Looking Great for Your Age — Why It’s Not a Good Thing (Sponsored)

Thank you to RoC Skincare for collaborating with me on this post. All opinions are my own.

#foryouage campaign - share stories of "for your age" backhanded compliments

You look great for your age. It’s supposed to be a compliment, I guess. But what if someone told you, “you look great for your weight,” or “for your height?” Why does age, or anything else, need to qualify how great you look?

Language is a funny thing, too. Because I’d bet that folks who dole out the backhanded “for your age” compliment have the best intentions. They’re certainly not terrible and evil people. But somewhere along the way, they’ve absorbed the (fairly common) belief that beauty fades with age. And the “for your age” flattery, once spoken, perpetuates that idea.

What’s your take on “for your age” compliments? If you find them annoying, you’re not alone. RoC Skincare recently conducted a national survey with Wakefield Research to uncover how women over 40 really feel about the misguided flattery. Turns out, most women would prefer no compliment over an age-qualified one. Other insights from the study include:

  • Women have been told they look good “for their age” typically every six weeks in the past year
  • 88% of New York women ages 40+ have been told they look “great for their age” in the past year. Of the cities surveyed, they are the most likely to hear this compliment.
  • More than 60% of women have altered their behavior after being told their actions were not “age-appropriate”
  • However, 88% refuse to conform to societal standards set for women their age.

Flipping the Script on “For Your Age” Compliments

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could change the dialogue about beauty — if women over 40 could be beautiful, strong, fearless and great, period? I wonder how it would go down if we older ladies just started yelling at any utterance of the “for your age” phrase. A new type of compliment might surface, something like, “you’re so calm for your age.” Hmm. Maybe not the best outcome. Scratch that strategy.

Instead, let’s create awareness about the negativity embedded in those backhanded compliments. Share your examples of receiving modified with #ForYourAge. Together we can inspire a more positive dialogue and start defining beauty on our own terms.

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Catherine Brock

Catherine Brock is a writer, editor and marketer who's been sharing wisdom online since 2002. She's been featured on DrLaura.com, Wellness.com and ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis and KCAL9 Los Angeles. Connect with Catherine on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter. Learn more about Catherine.
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