Are you hot or what?

They’ve found the elixir of life Looking young made easy by Sreedevi and JLo

They’ve found the elixir of life Looking young made easy by Sreedevi and JLo   | Photo Credit: Photos: R. Ragu and AP

Women today are taking more care to knock off at least 10 years from their age as they head for the 40s, observes NANDHINI SUNDAR

Eyelids heavy with eyeliner, hot pants so tiny it makes you wonder if they are something else, Madonna, 50, stares from the cover of her new CD. Her perfect body can give a 20-something enough reason to feel awkward. If you thought Madonna was a lone crusader cheating on the years, a quick look at the likes of J Lo and Gwyneth Paltrow would show that the 30-something women seem more like in their twenties.

Does that mean women are now able to successfully knock a neat 10 years off their age? Is this a product of a new mindset that feels younger? Or is it just the effect of Botox and chemical peels added to the obsession of keeping slim and fit, whatever be your age.

An interesting fact here is that “youth” is surfacing not just in celebrities who can afford the best trainers, hairdressers and make-up artistes, but in women across the board who could be successful career women or simply home makers.

The young-ness is not just in looks but a mindset and an attitude, as compared to women of a similar age in the past. This manifests in both behaviour as well as physical strength, which belies the actual age.

Scientists believe that while longevity may be increasing, the physical ageing of the population may be getting delayed. They contend that the longer span of life psychologically prompts people to behave younger than they actually are. This would explain the youth syndrome not just in women but men too.

In a survey covering people in 42 countries, global research group AC Nielson found 60 per cent of Americans (who are by far the largest consumers in both cosmetic surgery and anti-ageing skincare), considering the 60s to be their new middle age. Forties was viewed as the decade where life really started, with a high comfort and confidence level experienced in both personal as well as financial terms.

If life really started in the 40s, it is but natural to want to look young and feel fit. While fitness regimes and healthy eating figure in the picture, cosmetic treatments rule high on the list to complement this youth within. Pushing the clock back by 10 years is thus no more an odd element but an accepted part of ageing.

Says Anita, a homemaker into her 40s: “It is not so much about the number that one bothers, but the realisation that half your life is over and you are now stepping into the less-energetic half.”

According to her, this prompts a need to keep fit, look younger and feel younger. “This mindset, coupled with fitness, has the potential to knock a decade off your age as compared to similar age groups in the past.”

While youth does have an edge, women in their 40s could look equally chic and confident. One needs to look no further than the American elections where Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin looked charming and fashionable.

Adds Dr. Vijayamalathi, “Unlike in the past, women are no more confined to the home. The number of women working has increased and so has the fashion consciousness. The need to look young is very much there and is further prompted by higher level of socialisation.” According to her, regular exercise, yoga, visits to the gym has ensured women not only remain fit but look far younger. Women are also paying greater attention to the care of their skin and grooming.Concurs Sheethal, an executive in her late 30s: “Looking fit and attractive boosts your confidence and morale. With increased awareness about grooming and health, and with beauty salons mushrooming all over, it is but natural for women to try and look far younger than their counterparts in the past.”

Perhaps it is not too far for even ordinary mortals to do a Madonna act. Of course, minus the hot pants!


Women are making that extra effort to rewind a good 10 years

Botox may help in the process

Some manage to take good care of their skin, follow a fitness regime

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