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Face It: What Women Really Feel as Their Looks Change and What to Do about It Paperback – May 15, 2011
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FACE IT seems to be entirely made up of asking various women the same questions: "When did you first realize you were getting old? When was that 'uh-oh' moment when you realized you are losing your looks?"
Over and over again. We get it. There are women who are afraid of losing their looks. Lots of them, according to this book.
But where are the chapters about what to do about it emotionally, how to cope, and were are instructions to feel good about ourselves? Only the last few pages are given to that, and even that seems to be just a brief over-view.
In the meantime, we hear about a women whose husband constantly cheats on her with younger women. That is supposed to help us? She leaves him only to realize that being a 50-year-old single parent is hard and depressing. We needed to know this from a book?
Then how about the woman who is so afraid that younger women will take her job that she cannot sleep at night. Well guess what: this is a 25-year-old! Sure, she is a model, but what message does it tell us when 25-year-olds are worried about aging? Again, we needed to know this?
Why can't we read about strong women who change their lives for the better when they retire, such as those who take up oil painting, creative writing, or volunteer to feed the homeless? Why doesn't this book encourage women to pursue the things they are passionate about? Where is the meaning? No, this book focuses on the superficial; it seems to encourage women to study themselves in the mirror.
I see no benefits from this book for older women, just continuous messages to increase the aging anxiety. FACE IT repeatedly stresses how this is a society that values youth, that only sees youth as beautiful. Written by two former models, this book concentrates on looks. No matter what it promises, it seems to give the message that when you lose your looks, you are doomed in our society. Husbands will cheat with younger women.
Therefore, I feel the title and the cover is misleading. Sure, it does ask women what they feel about losing their looks (and the authors seem to find insecure women who are depressed about it) but the second part of the title: 'what to do about it', is pretty much non-existant. The entire book seems to be filled with women talking about how awful they feel about getting old.
If you want such a negative and anxiety-provoking book, go for it. Me, I am going to throw it away. I would never give it away, because I would not wish this awful book on any of my women friends. I care about my friends too much for that.
The authors are distinguished mental-health professionals (I believe both are psychologists/therapists). They also were models/performers in their previous careers, so they have a uniquely personal and insightful perspective on how women are judged by their appearance (by themselves and by society) and how women have and should handle their inevitably changing physical appearance as they age. So far, the authors have been very adept at summing up the distortions and psychological issues they and their patients have faced in this arena; I hope the strategies and actions they propose are as valid.
As Dr. Diller explains in the Preface, women in their 40's, 50's, and 60's are "part of a generation brought up with paradoxical messages about beauty -- it matters, it doesn't; it should, it shouldn't. We were raised to believe we could rely on education, money, and talent to control our futures. Yet we now feel out of control over the changes we see in the mirror." If that sentence resonates with you -- as it did for me -- then you will find this book to be very helpful.
The authors take on this contradictory message of what they term "the beauty paradox," which consists of the "two incompatible messages" that women internalize: that they should age naturally, and yet defy aging at any cost. By taking readers through six steps, they try to help readers come to terms with the aging process.
What I also really like about this book is that the authors don't offer any judgment about what anti-aging measures the reader takes. They ask you to think carefully about whether or not you want to start using Botox, have cosmetic procedures, etc., but only to make sure that such measures are right for *you*, not to critique your decisions in any way.
This has been a really helpful book for me, and I definitely recommend it if you are trying to reconcile your own conflicting beliefs about the aging process in today's society.