Women and Beauty- Is there an Expiration Date?

Sally Edelstein Baby Picture Art

Today I turn 64 and if I am to believe the media, I have long passed my expiration date of desirability as a woman.

In fact to accept conventional wisdom about women, nothing matches their fear of visible signs of ageing.

But here’s the un-botoxed- wrinkle in that. Every woman is an “ageing woman.”

It begins at birth and continues if we are fortunate for 80 decades. Yet the window for beguiling is a short one in our youth culture, one lasting only a third of our life expectancy.

Women’s attractiveness seems at best highly perishable. Not unlike a container of milk there seems to be an expiration date, a best-used by date of about 30 years.

Despite the fact that we are currently living in a time when women over 60 are more visible and more powerful in government, business, and entertainment than ever before, when it comes their looks old stereotypes about our attractiveness linger like fossilized remains.

Women’s desirability is likely to decay.

The insistence that there is an arbitrary expiration date for women and their perceived beauty has not lessened its strong grip. In fact it has only accelerated as more fillers, serums, and procedures lay in wait to correct the “problems” fix the “flaws” and reverse signs of aging. To turn back time.

All Out War

Having been drafted by the media at an early age, I have been waging a war against any visible sign of aging for over 35 years. Like most girls I learned at an early age that along with a “visible panty line” there were to be no visible signs of aging.  Or we ourselves would become invisible.

By 1985, as 30 loomed for me, it was all out war.

So began decades of daily reconnaissance scrutinizing my face and body for any and all flaws. I was on high alert as a full-on assault on wrinkles, creases, furrows and lines escalated. My defense budget skyrocketed as I boost my already bloated arsenal of  costly creams, lotions,  and potions.

It is only now that I am beginning to question if it’s truly a battle worth waging.

I am constantly told “I don’t look my age,” the holy grail of  praise for a woman.

Though secretly pleased, I also know  I will never be 30 again, nor 40. Why would I look that way? Six decades of sorrows and loss, despondency and pain, along with great loves and laughter, wisdom and adventure are etched as deeply in my face as in my heart and psyche.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is a life lived.

I am far from expired.


© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific



  1. John Anderson

    Happy birthday, Sally. I think you’re more inspiration than expiration…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Laura B.

    Happiest of birthdays to you Sally! May there be a great many more, filled with wrinkles, laughter, age spots, and living with a capital L.

    As I approach my arbitrary expiration date, I admit I do worry about ageing “well”. I will have to grapple with what that means for me. But I will try never to lose the sparkle in my eyes – age can never take that from you and to me, that is the real sign of eternal youth!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your warm wishes. No matter how evolved and enlightened we are as women, we almost universally share this struggle. In all honesty, I may be less self-conscious and authentic in my sense of self than I was at 30. Age really doesn’t take away- it adds to and enhances what lay before and that manifests in one’s physical beauty as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy Late Birthday, Sally! I often felt blessed not to be a woman because I am too lazy to try to look 10, 20, 30 years younger than I am. And cheap!

    I think once a person accepts age, she (or he, for that matter) glows from within rather than from some surface applications that conceal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the birthday wishes. This is all such a cultural construct, that even the most enlightened women and men can fall prey too.


      • Yes, remind’s me a bit of the Keillor opener for his Lake Woebegone segment, “Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” We are prisoners of cuiltural expectations until we realize the ideal woman is the impossible Barbie doll model or Superman with muscles of steel. Most of us have a more worn-in, relaxed look, to be kind about it. LOL! Ultimately, maturity is acceptance of that.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Such an amazing piece Sal – Love it – and I guess it’s TMI – tho for me the only thing that is appropriate is white hairs in my nose, the top of my head and ‘that’ one other place-down there!

    Shonna Valeska Photography http://www.shonnavaleska.com shonna@shonnavaleska.com US: 347.834.6000 Cuba: (011) 53 5561.3848



  5. newagelizzie

    I love this!! Thank you for sharing with us. I live in a town where the majority of women over 50 have had some type of cosmetic surgery. I’m all for doing whatever makes you feel good about yourself but it troubles me that women feel they have to submit their bodies to surgical procedures that may seem benign but in fact are just as risky as any other surgery. And while women subject themselves to potentially dangerous surgical procedures, men just let nature take its course. There’s a definite double standard between men and women when it comes to aging. We need to learn to love ourselves, wrinkles and all.

    Liked by 1 person

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