Do Side Parts and Skinny Jeans Really Make Us Old?

Changing Perspectives

(Photo by travelsourced of Pixabay)


My 10 year old niece wrinkled her nose disapprovingly at me across my kitchen island. Clearly she was not a fan of the new center part in my hair.

I had just finished watching video after video of beautiful young women with wrinkle-less faces and flattering center parts in their hair sending the very clear message that side parts, skinny jeans, and the use of the 😂 emoji make us look old.

The origins of this new message to women of the Millennial and Gen X generations originates as far back as fall 2020. Since that time, Gen Z social media influencers, especially on Tik Tok, have been releasing videos suggesting that older women would benefit from changing a few things about themselves in order to stop looking so “old.” According to these influencers, styling your hair in a side part rather than a center part, wearing skinny jeans, and using a particular emoji when interacting electronically dates us.

The message is clear: stop looking so old and embrace some changes in order to look younger and perhaps even more hip again.

So, I did what most women my age would do. I put down my phone and flipped my side part into a center part.

Of course, I was making a desperate attempt to look younger. It’s what millions of women do each time we slather on eye cream, or purchase an “age reversing” skin treatment, or cover our grays with a more youthful hair color.

We try to deny aging, as if it is something about which we should be ashamed. If the messages on social media are to be believed, we SHOULD be ashamed by our age.

Based on my niece’s honest reaction, however, the center part didn’t work.

It wasn’t pretty.

It wasn’t me.

Thankful for her honest reaction, I quickly flipped my hair back to its comfortable side part.

(Photo by stocksnap of Pixabay)

Why should I care if a side part makes me look old?

Don’t my sparkly grey hairs already do that?

Don’t my children who are now approaching young adulthood already do that?

Don’t the wrinkles and fine lines in my face already show the world that I am no longer a spring chicken?

The truth is, I am old.

Why should I hide that?

Why should I be ashamed of my age?

Why can’t my side part be a badge of honor for all that living I’ve done?

Why can’t my skinny jeans mean that I am now an expert in navigating this world as an adult?

Why can’t my use of the 😂 emoji be a signal that I have so much love, laughter, and light in my life that this overused emoji is the one most frequently used?

Ladies, I think it’s time to stop treating aging as an embarrassment.

Embrace your sparkly grey hairs and let them mark how lucky you are to have lived your life.

Smile at those wrinkles and fine lines in your face each night for they are reminders of decades of laughter, years of worry for your children, and the remnants of time basking in the warmth of sunshine.

Grab those reading glasses and wear them proudly as you check the directions on a bottle of pain killers for your achy knees.

Use whatever emoji makes you happy.

Pull on those skinny jeans and sashay your way to the discount racks at the off brand department store.

Remember that you have lived and loved deeply.

Remember that your age is something about which to be proud.

Remember that you are wise and beautiful.

So, beautiful mama, rock that side part and everything it stands for.

You’ve earned it.

(Photo by Jenni Brennan of Changing Perspectives)

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The goal of Changing Perspectives is to provide education, resources, and support to people in the areas of grief, mental health, parenting, and relationships. While the content may sometimes be heavy, I strive to explore it in a way that is light, positive, and inspirational.


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