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Embrace your grey: Society’s double-standard for aging men and women

Does anyone else feel exasperated with the whole “women must cover their grey hair” message? Daily, we are fed images of grey haired men, being told they are distinguished, successful, powerful and that they are even sexy, mature “silver foxes”, yet at the same time we women are taught to be horrified at the thought of our greying selves.

It still bemuses me why on EARTH it is considered a female’s obligation to look young her whole life while, insultingly, her male contemporaries are free to age with happy abandon — leading men such as Russell Crowe (age 51) George Clooney (age 54), and Daniel Day-Lewis (age 58) are all joyfully rocking the grey, yet fellow stars like Demi Moore (age 52), Geena Davis (age 56), and Sigourney Weaver (age 65) must hide it (or presumably lose any chance of work).

If in reality women are actually greying younger, it’s probably due to this horrendous double standard. 

We regularly see similarly-aged couples both in the media and in reality; miraculously, the women always seem to have youthful, coloured hair, while the men are all grey. Last time I looked, all human beings grow grey hairs with age. Why are we still supposed to believe that women don’t age?

We need to believe that we can be vibrant, successful, and empowered as we age. This includes loving our grey hair and all the wonderful things it symbolizes. Not just embracing and celebrating grey prematurely for fun, (which is very cool I must say), but learning to love our real, natural greyness.

I’m all for the creative fun of coloring our hair on and off. I’m NOT for it being a requirement aimed predominantly at women in order to “hide” grey hair. It should be a choice we individually make: “Hmm… do I feel like being grey this week? Yes I do!” or “I feel like going red”. It should not be done out of a fear of letting the world know that women do, in fact, grow older.

Hey, society: Old women exist. Female grey hair exists and it’s wonderful. Get used to it.

Love your greys, girls!

Elizabeth is a Human History Museum professional and part time artist from New Zealand. Over the years, her growing exasperation at the media’s uncontested obsession with womens’ appearance and youth has driven her to either self combust or start blogging. She chose the latter.

6 thoughts on “Embrace your grey: Society’s double-standard for aging men and women

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  1. Agree 100%
    I get frustrated every time I see an advert for hair dye that states “covers greys”. Yeah, no kidding Garnier (or whomever), it is just another colour…. Good skills guys! I’ve never died my hair and at 36 I have a collection of greys. They can stay – I’ve earned them!

  2. Hello! Thank you very much for the useful article. It is a pity that before I did not stumble upon this article, when my mother began to appear the first gray hair. She is very difficult to endure the appearance of the first gray. I had to look for how to cheer her up. But this article is great!

    By the way, the https://menshaircuts.com/undercut-fade-haircut/ site helped me earlier. This site has helped to make a worthy appearance of all new and new gray hair.

  3. This pandemic created an opportunity for me to let it go grey. I did. It shocked me how much older I look, but I also feel empowered. I asked my partner if I’m less attractive because I’ve chosen to let nature shine. He said, “Well, you look older.” (That pissed me off.) I said, “Why is it that you–as a man–embrace your aging and are completely grey, but I’m expected to keep dying my hair? You don’t dye your hair. It’s a double standard. What side do you stand on?” He said, “What side do you think I should stand on.” (That also pissed me off.) “What’s your answer?” I said. He said, “It should be equal.” (I have no idea if he really feels that way, or whether he was saying what I wanted.) I’m not dying my hair anymore no matter what anyone feels. I’m sick of the double standard in American society; it’s time women stopped being treated unfairly.

  4. Wonderful Ell!!! I am right beside on you on your decision to love your grey. I too am totally fed up with the archaic message that grey haired men are acceptable while women must never go grey, it’s insane in this modern era that so many women are targeted in this way by media and advertising. I say grey it all the way unless you CHOOSE for fun to colour your hair <3

  5. It’s sooo frustrating that we still have to battle double standards, We can’t even age normally. Where’s the point of pretending that we’ll going to be young forever?

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