I feel old: 3 tips on what to do about this discomfort
Jul 15, 2021
That today's society puts a lot of pressure on us to give an attractive and desirable image is no secret. For decades it has been written about how in apparently free countries there is a tendency to make all citizens fit into a mold of what is considered aesthetic, pleasant to look at. And that this pressure falls especially on women is not something that surprises anyone either.
This phenomenon is related to the thought of "I feel old", very common in adult women of a great variety of ages. However, contrary to what one might think, personal appearance is not the only thing that explains this phenomenon. Yes, it is true that there is an obsession with wrinkles, skin that loses firmness and gray hair, but the problem, although partly psychological and imagined, goes further. Understanding this is essential to stop feeling that anguish and sadness that a large part of the female population suffers.
In this article we will focus on what happens when a woman feels old despite not being very old, given that in the elderly who feel old age as something bad, the problem is of another nature.
- Related article: "The 3 phases of old age, and their physical and psychological changes"
The initial question: why do I feel old?
When it comes to alleviating discomfort of this type, everything happens to understand what the material reasons are that lead us to feel old even long before we have entered the vital stage of old age, and to feel bad about it. The latter is worth noting, since old age itself does not have to be something that produces sadness; Although the practice goes hand in hand with certain physical limitations, how we experience it when we reach this stage depends on how we value those limitations, not old age itself.
In women who feel very old despite not belonging to the third age, what happens is that the concept of old age acts as a “bridge” between the way we imagine real old age feels, on the one hand, and the current situation, on the other. And why is this happening? Fundamentally, so society dictates that it must be a woman, not because of the fact of having entered what is biologically old age.
For centuries, women have been sexualized to the extreme, to the point of making reproduction their task main, together with the care of the home, which is the place where the fruits of that reproduction. And since the reproduction clock runs somewhat faster than the life expectancy clock, during the earliest stage of youth all the social pressure to have children is concentratedWhile having passed this vital stage, the lower chances of having babies are associated with old age in general, and uselessness in particular.
As much as we have come a long way in terms of sexism, the idea that the main objective of women is attracting a good husband and having children continues to weigh on the way we unconsciously value women women. In a context in which the reproductive role of women is constantly remembered, the smallest signs of aging, which usually appear around the age of 25, can cause obsessive thoughts to appear. Sometimes you don't even need to have seen objective signs of aging: It is very common for 19 or 20 year old girls to feel old when they anticipate the moment when they will stop looking so young, and consider it as next.
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What to do to get rid of this discomfort?
As we have seen, the thought of "I feel old" is based on a paradox. On the one hand, it rests on an imaginary concern, which is not normally based on any specific characteristic of the body itself that is objectively harmful or makes it less functional. On the other hand, it is not simply a problem pertaining to the mind of the woman as an individual, but exists because being a woman of a certain age has certain undesirable social consequences because of sexism.
Any initiative that a woman wants to undertake to stop feeling bad for being her age passes, necessarily, for taking action to prevent the rest of society from assigning it less value for not being a post-adolescent. Thus, some useful proposals to follow are the following.
1. Don't let your culture limit itself to the mainstream
Mainstream culture is one that reproduces the most deeply rooted and widespread cultural vices, and if a woman is exclusively exposed to it, you are much more likely to feel all the social pressure linked to gender roles.
Therefore, frequenting social environments in which the idealization of extreme youth has less power and is questioned, is very beneficial, since it provides a critical view that allows us to stop seeing what feels like an exclusively own problem, and start seeing it as the consequence of a social and historical phenomenon, which can disappear in future.
- You may be interested: "Sexual division of labor: what it is, and explanatory theories"
2. Find female solidarity networks
This measure is similar to the previous one, and has to do with stop relying solely on male approval, whose perception of women, traditionally, extols extreme youth. The simple fact of surrounding yourself with more women with this critical view of what society expects of them is very beneficial.
3. Demystify reproduction
As we have seen, the reproductive role assigned by society is part of the core of the problem. If it is said that men age better and more slowly than women, it is partly because the pressure reproductive does not fall on them: whether they are parents or does not matter much less than whether a woman is or has been mother or not.
So that, stop making one's life revolve around creating a family, as if one could not be happy apart from it (regardless of whether that family exists or not), it is part of the solution to stop feeling old in the bad sense of the term.