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Rethinking Attractiveness in the Age of Wisdom

Updated: Feb 14

In a world fixated on youth and beauty, discussions among women in their 40s often inevitably turn toward appearance. This societal obsession, fueled by commercialization and skewed beauty standards, places undue pressure on women to conform to an ideal that prizes youth over experience.


In a world made up of different races, sizes and colours, what is the gold-standard of beauty? Is it baby face, large eyes, small nose, small chin, long eyelashes, arch brows, smooth skin, plump lips? Or is it having high cheekbones or pearly whites; a smiling face and powerful gaze? Some proponents of beauty go further to state “fertility” as a measure of attractiveness.

This article delves into the complex relationship between...

  • Aging

  • Attractiveness

  • Societal Expectations

Redefining Attractiveness - Am I Pretty?

Two middle aged women on sofa smiling
Attractiveness, especially in the context of relationships, can mean different things to different people.

While physical appeal may play a role, attributes like emotional connection, shared values, and mutual respect often hold greater significance over time.

The Changing Landscape of Relationships

Studies indicate a decrease in physical attraction among married couples as they age, with men sometimes drawn to youthful appearances. However, this shift in attraction DOES NOT necessarily diminish the love and commitment within a marriage.

Women, on the other hand, often find values like closeness and compatibility growing stronger, even if physical attractiveness evolves.

The Inescapable March of Time

As women enter their 40s, they face the inevitable changes brought on by aging, including alterations in skin elasticity and body shape.

These changes can be particularly challenging in a society that equates youth with beauty. Menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats add to the complexity, affecting both physical appearance and emotional well-being.

The Downside of Beauty Obsession

When the society obsesses over ageing as a measure of woman’s attractiveness, it can manifest into toxic and disastrous consequences.

There is a fallout in the areas of certain jobs which find older women unsuitable purely based on their date of birth. Older women are prejudged on their ability and worthiness to work and handle pressure, and even paid less for the same work which man half her age would do.

While women keep rediscovering their love of their body, there is something disturbing and unstoppable happening in their lives....

  • The body clock is working in the opposite direction at 40. With age and depleting estrogen, the skin loses its elasticity and plumpness, making the body stretch out awkwardly looking saggy.

  • Some women become overweight because of the drop in oestrogen, unable to maintain a desired body type.

  • Other women develop visible signs on hair and skin with fine lines, pockmarks, and discoloration.

  • Vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats significantly influence how a woman feels - adding to a flushed appearance, irritability, grumpiness and the effects of disruption in the quality of sleep, which is caused by fatigue and sleep deprivation.

The way the body is reacting to the clock at an unbelievable speed only restates how youthfulness is shedding from the crevices of the skin and body, very rapidly.

With age also comes broken relationships and the emotional baggage of kids, which complicates a middle-aged woman’s prospects of attractiveness and appeal.

Seeking Companionship: Beyond the Surface

In the quest for partners, personality traits often outweigh physical attributes. Men may value a fun and confident partner, while women often appreciate humor, intelligence, and kindness.

Fortunately, these qualities do not diminish with age, offering a silver lining for those who bring a vibrant personality to their relationships.

The Misconception of Aging Well

The concept of aging well should focus on health and vitality, not just maintaining a youthful appearance. However, societal pressures and commercial interests often skew this perception, promoting anti-aging products at the cost of embracing natural aging processes.

Businesses are still continuing to thrive on the insecurities of women and a false expectation of them to look far younger than their birth age. Women find it hard to get an equal footing in the society purely based on their wisdom, strength and ability to learn new things, if looks were to be ignored completely.

In 2021, a study showed 90% internet penetration among Singaporeans, and elderly are becoming digital savvy. Yet the attractiveness quotient, and its implications are solely resting on appearance, women are supposed to hide their age and invest in products which companies sell, such as anti ageing creams, skin care routines, hair regrowth and botox; some of which may cost an arm and a leg, and even be detrimental to their health.

Navigating Aging with Cognitive Behavior Therapy

For women struggling with the psychological impact of aging, cognitive behavior therapy offers a way to address these challenges, helping to rebuild self-esteem and a positive self-image. A list of cognitive behavior therapists in Singapore can be found here.


It's time to challenge and redefine societal notions of attractiveness and embrace the beauty that comes with age and experience. By fostering a more inclusive view of beauty, we can create a society that values wisdom and depth as much as it does youth and appearance.


Important Notes:This article is meant purely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon as medical advice. Always consult a medical professional for specific advice on your health. This article has not been reviewed by any medical professionals or legal bodies.




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