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Antonella Festa

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How can the Fashion and Media industry make Aging more attractive and offer more fair representations of age in the media?

The industry and society at large seem to remain youth obsessed and focused on a very narrow concept of beauty and age while anxiety over appearance is becoming endemic along with stigma surrounding ageing.
The hypothesis explored here is one that perhaps might challenge the traditional concept of youth worshipped by the fashion and media industry in favour of a more inclusive and diverse representation of ageing that might benefit our body image but also still remain commercially viable...
If the fashion and media industry want to provide more fair and inclusive representations of beauty how can they make age look more attractive?

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  • Jun 21 2012: We all want to live forever ... but nobody wants to grow old..

    Maybe we need to change our sense of values through life. Its may be OK for a 19 year old to be over concerned about the shape of his / her butt for a short period of their lives. A person at 60 should be more concerned about wisdom and meaning in life. Perhaps the focus needs to be shifted to the idea that wisdom can also be "commercially viable"

    .... But this is a real paradox...

    Anyone with any wisdom at all would tell you that all the fuss about commercially viable body image is just nonsense in the first place .....
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    Jun 21 2012: An interesting anomaly arises in marketing and advertising, an area which is both youth focused and youth staffed. These industries aim to increase sales or market share. Yet both industries focus on younger age groups. Any advertising aimed at older people is crass and stereotyped. If ou don't belive this, try varying the age on a Facebook account and see what sort of adverts you get. Up to a certain point it will include films, fashion, sports, adventure holidays and the like. Then hit a certain point and all that stuff disappears to be replaced by ads referring specifically to age, and even ads for incontinence underwear.The advertising and marketing industries are showing themselves to be immature by ignoring a large proportion of potential customers.

    Despite the stereotype of armchair and carpet slippers, an increasing number of people in their 50s and 60s and 70s are using their disposable income to become involved in activities which weren't available to them when they are younger. Many continue sports and other hobbies well past their retirement. Many take the opportunity to travel.

    So what does the advertising industry need to do? Perhaps get an independent outsider to review its output and assess it for systematic discrimination? But it would take a very brave organisation to do that, publicise the results, and act on them.
  • Jun 20 2012: Youth is targeted because they have not had as much time to learn wisdom in spending money. Life is alive in youth and money flows more freely. Older folks have made their mistakes and they spend less, generally. May we reasonably assume this?

    Advertising must some how get at the "best" of behavior, benefits, safety in wisdom and other possible approaches that "youth" will see. However, how many 70 year old folks do you see on a surf board hanging ten? (Other examples, please!)

    You bring up to us a good topic. What do others say?

    Peace,
    MK
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    Jun 26 2012: If the fashion and media wants to make getting older as beautiful as youthfulness, then they have to get rid of the shallow and superficial expressions of beauty and see it from a holistic point of view.
    They would have to accept and express the fact that physical beauty or 'looking good' is not the most important or most desirable human attribute; and that there is more to a human being than a pretty face, a well-toned body, or silky smooth skin.
    What use is the beauty of a supermodel to his or her spouse who had gone through hell in a marriage?
    What use is the beauty of a terrorist's bag that contains an explosive, that may soon cause death and destruction?

    If a fair and inclusive representation of beauty is to be attained, the fashion and media industry would have to leave their fantasy world where humans remain young and carefree forever, for the real world where all humans age with time.

    But sadly, this will never happen. Advertising is meant to make consumers feel that their life is inadequate and falls short of a rosy ideal, unless one product is bought. There is always one product that would make you sexier, happier, trendier, etc.

    Older people must have fallen for this trap in their past, and most have learnt from experience that more often than not, the rosy dreams are baits that are meant to strip consumers of their hard-earned wealth.
    Advertisers are aware of this, so they know who to bait, and what to use.
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    Jun 23 2012: They do not have to make it happen. They only have to make you believe that it is possible.

    PT Barnum: There is a sucker born every minute.

    All the best. Bob
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    Jun 26 2012: I think that the first thing we have to learn to do is to accpet people as they are. How do you know an old cat from a young one on sight? The older one has a different physique, right? We need to accept that reality for human beings. I am scared that the male agenda of beauty is based on wqomen being ill. No one my age is as skinny as I am unless they are very ill or they have lived in a terribly domineering relationship (generally). So I think women should work to accept themselves and court good health rather than unhealthy men.