look at my body as if taking care of a modest garden, which I love to spend time in. »
Pelin’s (45) words give clues about how women met the pressure of rejuvenation they were exposed to in the first quarter of the millennium. Thirty-year-old women from different cultures in different parts of the world question the struggle to stay young. The numbers show that the number of people who prefer aesthetic intervention is increasing. However, the news published points out that the number of people who resort to natural methods is increasing and that the only reason for this choice is not economic. Interviews, essays, blogs, and social media posts reveal that women want to accept themselves as they are and be accepted as such.
The situation is also the subject of academic research in recent years. Some studies emphasize that the “shocking” image reflected from the mirror is actually a reflection of the social view. Some researchers remind for historical reasons that the social value of women is not evaluated independently of their body and appearance: The role of women is limited to giving birth, raising children and meeting the sexual needs of men. Indeed, a study conducted in Sweden reveals that this role remains valid: “Outlook matters” for 82% of women. This rate is sixty percent for men.
However, women oppose the necessity of looking young, even if appearance is important. The words of American actress Cameron Diaz, who is 47 years old today, are just one of the catchy oppositions: “If we don’t look like 25 in our life, we consider it a failure.” “I don’t want to look like I was 25,” she smiles with a youth photograph in her hand. 
Seda (41) is also one of the women who are satisfied with her appearance today while looking at youth photographs: «Since the # 20 years challenge started, I have been mixing my albums to participate. When I look at my 20s, I see that my eyes are shining and there is a liveliness on my face. My cheeks are plump, my skin is spotless, shiny and pink as if wearing makeup. # 20yrschallenge got me thinking a lot about aging. Would I like to go back to my state of affairs? I think not. My mature face looks more ‘seated’ and I think it’s nicer and even sexy. I feel more feminine spiritually. Feeling feminine makes me feel more beautiful. My general mood and attitude seems better to me now. Fresh skin is beautiful, but this state of mind reflects my life experience. I am happy with this state of affairs. I use makeup if I need it, it’s that simple.
Some of the women who question their efforts to stay young and rejuvenate turn to aesthetic interventions. Statistics reveal that surgical and non-surgical aesthetic interventions have increased during the pandemic period. According to the figures announced in Germany, 90% of those who apply for aesthetic intervention are women. However, these surgical and non-surgical applications do not put an end to aging and do not eliminate the question marks in the minds. Filiz (54), who sees aesthetics as a last resort, expresses her mood as follows: “It took me a long time to accept aging. My chin is sagging, I look very pale without makeup, my legs are full of cellulite. My belly is no longer recuperating. Wrinkles around the eyes make me look older. I tried all kinds of cosmetics. After a while, nothing becomes enough. I massage my face with face roller and do facial yoga. It has recovered in general, but I cannot prevent the jowl from sagging. I am thinking of having aesthetics, but I do not want to look like aesthetic. I have mixed feelings. »
Yelda (42) is one of the women with mixed feelings. «I recently had my first botox. They said ‘you are late’. After I had it done, the aging parts of my face started to sting more. My eyelids are low, my cheeks are drooping. They said, ‘We’ll collect them all,’ but my wife said, ‘Then where will my wife go?’ I was also confused after he posed a question. I have to be patient for a while for the result, but my wife and children say that my facial expression has changed. I liked it even though there was an extra swelling in the first days. They say I look more strikingly. I hope I can continue without delay. Still, I’m a little confused. In addition to feeling like I betrayed myself, it was good to do something for myself. Or if it is fashionable, I do not know. »
