MORE magazine editor-in-chief Lesley Jane Seymour writes a poignant letter from the editor in the May issue.
Seymour says that many readers write the magazine continually complaining that MORE seems to run boatloads of articles about embracing your age, whatever it is, coming to terms with it and making peace, yet just a few pages later insists on teaching you how to hide your age spots, disguise wrinkles, and look ten years younger.
So which is it MORE? Embrace your age or fight like hell against it?
It’s an age-old conflict society has burdened women with, and women’s magazines (and all media) have become the catalyst in which to carry the conflicted message. Go ahead and age gracefully all the while railing against the stamp of time that lines your face.
I’m not sure it was Seymour’s brilliance or ignorance in admitting that yes, there’s a conflict and MORE perpetuates it monthly. Not only in the pages of that magazine of course, since a similar message saturates all the women’s mags and much of the television and movie media.
Seymour theorizes that most of us only have gotten about halfway to acceptance where age is concerned (and I would venture to say those are the especially enlightened ones). In other words, we may embrace the wisdom, the freedoms and the maturity that age brings, but we haven’t quite come to terms with crow’s feet and wrinkles. Hence the conflicted message. One story on embracing all the wisdom and inner strength hitting 30, 40, 50 or beyond brings–yet just a few articles away the advice screams how to spend enormous amounts of cash on creams and tinctures, salves and serums that promise they’ve bottled and jarred the fountain of youth.
But here’s where Seymour gets off track. She proposes we just embrace the conflict, realize that everything’s grey (no age pun intended) and there’s no black or white when it comes to being conflicted about aging. You can and should be conflicted about it as everyone else and the media will just continue to confuse you further with their mixed messaging. In fact, Seymour thrills to find an age spot eraser but doesn’t really want to eliminate all her eye crinkles, since they record laughter.
And that’s where I throw up the bullshit flag. Looking better doesn’t necessarily have to mean looking younger. I don’t want brown spots on my face as much as the next person. So sure, give me a brown spot corrector that works. I don’t particularly think varicose veins look great either, so please do tell me what’s the latest in treatment, but don’t couch it all in rhetoric that I will look younger. Continue with articles on becoming the age you are and loving it, MORE, but quit with the lessons that you’re not good enough unless you do look younger.
Then there’s no conflict. No mixed messages. Ain’t that something we could embrace?
Let me know what you think.