Some events are inevitable. Taxes, wrinkles, and death, for example, come for everyone in the end. Yet some people (and brands) still do their very best to avoid the unavoidable, especially when it comes to the physical effects of aging. It’s young forever or bust!
The Royal Society for Public Health, Vision, Voice and Practice (RSPH) in Great Britain wants to change that. The group has proclaimed the term ‘anti-aging’ outdated and unhelpful, and has called on retailers to ditch the ageist language in their marketing.
“The narrative pushed by ‘anti-aging’ terminology and products is one that pervades society and has relevance to us all,” states the report. “All human beings — at all stages of life — are aging in their own way, as a natural consequence of being alive. Hence, the explicit presumption that aging is something undesirable and to be battled at every turn is as nonsensical as it is dangerous.”
The call to action came within a research report titled ‘How attitudes to aging affect our health and wellbeing,’ which highlighted the unhealthy pressure to maintain a youthful look. The study found that approximately 49 percent of women and 23 percent of men feel pressured to maintain a youthful appearance.
In addition to the report’s proposed ban on the term ‘anti-aging’ in the beauty industry, the document includes other recommended actions meant to change the way we view aging, such as: addressing positive aging in schools; combining services such as nurseries, youth clubs and care homes in the same location; government age-diversity training; and the promotion of age diversity in workplaces.
Of course, a sanction like this from a governing body is a good start, but will it trickle down?
Lifestyle magazine Allure has already announced a departure from the language — their editorial team put a full stop to their use of the term ‘anti-aging’ back in 2017.
“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 antifungal spray,” the magazine article reads.
With heavy-hitting women’s magazines and organizations like RSPH calling out the problem, this could be the beginning of the end of the term ‘anti-aging’ and the start of an entirely new conversation around the beauty of growing old.