I'm showing them protest the trend to purge the expression off a mature face by immobilizing, re-configuring and erasing the signs of age. Skin care is wise, but a line on the face isn't an enemy. Lived-in faces, with their character and integrity, are more beautiful than the frozen, artificially unlined kind.
Anne Carson, poet and classicist, age 60. Photo by by Einar Falur Ingólfsson, published in The New Yorker.
Patti Smith, singer, on her 63d birthday, December 2009
Diane von Furstenberg designer, age 64
"I know that a lot of people look at me and think, 'Why doesn't she do something to that face?' But I made a decision. I do yoga and I hike, but I won't do Botox. I know if I start doing things I will get insecure. You wear your own face. It is a little bit of your history, a little bit of who you are."
Louise Bourgeois, artist, (1911-2010) in an undated photo, probably in her 70s
Anna Deavere Smith, playwright and actor, age 60
PD James, writer, on her 90th birthday
“You can try to hold back time, but you can’t do anything about your hands,” she says. “Compare them, my dear. An old hand and a young one. There’s nothing you can do about it.”
Some women fear age discrimination in the workplace, so de-wrinkle in defense. But I don't think a crow's foot is the culprit. If an employer is not going to regard your thirty-plus years of experience as an asset, do you really to spend your work life in his or her service?
Anita, 53, told me that "55 year old men want 35 year old women". A regular surgery and filler client, her face had become empty as jeweler's window on Sunday. "A little of my soul left in those syringes", she said. She phoned the other week to say, "Enough. Whoever he may be, he takes me as I am."
The other comment I hear from wrinklectomy fans is, "I'm taking care of myself". Huge industries depend on convincing us that "care" equates to spending yourself out of your creases. Maybe there's some sense in it at 40, when the clock can be nudged back about five minutes, but decades on, the "care" looks sad and desperate.
The attention might be better given to bone density, strength or balance. Though I have no prescriptive limits, my inclination is to revere, not erase, the evidence of life well-lived.