Why can't women age naturally?

Published 4.18.2016
I have a head of graying hair. I've been going grey since my second child was stillborn at 39 weeks when I was 32. By age 40, women were stopping me at the mall to ask me what I did for my skin, because they assumed that I was 15-20 years older than I was— because my hair was gray while my face was unlined. It took me a bit to realize why this was happening because I'd never thought about dying my hair, in fact, I'd always declared that I would never do so. However, despite this longstanding vow, for five years I bowed to family pressure and dyed my hair. I've shared my thoughts on dying gray hair previously, and my feelings have not changed.

If anything, my stance on gray hair and natural aging has hardened. I now find couples where the man as aged naturally while the woman is dying her hair slightly ridiculous, though I keep those rude thoughts to myself. Because she, like me, is free to make whatever choice about her appearance that she wants— but I do wish that more women would allow themselves to age naturally. Of course, it isn't only women trying to pretend the passage of time hasn't had an effect— does anyone on the planet think that Donald Trump's hair is actually that color? Or that he's not bald? But men dying their hair is still the exception rather than the rule.

Laugh at the trolls and they will go away

The inspiration for these new thoughts is this profile of Mary Beard in the New York Times. Beard is a historian who studies ancient Rome, at least that's what her most recent book was about. She's also in her 60s and has aged naturally, no hair dye and no face work. Because of her scholarship, she's been on television in Britain, which resulted in her being criticized for her looks. To her very great credit, she has stood up to the trolls and bullies with grace and humor.

In fact, the article is mostly about how she handles trolls online with a combination of humor and not giving them the reaction that the trolls are looking for. In fact, she doesn't get trolled as often because she doesn't respond. Part of the reason that I wanted to write about this topic is that I am looking to begin writing up my thoughts about the US elections, and putting links to them up on the Mogul site. Although I opine often here, I don't usually discuss politics. Nor do I tweet links to my writing, because I'm not really looking forward to dealing with trolls.

But maybe that's part of the problem, I'm not disseminating my writing, and so few people are reading what I write. Maybe in Mary Beard I've found a role model— though I really dislike that term— for how to handle any trolling, should it occur.

Having raised the issue, I will note that I do not intend to put the political writing on the front page as I do with the other topics, but rather I will have it all in its own folder. I mentioned a while back that I have started writing for the website Mogul. Any archiving of links will be done at that site, but since I prefer working with my own web design program over theirs, I've decided to publish the pieces here and then linked to the on Mogul. The Mogul site also allows comments— which this site has never done and will never do.

Well, this piece meandered all over the place, and I wound up thinking out loud a bit more than anticipated.


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wonders again why women can't age naturally

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