Stephanie Dolgoff's blog about losing her looks at 40 has prompted intense debate. Will her observations bring some sense to society's pressure on women to look younger, or is sex appeal based on more than just self-image?
As an attractive 30-something woman, Stephanie Dolgoff was used to getting attention from men. Then she turned 40 and the wolf whistles stopped.
Bruised by the reaction (or lack of), Dolgoff began blogging about what she described as her ‘formerly hot life – dispatches from just the other side of young’.
Three years later and the blog has become a best-selling book, causing major controversy in America and now the UK. Dolgoff talks about the belly she can’t shift, the facial creases that won’t smooth away, and a butt that is no longer tight since turning 40.
‘What I and many other women are experiencing is the moment they don’t get that second look on the street,’ says Dolgoff, now 43. ‘How do you manage those changes?’
However, critics argue that Dolgoff is wrong to suggest that ‘hotness’ is about aesthetics alone. ‘At first the word ‘hot’ referred to my physical appearance, but since then I have realized it is about other things, too,’ she says in response. ‘This is about obsessing over your looks. I’m writing – and joking, people seem to miss that – about how society perceives women who are not young.
‘I feel hotter now than I did at 20,’ she continues. It’s the evolution from thinking of the outside looking in to the inside looking out.’
So does her journey reflect how the rest of us feel? Is it OK to mourn our younger selves, or should we embrace the aging process, warts and all. Can an older woman really look as ‘hot’ as someone 20 years younger?
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