Imagine a culture that values Old Age as beautiful:
Older people are revered for their beauty since the lines on their faces symbolize Wisdom. Here, old faces are the ideal. The older and more wrinkled a face is — the higher it ranks on the beauty scale.
Younger people in this culture are thought of as immature, “green,” “half baked” or “half cooked”. Their smooth faces are an embarrassment. A “flat face” as it is known — shows just how inexperienced a person is, and how much they “lack life”. A young smooth face is considered unattractive, not to say ugly.
Young people invest fortunes in a beauty industry designed to make them look older. There are powders and thick creams, which one slathers on their face, and pointed tools with which to carve lines on the layers of cream & powders, to make the skin look wrinkled.
There are hair bleachers and graying agents designed to dull the hair into various shades of gray, which emit an air of authority and wisdom.
For those who want to go all the way — there are hormonal treatments known as “anti-youth” — that quicken the process of skin and body aging, thereby bringing social acceptance and status.
Young people can’t wait to age! They eagerly await loosing the “baby fat” on their faces in order to start to show maturity, and to begin (at last) to be taken seriously by those around them.
The First Wrinkle is known as the “Sprouting of Wisdom” and is celebrated by families, friends, and communities, who breathe a sigh of relief that their loved one has made it to the first rang on the ladder of maturity.
Would you like to live there?
Would you like to be transported to a culture that values your wrinkles and folds as signs of wisdom?
Or would you think twice about committing your children, or yourself at a younger age, to the humiliation of not measuring up to the beauty standard as a youth?
And what if that culture ever heard of a reversed one, where only the young are beheld as beautiful? Where wise wrinkled faces are dismissed as “sagging,” “over the hill” or “past their prime”? Where the beauty industry spews “anti aging” products, and the medical industry churns hormonal therapies aimed at making faces and bodies look younger? Would it cross their minds to switch places with anyone in this culture?
Take a breath now. Look in the mirror. What do you see? Acceptance or lack there of? Is it culturally induced, or comes from within? And if you could have it any way you like — how would you like it to be?