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by: Better Not Younger
March 14, 2022
We've all heard about the ageism and visibility gap that plagues women after 40. These biases are based on a variety of myths that boil down to women being "past their prime" once they hit that magic age of 40.
But we know that life doesn't stop at 40 for women. As we shared on our Instagram recently, "Age is just the number of years the world has been enjoying you!" Placing rigid restrictions based on age simply makes no logical sense. Every day women over 40 are reinventing themselves, changing the world and proving that age is nothing more than the number of candles on a birthday cake.
Read on to learn more about 7 biases that women over 40 beat every day and how to love yourself at any age!
It's no secret that many women face inequality in the workplace. In fact, a Pew Research study found that 42% of women reported being treated differently at work due to their gender. And this tends to compound as we age: Older women are more likely to be passed over for promotions and less likely to be given interviews when they seek new opportunities.
But despite this workplace bias, women over 40 aren't sitting back and accepting the false narrative that we're past our career prime!
Some of the most successful women in the world didn't start their journeys until after turning 40. Vera Wang was 41 when she opened her first bridal boutique. Ariana Huffington founded The Huffington Post at 55. Toni Morrison was 40 when she published The Bluest Eye.
The time for setting and realizing your goals and dreams has not passed. Age is just a number when it comes to reinventing yourself!
Life at 40 for women often involves working through a series of changes: menopause, career shifts and relationships are major ones in this decade. The conversation surrounding our choice to be mothers—and when—also shifts as we turn 40.
It doesn't help that physicians begin calling pregnancies "geriatric" at age 35. But if your life goals unfolded in a way that made motherhood impractical until you were nearing 40 or even beyond, please don't think the window of opportunity has passed! More than 100,000 American women over 40 give birth every year, and a positive, healthy pregnancy experience is still very much possible!
As women age, certain societal expectations tend to take over, especially in terms of dating and marriage. Whether you are single, dating casually, engaged or married, the important thing to consider is your happiness. Society tries to squeeze women into prescriptive buckets of time-centric milestones: We "should" be married and settled in our 20s and 30s, otherwise we're past our prime.
We are here to tell you that settling to meet this standard makes you neither happy nor fulfilled. The only things every 40-year-old woman should have is a love for herself and a sense of fulfillment. It can be hard to get past the social expectations, but relationships need to serve you. They need to be fulfilling. And there is no set timetable or age limit on finding love, if that's something you want!
Another thing to get rid of after 40 is the idea that beauty is defined by age. Not only is this wrong, but it's so harmful to our mental health! Time marches on, and this is out of our control. Aging is a fact of life. But many women believe the myth that age is synonymous with beauty, and this simply isn't true. A 20-year-old woman is no more inherently beautiful than a 40-year-old woman.
Beauty is subjective and means different things to different people and even different cultures. Physical appearance is just one factor of many in determining beauty. Confidence, kindness and a good sense of humor are consistently ranked as factors that influence a person's attractiveness.
And we can see this in the "war" older women are winning, as we push back against this idea that women are only valuable and worthwhile when they have their youth as currency. Companies like Better Not Younger have worked to fill in the gap in skincare and hair-care products for women after 40 and have launched campaigns that prove women can be gorgeous at any age!
This one is so wrong! Go to any department store or check any social media feed, and you'll find that ‘90s "mom jeans" are in. Even though the name is meant to be a riff on the fashion of moms (read: older women), this ageless look is everywhere now! Today, teenage influencers are wearing our style!
Another thing to get rid of after 40 is the word "should." Remove it from your vocabulary and your self-talk. Remember the show What Not to Wear and all of their declarations about what women ought to wear? ("No miniskirts after 35!" and "No horizontal stripes!")
Absolutely not. Our 40s are all about loving our authentic selves. Fashion from the ‘90s is in right now, but you "should" wear whatever makes you comfortable—and that includes a miniskirt, even if you're a 40-year-old woman!
As we age, our hair goes through some pretty significant changes. It often becomes drier due to decreased sebum production, and it also starts to thin, as our estrogen levels drop. But women over 40 don't have to simply accept living with hair that they don't love!
To fight these two major concerns for mature hair, try adding a follicle-stimulating scalp serum and a hydrating butter hair mask to your routine—they are two things every 40-year-old woman should have in her hair-care arsenal. Our Superpower Fortifying Hair & Scalp Serum packs a triple punch by helping to reduce hair fall (thanks to oleanolic acid, known for inhibiting DHT, which is related to hair thinning), rebalancing scalp oils and activating follicle production. For a major injection of hydration, our Hair Redemption Restorative Butter Masque contains a proprietary blend of plant-based butters and oils to seal the cuticle and lock in moisture, leaving your locks shiny and manageable!
While this definitely can be the case, it doesn't have to be! Prioritizing self-care during menopause—including time for exercise and making healthy meals—can help you feel and look your best during the midlife transition. And even though the average age for menopause is 45 to 55, it can begin around age 40 for about 1 in 100 women.
A major mistake menopausal women make in terms of fitness is assuming that cardio is enough. Cardio is great for strengthening your heart and building endurance, but don't forget strength training! Adding strength training helps protect against osteoporosis by supporting strong bones. Even as little as 60 minutes per week is enough to improve bone strength!
And lastly, remember: Sexual health IS health. Only 1 in 5 gynecologists is trained on menopause. If you're experiencing sexual issues like vaginal dryness, inability to orgasm or painful intercourse, please speak to your doctor. There are both holistic and prescription options available. You don't have to suffer through this experience. (And if your doctor dismisses your concerns, it's time to find a new physician who will listen!)
Pro tip: Fight myths 6 and 7 at once! Add a skin, nail and hair supporting vitamin supplement to your routine! Our Significant Other Hair, Skin & Nails Supplement + Retinol Boost packs collagen-boosting Vitamin C, Vitamin A, biotin and folic acid to support healthy hair, skin and nails!
Tell Us: Have you implemented a self-care routine during menopause? Share your favorite tips and tricks for loving your age in the comments below!
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