Slavenka Draculic at Eurozine:
Perhaps it is only Americans who are blessed with an optimistic view of old age where it's possible to flirt with a stranger at seventy or eighty or – who knows – at ninety. The problem is that they impose it on the rest of the world. There's a whole beauty industry out there, helping women to achieve that goal. Emancipated or less emancipated, women are easily persuaded by the fashion, cosmetics, body-shaping and food industries, so that today it's not necessary to look old; so many products are on their disposal, all you need to do is buy them. Indeed, it has never been easier to hide your age. Look at another role model, Jane Fonda: the right food, special gymnastics and cosmetics (not to mention a little bit of plastic surgery) and every seventy-six year old woman can look twenty years younger – that is, still able to show herself without feeling shame. Therefore there is no reason to look your age; on the contrary, it is indecent to “let yourself go”. Not only impolite, but indecent, just like spitting in public or even worse.
The dominant ideology of eternal youth (and health, which is just another word for eternity) suggests that with the help of science, it is possible not only to look good but to overcome any illness that befalls you and to live long too. The latest findings in biology, stem cell research and glycobiology have already been put to use in the battle against ageing. One cosmetic product based on glycans is the suggestively named Forever Youth Liberator.