Deep thoughts following a post published on February 2, 2022 by one of my favorite Instagram account, The Simones. I quote (and translate) this publication here, so as not to misrepresent it. It was accompanied by two pictures, one of Audrey Hepburn, the other one of Madonna – at the age of 63.

Let’s not point the finger at the players but rather at the rules of the game. Let’s stop criticizing “mature” women who have chosen to go through cosmetic surgery in order to look younger. Let’s rather point the finger at the ravages of “beauty standards” and the injunctions to remain eternally “young and fresh” when one is a woman. If you think that Audrey Hepburn has aged well while Madonna, or other celebrities who have had cosmetic surgery, are “toxic” to women because they feature faces that are too smooth for their ages, take a step back and blame the cult of youth, the fashion industry, the cinema… and more broadly: the patriarchy which all gently pushes women over 60 into oblivion. Bottom Line: Don’t blame women for simply trying to stay “socially visible” with whatever means at hand. Because basically: blaming women for conforming to misogynistic norms is also misogyny.”

First point: The Simones is a great Instagram account. Alix and Constance, who animate this page, denounce patriarchy and sexism with intelligence and subtlety and speak about exceptional women, past or present.

Second point: I am very sensitive to the problem of youthism (having started on Instagram at 40) and I have already spoken at length about this issue here and there.

Back to The Simones’ publication: I subscribe 3000% to the text published. Sorority, free will of each person, individual freedom and quite simply tolerance command to avoid criticizing the choices made by a person as to his/her body. I think it’s called respect and it is the bare minimum, really.

I agree 3000% since a (hi)story which began during the Neolithic period set up a system where physical violence and male domination were imposed. In other words, patriarchy. Youth is of course preferable in such a system because it is synonymous with fertility (still and even if the norms have changed today). It is also synonymous with naivety (to sum up, it is still easier to impress a 25-year-old woman than a 45-year-old woman). It is obvious that the ambient youthism constitutes a monumental pressure on a female population on which the idea of desirability directly correlated to youth has been imposed.

I hardly dare to imagine the weight of this pressure on artists whose body is an important working tool (singers, actresses, dancers) who live and evolve under the public eye which may not always be tender.  The point is not and will never be a question of blaming anyone – since once again, each one is free to make decisions when it comes to her/his body.

However, let’s push the reflection a little further: once we’ve said that, what do we do? Let’s be pragmatic and realistic: submitting to sexist norms will only perpetuate the oppression such norms entail. Unity is strength, and this is even more true in the era of social networks. Normalizing wrinkles, normalizing the diversity of beauty is already forcing brands to move away from the unreal standards of feminine beauty that were still prevailing absolutely everywhere five years ago.

Let’s keep the pressure on.

If we have to put our wallets on the line by scrapping the brands that still make questionable choices (here, beauty standards, but also ecology or the rights of workers in fast fashion), our involvement through our posts on Instagram or Twitter, let’s go: let’s keep up the pressure.

I am paraphrasing here a French literary title (feminist, hehe, what a surprise) that speaks to me so much: “Don’t free us, we’ll take care of it”. Let’s be pragmatic and realistic, again: we, women, are the only ones who can free ourselves from this patriarchal system.

Without pointing out any player, it’s up to us to change the rules of the game.

February 18, 2022

Etro dress – Dior heels