The other day I saw an alarming photograph of a woman’s face on Instagram. The woman was not smiling. She didn’t appear to be trying to look pretty. Her brows were wild and her eyeliner was severe. It was an extreme closeup and every line on her face was emphasized.
Turns out Justine Bateman, the woman in the photo, does not give a sh*t about mine or anyone else’s judgey thoughts regarding her naturally aging face. Her new book, Face: One Square Foot of Skin, is a series of fictional stories about how pervasive and damaging ageism is in our society. The message is that a face showing evidence of a long life should wield power, not incite prejudice.
Bateman was no victim of someone’s poor social media judgment. She was a confident, alluring, badass. I wanted to know her. I wanted to be her friend. I wanted to be her. She looked fucking fierce.
How is it possible for my thoughts to transform so completely in just a moment?
And if my thoughts can transform that quickly, maybe there’s hope for society? Granted, I’m supposed to think this way. I’m an editor at a website that’s all about empowering women not to care what people think of them. To be comfortable in their skin. To wear the lines on their faces with pride.
And I’m ashamed of my initial reaction.
Susanna Schrobsdorff describes me perfectly in her Time magazine article about Bateman’s new book:
We are still stuck in the crack between empowerment feminism and reality.Susanna Schrobsdorff
I walk and talk like a feminist and then I look at a photo of a woman’s face and wonder how it can be OK for all of that reality to be right there for everyone to see. Where’s the filter? Doesn’t she know about Facetune?
Looking at Bateman’s photo and then correcting my my knee jerk reaction was a swift smack upside the head, and I’m grateful for it. For some, it might require more of a steady thump to get the message through.
So let’s start thumping. More photos like this, please. More books like this. More badasses like Bateman. Let’s go.
More From Suggest:
- These Women Over 50 Shared How They Landed New Jobs, But Ageism Is Alive And Well In The U.S.A.
- Marilyn Loden, Who Coined The Term ‘Glass Ceiling,’ Died Before Seeing Her Dream Become Reality
- Woman’s Story Of Husband Being Called A ‘Hero’ For Doing What She Does Everyday Shows We Have A Long Way To Go