Bodies, aging, and revulsion

Last night an older friend said something that distressed me. She said sadly, but emphatically, that beyond a certain age women shouldn’t wear shorts or short skirts. “No one needs to see that.”

What bothered me the most was the sense of agreement with the judgment that age is ugly and best kept hidden. Only youthful bodies are worthy of being seen.

What followed was a litany of the ways in which older legs fall apart even though legs are often “the last to go.”

I hate this kind of talk.

I’m planning my little old lady mini skirts now! I hope I’m still wearing a bikini into my senior years. Be warned and get ready to avert your eyes. No Victorian era beach wear for me! See http://blog.tuppencehapenny.co.uk/2011/05/sailor-style-evolution-part-1-nautical.html?m=1 for more images.


For more in this vein read my previous post on not growing old gracefully. I hate rules about what women young and old can and can’t wear.

And I hate it even more when we internalize the reasoning behind these rules.

13 thoughts on “Bodies, aging, and revulsion

  1. Of course the other issue is where you draw the line. You might think women over eighty shouldn’t wear shorts when you say “older women shouldn’t wear shorts” but someone whose might hear that and think 40. Best not to draw lines and make rules!

  2. My legs have always looked the way your friend probably thinks old legs look- lots of cellulite, viens, jiggle, etc. even when I was 21 and 105 pounds soaking wet and very fit. So I never get to wear shorts? Thank goodness aging actually has made me care less not more.

  3. I have such admiration for the older ladies (talking 70+) at the gym who strut around in all of their glory in the gym locker room. Best believe I’m doing the same thing! In fact, I’m taking a page out of their book and loving my body now and forever. Gosh darn, I’m going to where whatever makes me feel the most beautiful and comfortable. Great post!

  4. I’m turning 40 next month and I finally have the body I want to show off. I’m having so much fun, I’m going to keep doing so for the next 40 years – no matter what happens.

  5. i concur Let it all hang out and be proud of our wonderful functioning bodies

    1. And even if they don’t function, out don’t function as well as we’d like.

  6. Thanks for the post. What I have a problem with is the following: I have been working hard o breaking out of the socially constructed mold through which my mind appreciates my body (read: hates it). At times I am very successful but (and this is where the problem kicks in) what to do when a comment is made by someone else about your body or what you wear or someone else’s body or clothing that brings back in its full force the body hating pattern?

    1. I’m okay with come backs and rescuing the occasion but it still can sting and cause self doubt after. I try to see it as the other person’s problem. “I didn’t know you felt about fat/disabled/old bodies.” Mostly that works.

  7. I guess I should be wearing even a tiny amount of make-up to fade some of my freckles and sunspots on my face (even after using sunblock often). So went to drug store and looked at the makeup shades, prices. And walked out, feeling it was more effort than I was willing to make.

    You have to realize that I have just simply forgotten to wear any makeup in workplaces for the past…3 years. So I bare my face honestly to everyone at work in my dress suit attire (which is not often). I like that but know some people are judging me a bit.

    I do wear short skirts since I’m short and feel less “dragged down” compared to wearing a long skirt

    Life is short. I wish to make good health the best fashion statement of all. It never goes “out of style”.

  8. When I was younger I used to feel very self-conscious about wearing short skirts, shorts or anything else that revealed my legs. I just thought they didn’t look good, despite having always been slim. Now – at the grand old age of 36 – I’ve realised it doesn’t matter what they look like. They’re my legs, the only ones I’ve got, and I’ll show them off if I want to.

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