From Oprah Winfrey’s rousing speech at the Golden Globes this week, to the resignation of BBC’s China Editor Carrie Gracie, and the hashtag campaign #MeToo, women around the world are calling out injustice, inequality and mistreatment.
Oprah succinctly sums up the current mood
So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say “Me too” again.
Everywhere you look, women are tackling issues such as street harassment, the gender pay gap, and they are portrayed in the media and advertising.
There’s one final taboo we still need to address though, ageism, women and grey hair.
Whilst many women will notice the first grey hairs in their mid-thirties, by their fifties many will be 50% grey. Yet where are all the grey haired female role models in Hollywood? The number of celebrities and high profile women who have embraced grey hair are in the minority. Women are standing up to just about everything but ironically are still dying their hair to disguise greyness, a sure sign of increasing age.
We denounce ageism, yet collude in valuing an agelessness.
Actress Selma Blair found herself the subject of grey hair shaming when a zoomed in image of her grey roots appeared in a tabloid newspaper. Selma fought back on Instagram, sharing the image again with her own comeback: “Thanks to this thoughtful paparazzi dude who has given me such a warm and fuzzy feeling”.
Even the Duchess of Cambridge has not escaped this grey hair scrutiny when images of her appeared online showing a few silver strands.
Whether thousands of women globally continue to dye their hair down to personal preference, peer pressure or ageism is a matter of debate.
Enter the new female ageism warriors showing up in the world unapologetically older and greyer. They are a small but growing band of silver hair women spearheading a ‘pro ageing’ agenda, dismissing the idea that wrinkles and grey hair diminish them.
Cindy Joseph 64 model and creator of BOOM, a pro age cosmetic range, Yasemeenah Rossi 60 actress, model and photographer and Daphne Selfe 89 dubbed the ‘world’s oldest professional model’, have steadfastly refused to dye their natural grey and silver locks. These pro age revolutionaries are challenging the stigma of being an older women in society.
This is nothing to do with growing older gracefully, a disempowering notion there’s a right and wrong way to age, but women who expect freedom of choice.
After colouring my hair for two decades, and at the age of 54, I have decided to join these silver sisters. I am defying the naysayers who insist I will look ten years older, and embracing my 50 shades of growing greyness.
All women are valid, our worthiness is not dependent on looking fantastic for our age, or the colour of our hair. This ‘new day’, Oprah refers to, requires more women stepping up and challenging everything that serves to disempower us.