The tidal experiences of Gülnur (38) show that it is not only social acceptances that shape women’s perception of beauty. Her upbringing, the way she is loved with expressions referring to beauty and ugliness are also effective in finding herself beautiful or ugly: “My aunt and my mother always loved me as ‘ugly’ when I was little. One day, when I was 14-15 years old, they said ‘We said it was ugly so that the evil eye would not touch it’. At that time I didn’t quite understand what this meant for me. When I am a grown woman, getting beautiful has become a struggle for me. Whatever I did was not enough for me. One day, while I was having my eyebrows removed at the hairdresser without make-up, a woman with familiar faces said, “How beautiful you are without make-up!” said. ‘It’s like your cheekbones had fillers. Your original hair color is baby blonde, why do you get dyed on it again? Your lips are already candy pink, even if you apply gloss, it looks like lipstick. Why do you paint it red? ‘ he listed a lot of sentences. As he spoke non-stop, lightning started flashing in my mind. That girl called the ‘ugly girl’ was still in me. I had a botox appointment the next day. I had an awareness that day, but that was not enough. I asked myself, ‘What if I don’t go on a date?’ I asked, but it was too late now. It has always been very difficult for me to love myself as I am. Getting old is still a nightmare. I will do whatever is necessary because as a woman who does not feel beautiful, I do not want to wrinkle and sag on her. Continue as long as I can afford it … »
Although aesthetic interventions require a certain economic standard, it is not decisive in applying this method. The point of view of Nesrin (39), who emphasizes the lifestyle, summarizes the reasons:
«I think the aesthetic issue is a part of the imposition of the social environment. If the environment you are in expects aesthetics from you as if it fits a fashion, if it turns up when you are not within certain standards, you should have your cheeks fillers due to social status, at least ‘you should not reach this age and still walk around with sagging cheeks’. ‘Possible, but not!’ it is a form of contempt to be called. To be honest, I am part of a highly financial environment, but I do not want to deal with my face. I eat healthy for my body and do yoga and pilates. I am happy with my business life, social life and family life. I use makeup where necessary, I dress as much as necessary. My face is getting old, but I don’t want to spend time or money as long as it doesn’t become too irritating. I only dye my hair because I am not ready to see myself in white yet. Maybe I’ll quit one day, but not yet. Everything is beautiful in its natural flow. »
The words of Derya (28), who said that her aesthetic surgeries started with her nose at the age of 17, are proof that the pressure to stay young is actually not in the forties, but much earlier: “I have been using anti-aging products for a long time. I have already started botox. ‘Isn’t it too early?’ I was subjected to allusions and questions. I think I have the right to get something done wherever I am not satisfied. If they make me unhappy when the lines start to form, it’s not early.
One of the prominent examples of women who are not against aesthetic interventions but do not need to apply is the former presenter Defne Samyeli. Samyeli, 48, says that she does not need aesthetics because she preferred to do facial yoga years ago.
Every time they meet, your friends say, “What did you do to your face?” Merve (37), asked Merve (37), explains that she had a hard time convincing them that she did not have Botox: “I do not smoke. I do not wear makeup. Since I do yoga regularly, my stress is less than them. Since I reduce stress, I eat a balanced diet. I do what I love. I am with the person I love. I don’t spend time with people who are not good for me. I don’t watch stupid TV series. I’m doing what I feel like, not what I should. I do not rub anything that I have not eaten in my face. I think I’m a little bored with them thinking that every time I get botox done but I don’t tell them. It is not the years that actually age people, but how they live. I have a few lines that get clear, but I’m not bothered.
The “disturbingness” of your age and what it brings depends on the point of view. For example, what makes Hale (48) think about her health rather than how she looks: “My biggest issue with getting old is that I feel more tired now. I have no old energy. I get tired more quickly in things that require physical strength. This part concerns me the most. I don’t have many complaints about my face because I am slightly overweight which keeps my face plump. However, I am not very satisfied with my body. My knees hurt and my mom gives me a lot of insight into what kind of woman I will be in the future. I guess I don’t want to be like him. Being afraid of aging means being afraid of being like my mother for me. So I might want to get fit and look younger. However, I do not have the time and opportunity to devote to this. I guess I have to create these, or I’ll be like my mother. ”
As the first quarter of the millennium ends, women question the pressure to stay young. While the statistics show that aesthetic interventions are not slowing down, a growing number of women are saying out loud that they want to live, acknowledging their age and what it brings. All they want is to age well by feeling good without going into rejuvenation effort. Her stories and her transfers bring to mind a quote from the famous fashion designer Coco Chanel: “No one is young after the age of forty, but they can be irresistible at any age.”
News: Perihan Özcan Chocardelle – [email protected]
Senem Tahmaz – [email protected]
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