Apparently women between 40 and 89 feel ignored by mainstream fashion and beauty adverts. Well, what a surprise! That is probably because most adverts are full of 20-something beautiful, stick-thin models with flawless skin, even though they are often promoting products aimed at the over 50s. In fact, on the fashion front, I remember sitting in my local hairdresser’s a few years ago and whilst flicking through a copy of Vogue, I was absolutely mortified. The catwalk models on its pages looked like Belsen victims – in fact, even more shocking was the fact that the models were actually made up to look even more ghostly than their anorexic frames with pale foundation and ‘sunken’ eyes. Why would anyone want to aspire to look like that, for heaven’s sake?
I applaud those Dove adverts that show ‘real’ women, with curvy bodies, plenty of booty and pretty, naturally bonny faces. I’m not against slim bodies (I have a very boyish figure myself), but the point is, most people don’t find ‘the half-starved look’ very attractive. And, let’s face it, most women over 50 are fairly well-rounded and proud of it. So why on earth don’t fashion and beauty companies celebrate this by using bigger, more mature models? Apparently, in a recent survey by the London College of Fashion most of the 500 women asked about their views revealed that they don’t wear make-up to look younger, they do it to feel good! Of course they do! Make-up makes the most of your assets and makes you feel confident to face the world! But I had to laugh! They also pointed out that older women only tend to be used to advertise items such as incontinence pads, stairlifts and hearing aids. Holy moley!
When I wrote Life Begins at Fifty I initially used a company which asks different designers to compete for the design artwork of the book cover. I obviously sent a specification as to what I wanted, but it was obvious from some of the artwork that I received that a few designers had definitely not read the spec. I got people with grey hair, powdered skin and inane smiles looking as if they were straight out of a Saga advert…but the ‘piece de resistance’ was two old dears hobbling across a zebra crossing with a zimmer frame. Blooming Nora, I thought, is that what people think 50 looks like? Unfortunately, yes it is! Which is why I’m on a mission to prove them wrong! Guess what my beautiful daughters got me for Mother’s Day? Only a ticket to go and see Beyonce? Ooh, they know me too well 🙂