Old Age in the New Age of Beauty

Murmurs can be heard rumbling through social media fibers around the world as 64-year-old actress, Jessica Lange, becomes the new face of Marc Jacobs Beauty. The murmurs in question revolve around whether or not a 64-year-old is the prime choice to be the face of beauty. And my question is this: Isn’t it horrible that we even have to question whether or not a woman in her later years is worthy of being a cover girl or not?

I am a student of Human Development, and I’ll be honest in that on my first day of studying Gerontology, I initially rolled my eyes and thought, “Boo, how boring.” Because isn’t that how we’ve categorized our older generation? As boring? As less beautiful than we, the young? No longer as interesting as us twerkers and cell phone junkies? We have without a doubt stigmatized what it means to be old, and all we’ve contributed as a culture are negative adjectives and a condemning fate; not just for the current generation of older individuals alive today, but for ourselves as well. For, if we resign our grandparents to being boring, no longer beautiful, no longer interesting, how should we ever expect for our grandchildren to look at us any differently?

There is no question in my mind that Jessica Lange is beautiful. She is the picture of grace and loveliness, and within her eyes is a strength that inspires me. Not to mention her list of raring accomplishments as an actress. As I stare at her, this new face of Marc Jacobs Beauty, I think to myself, “Perhaps we’ve had it wrong all along.”

Yes, we associate beauty with youth, and this is both due to cultural and biological implications. We are meant to mate in our prime, and so our youthful bodies exude newness and sparkle to draw in partners in the hopes of mating. (Ew, science, I know.) Biologically it makes sense to place emphasis on youthful beauty, but are we not further evolved than this by now? Beauty is not limited to the youth. In fact, we rob ourselves of richness in this world if we do not begin appreciating what true beauty is, and that we may be neglecting an entire population of beautiful people. Jessica Lange is a beautiful woman, and I can think of plenty of other women in there 60s and above who are just as gorgeous and accomplished. My God, Betty White is one of my comedic hero’s, and I would 100% say she is everything beautiful and right in this world.

When I look at my grandparents, do you know what I see? Warmth. Joy. Love. A strength I hope I can one day understand. A tender wisdom I hope to one day achieve. When I touch my grandmother’s hands, they are soft and gentle, and I see the purest kind of beauty. The kind of beauty that has lived through good and bad and still she laughs and loves and is at a place of really understanding and appreciating life. That is so beautiful to me. This is the kind of beauty worth striving for.

So, is making a 64-year-old woman the face of beauty a change? Yes, indeed it is. But is it a change worth making? As a 23-year-old I say, without a doubt, yes.

Congratulations to Jessica Lange for becoming the new face of Marc Jacobs Beauty. I couldn’t think of a better representation for us all.

Katie Wilbert is a singer/songwriter, actress and comedian who resides in Los Angeles. She loves beach walks with her best friend, tickling her niece and anything with Will Ferrel and Kristen Wiig. You can find her on Twitter @Katiewilbert, her blog and tumblr.

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