Is It Easier to be Positively Old If You Were Born Ugly?

That seems to be what former supermodel, Paulina Porizkova, has suggested in her blog  on The Huffington Post yesterday. She makes the point that aging is particularly difficult for people who have been exceptionally attractive and who have relied on their looks to the exclusion of developing other strengths and talents.I believe there is some truth to what she has written. Some of the prettiest women I’ve ever known have been some of the most insecure; it’s like they know on some sub-conscious level that they’ve gotten an E-Ticket on the ride of life but they know the ride won’t last forever. I guess you could apply the same logic to women who are overweight and then get pregnant. They seem to be more accepting of their baby weight gain and less focused on their bulging bellies.

While Paulina has taken some heat over her comments about famous stars like Madonna and other models who fight their well-earned wrinkles with the latest in technology, I have to admit that I do understand why many people in the public eye feel the need to maintain their youth in order to stay employed. I concur with Paulina, however, that we should not let wrinkles terrify us so much that we risk our health and individuality in the process of preventing them.

Why such fear over appearing “older”? Has society changed its values so drastically that the aged are no longer seen as valuable? I hope not! That would mean that just when people have gathered enough experience to truly have something to offer society, their input would be undermined. If true, this mentality seems doomed to halt evolution in its tracks. (see “Was Man’s Evolution Driven By the Positively Old?”)

Paulina quotes a French proverb “old age is the revenge of the ugly ones.” This is akin to the belief that the nerds or geeks who are the brunt of jokes in high school end up ruling the world. They don’t have the looks or popularity, so they develop other skills, which often make them wealthy later in life as doctors and technology moguls. True enough.

Of course, to me it doesn’t really matter whether you’re ugly or beautiful on the outside; it’s what you are inside that matters, and your internal values will dictate how you feel about a few wrinkles later in life. We’re born with the face that God gives us, and later we get the face we deserve, so to speak. If you’re superficial, your face becomes plastic; if you’re fun-loving, you get laugh lines; and if you’re mad at the world, the furrowed brow is yours to keep. If you’re beautiful on the inside, it doesn’t matter how many wrinkles you have, your beauty will shine through and people will flock to your side. If you don’t believe me, just consider Betty White and her recent resurgence in popularity. At least that’s what I’d like to believe— that society is wise enough to benefit from its truly beautiful citizens, regardless of age (or income).

What are your thoughts on society’s perception of looking older? Do you feel that people whose looks haven’t been the focus of their lives have an easier time of it when they age?

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Comments
6 Responses to “Is It Easier to be Positively Old If You Were Born Ugly?”
  1. Terry Hagertty says:

    I don’t know if I would go so far as to say the ugly are happier as they get older, but I agree with your premise that the more you believe that you have gotten special treatment because of your physical beauty, the more terrified you are of what will happen when you believe your beauty is receding with age. On the other hand, someone like Betty White or Cloris Leachman, who, while they were always pretty women, were never perceived or presented themselves as glamor queens or sex goddesses, have continued to act into their 80s.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Terry. Yes, I’m sure you’re right…just because you’re ugly at some point doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily be happy at another point. It really has more to do with what you consider your personal strengths and values to be. I personally was shocked to see what a knockout Cloris Leachman was in some photos I recently saw of her when she was in her 20s. It wasn’t that I’ve ever seen her as unattractive, but I just don’t think about her in terms of her looks. When I think of her, I think of her humor and her acting chops, and now her dancing legs and amazing flexibility for a woman in her 80s (if you happened to see her tempt Len for a good score on “Dancing With the Stars” last season!) And Betty White is the same; she’s always been attractive, but it’s her humor and intelligence that we think of when we think of her, and these traits only ripen with age. I can only hope my comedies improve with age! :)

  2. Judy Mulcan says:

    I can understand this point of view, I too have issues with those wrinkles coming in. However, this is the part of the article that I believe holds most true and I agree with “to me it doesn’t really matter whether you’re ugly or beautiful on the outside; it’s what you are inside that matters and your internal values will dictate how you feel about a few wrinkles later in life.” Your inside beauty: self-confidence, life experiences, and spiritual beliefs is what carries you past the outside beauty.
    Judy

    • Judy, thanks for your comments. I personally think that a few wrinkles are worth the good stuff that goes along with being our age. I would never want to return to my 20s, and I actually feel like I’m more attractive now than I was then. I’m not sure that if that’s really true or not; it may be more of a reflection on the way I feel about myself.

  3. Jan McWhorter says:

    Obviously Hollywood demands that women always be perfectly slim & sexy & have youthful glowing skin. Plastic surgery was probably invented in Hollywood for those in the entertainment business! It’s interesting that famous people like Lisa Rinna are now working to look more natural by undoing what they had done years ago . Lisa had silicone injections in her upper lip to plump it up & these last couple years her lip sagged & covered up her teeth when she smiled. She looks much more natural now with a normal upper lip & smile thanks to some surgery. Look at Pamela Anderson. She had her breast implants removed so she could look more balanced & natural again. I’m glad that people come to their senses & want to appear more normal. That’s internal confidence & maturity coming through that go along with the aging process!

  4. Marilynn Cronin says:

    It doesn’t matter what you looked like when you were born, it is the self-confidence your were brought up with or have achieved. Learning not to base your self-worth on what is shoved down our throat through the media as to what a woman is “suppose to look like” is what is important. Also very important that we stress inner beauty with our children and grandchildren so they learn to filter out media standards and don’t judge others on trivial matters.

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