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Is ageing gracefully morally superior to… intervention?

By Alice Hart-Davis
8th December 2022

I was recently asked to come up with one beauty myth I’d like to bust and what I spoke about was this – it’s more of a belief than a myth – this thing that many people hold to be true: that ‘ageing gracefully’ is morally superior to other approaches or interventions to how we look as we age.

Ageing gracefully usually means taking no action and simply accepting the ageing process and whatever it brings. It’s a popular, much-loved and comforting concept (and yes we all need to learn to accept ourselves for what we are). It’s the default choice for most people. What niggles for me is that so many people consider ‘ageing gracefully’ to be a better choice. That you’re somehow a better person if you take that route. That’s fine, but to me it’s not a morally superior choice to choosing to dye your hair, to use active skincare, to wear makeup, or whiten your teeth, or in my case, to have loads of tweakments in order to offset the visible effects of ageing. That’s also a perfectly valid choice and it doesn’t make you a worse person.

Am I being oversensitive here? Does it just come down to not being so judgy about other people and what they choose to do with their faces and bodies as they age? I’d say this idea that ageing gracefully is morally superior needs to go. Tell me, what do you think?

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