The reality is that we live in a society that has historically told us that if you’re over 40 and female, you can pretty much kiss any chances of being viewed as sexy goodbye.
Especially if you’re a mom; even if you’re under 40 and a mom (don’t shoot the messenger we’re just telling it like it is).
It seems every other week on social media, another famous mom is being slammed for looking too sexy or provocative in her snaps, as though she have no right to embrace and celebrate her sexuality because her body have been used to bare and feed babies. The haters claim they’re setting the wrong kind of example for their children.
Although Kim Kardashian isn’t exactly my favourite person on the planet, she raised an important point recently. It’s no secret that the mom of two is constantly criticized for being too sexy on Instagram. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Kardashian defended her decision to be as sexy as she so decides to be. “If doing sexy shoots makes me feel confident, then I’m okay with it,” she told the publication. “That might not be appropriate for some people, and there’s a time and a place. There are certain things I’ll show my kids and certain things I won’t show my kids.”
If anything, sexy moms should be celebrated, in Kardashian’s view. “But generally I am okay with it. In moderation. More power to the moms that look really good, work really hard, do what they can so that they still feel sexy, still feel good about themselves,” she said. “I don’t think for a second that because you become a mom you can’t be sexy any more.”
But the idea doesn’t hasn’t gotten much traction in mainstream media and pop culture over the years, where models over the age of 40 have been reserved for vitamin ads or department store catalogues.
The good news is that times are changing.
Recently, Zara featured models over the age of 40 in their Timeless Capsules Collections campaign, highlighting the reality that “fast fashion isn’t just for millennials.” Featuring big name models like Malgosia Bela, 40; Yasmin Warsame, 41; and Kristina de Coninck, 53, the campaign includes interviews with the women where they discuss their views on getting older.
Zara isn’t the first to do so either. In recent years, brands like Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana and Loewe have worked with models beyond the typical under-30 age range, featuring faces like Vanessa Redgrave, Sophia Loren and Charlotte Rampling. We’ve also seen an increase in age variety on the runways as well, with models like Amber Valleta and Carolyn Murphy returning to their former stomping grounds.
This is an important move for the fashion industry; sadly, just as women aren’t always seen as sexy over the age of 40, they are not usually viewed as being particularly stylish either. There’s a reason the term “mom jeans” became a thing, after all.
In a culture that places so much emphasis on youth, things like grey hairs and wrinkles can take a major toll on women. If 30 is indeed the new 20 – and 40 is the new 30 – most women feel the pressure to look the part. Terrified of developing laugh lines, crows feet and saggy eyes and losing “like”-worthiness in glossy social media shots, they’re turning to Botox and fillers long before their 30th birthday. Dr. Zel Krajden M.D, a Toronto cosmetic plastic surgeon who spends part of his time at Yorkville’s A-list favourite Spa Medica, says his clinics see clients as young as their mid to late twenties (something he says is fine, as long as done in small amounts for preventative purposes and with a reputable, licensed practitioner).
For many of us, the goal is to stay looking as young as we can for as long as we can. Well there’s nothing wrong with that, the notion puts a particular amount of pressure on women, who may feel they lose value as their youth fades and the wrinkles form.
Whether they rely on anti-aging methods, or age in all of their graceful glory, it’s time we celebrate and embrace the sexiness of women over the age of 40 the way we do men.