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Defying Ageism in the Beauty Industry

September 18, 2019  · 2 min read

A recent guardian article highlights the growing trend to feature diversity and combat ageism (discrimination based on age) in the beauty and fashion industry. Examples include the Marc Jacob’s February 2019 New York fashion show, where model Christy Turlington, aged 50, walked the catwalk; advertisements by major beauty industries such as L’Oréal Paris now feature un-airbrushed models such as Helen Mirren, aged 74; and MAC Cosmetic’s “What’s Your Thing Campaign” features older women who wear makeup not to make them look younger, but to accentuate their own style and confidence.

“What people enjoy about this campaign is seeing older women who look very different from one another, are very stylish, and are not just there to tick the diversity box. Consumers are constantly offered ‘fixes’ or told how to hide wrinkles. But what if you don’t want to hide them?” says Terry Barber, Director of Makeup Artistry at MAC.

Ageism is not only found in the beauty industry but is interwoven into many societal levels including politics, health and social services, employment, education and infrastructure. With 2 billion people expected to be aged 60 years and older by 2050, the time is now to end age discrimination.

Dr. John Beard, IFA Expert and former Director of the WHO Ageing and Life Course division speaks openly about the need to combat ageism and its global impact.  

“‘Old’ is a meaningless social construct that boxes an amazingly diverse array of people. Might as well try to group horses, oranges and orangutans. Problem is it drives social policy and, worse, can internalize the expectations that come with the label.” – Dr. John Beard

Contact Dr. John Beard through IFA’s Expert Centre for further information.  In addition, register for the IFA 15th Global Conference on Ageing “Rights Matter” where a key theme “combating ageism” will feature efforts from around the world to empower and facilitate inclusion of people of all ages.  

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