How to Grow Old Gracefully… and Happily?

Madonna, queen of the airbrush. Who’s that 52 year-old-girl? Cover up, Madge! The world’s press up in arms with Madonna’s latest Dolce & Gabbana campaign. Everyone wondering when will the blonde diva start acting her age?

My name is Jessie and yes, I’m a Madonna fan. However, I am not writing this post to defend her  – does she even need anyone to speak out for her? Really?

I just want to set the record straight for my parents, my siblings, the nuns that taught me how to read, my literature teacher and my former employers. For my future children and grandchildren. I just refuse to act my age… ever. And when I’m 50, I sure won’t take any lip from anyone. Is that so wrong?

Why is it that nowadays, when the fight for women’s rights has achieved so much, that still, so many feel like they can demand a lady to “act her age”? So many women want to sabotage the right of  being sexy and desirable for women after 50? Maybe it’s because at that age one is supposed to cover up and hide away. No skin left bare, no push-up bras or fitted clothing for that matter.

Many of you will say “well she is a mother, she should set an example” of what? What if she is happy dating younger guys, what if staying fit makes her smile? What if she is teaching her kids to do whatever makes them happy, no matter the opinion of others? She is doing what she wants and wouldn’t we all love to do that?

Just imagine. Doing anything we liked, going anywhere in the planet, not letting the world tell us to work longer hours, sacrifice our happiness, and get nothing in return but low pay, stress-induced illnesses and painful stomach ulcers. Wouldn’t we be kinder to our neighbours? Wouldn’t we all smile more? However, all we love to do is throw sexist and derogative words to a woman we really don’t know.

“But her children look up to her!” I hear you say. She is not living her children’s life, is she? She is living her own life.

“What ever happened to growing old gracefully?” What ever happened to growing old with a huge smile and a spark in one’s eye?

The truth is, that there have been women and men, before us, struggling to establish our present rights and freedoms. Nowadays women are still tortured and killed for living a life they believe in, whilst a lot us in the comfortable Western world, can talk about sex over lunch, just like Carrie and Co did. We won’t get men dragging us to jail, we will even have our mothers giggling next to us. Why? because, like many other brave women, Madonna put erotica in our coffee tables in the 90s.

In some places we are so fortunate that we can hold the hand of whoever we like, kiss a boy or a girl, or both, and marry whoever we want. Years back, Madonna was telling little girls and boys everywhere to speak up and ask for what they wanted. Still now, teenagers are staring at pictures of the 80s wanting to feel empowered like the blonde girl in the picture.

“She is too old to set an example now” Will it really only be me thanking Madonna for when I’m well over my 50s, confident, fabulous and feeling free to be sexy without being scolded or told to cover up?

Women in their fifties don’t need our permission, and they could also do without our judgement.

The media is saturated with criticism over celebrities’ bodies, the way certain famous folk hold their babies, or the kind of underwear a teen pop starlet should wear. We are objectifying everything: weight, religion, age. We talk about celebrities in such sordid ways without realising that, really, we are talking about ourselves. When you despise Madonna for posing in her underwear at 52, you are despising every single 50-year-old woman in the world who may want to be more than just a piece of furniture.

Picture: Dolce & Gabbana via Daily Mail