Photo via Laura Geller Beauty on Instagram
Paulina Porizkova is all about aging out loud on her Instagram feed and I’m grateful for it. The more midlife female faces on social media the better. And unlike some other celebrities (ahem Jennifer Lopez), her face actually shows normal signs of age.
But she still has a jaw-dropping supermodel’s body. Seriously, it’s incredible, look at her in this ad for Laura Geller Beauty.
So how do we process this as mortal midlifers? My own reaction to the ad was telling—it was a peek into my subconscious, and how my own exposure to the media’s portrayal of women’s bodies in my five-plus decades of life is constantly influencing my thinking, like it or not. I’m especially looking at you, ’80s media, with your aerobics mania and anorexia trend. Oh and you, too, 90s, with your heroin chic. And oh my god, you early 2000’s with those extreme low-rise jeans, I mean, come on.
Reacting to the Laura Geller ad, I posted on my Instagram stories a question with two possible answers: How does watching Porizkova in this ad make you feel? 1. Empowered? 2. Like a slacker?
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Indeed, what did I mean by slacker? Linda’s question made me recognize that my tendency to self-flagellate had reared its ugly head.
Truth be told, deep down, subconsciously really, I believe that being a slacker is the reason why I don’t look like a supermodel. Hah! As if my DNA is not dictating my 5’ 4″ frame and substantial thighs. As if I haven’t lived in a body with non-supermodel-like qualities my entire adult life—even when I was running marathons. I’ve run five marathons and still not as thin as a supermodel.
Even after so many years of trying and (I thought) learning not to beat myself up so much, my brain still thinks I’m basically lazy and that’s why I look this way.
The middle-aged brain, or any brain, really, doesn’t give an explanation for the reasons why it thinks things. It just thinks the things. That’s why intelligent, outspoken friends, and in my case, readers, (and therapists) are essential.
Here I am, publishing an online publication that purports to be feminist and pro-aging. Embrace it all, F the haters, and most of all, be comfortable in your skin.
But my brain fired none of those empowered-midlifer neurons. Instead, I lamented how much weight I’ve gained in the past few years, and how I’m such a slacker for not dieting and exercising enough to look like Paulina Porizkova.
I mean it’s just silly but here we are.
So let’s take a good look the Laura Geller “Let’s Get Old Together” campaign. The wonderful thing is that the brand devotes an entire page of its website to images and videos of an unretouched Porizkova discussing realistic aging. She has wrinkles and puffy eyes and a crepey neck and it’s so uncommon that it’s jarring.
For me and I’m guessing many of you, jarring in a good way.
Power to Paulina for allowing her face to age naturally. But maybe we should demand that she get an old, creaky, bumpy body?
Power to all the midlifers out there whose “power surges” don’t exactly provide a recharge (if you haven’t heard, some people call hot flashes power surges). Pushing past our insecurities (and recognizing where they come from) and supporting each other despite all the bullshit is where the real power comes from.
So thanks to Linda and Paulina and all the Mean readers and friends who help me stay sane while navigating midlife. I’m glad we had this chat.
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