The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Opinion | Aging is no longer acceptable

Amy Sanchez

On Sept. 28 of this year, British actress and activist Jameela Jamil made a post on her Instagram in which she criticized the intense obsession with aging — or rather staying “young” — in LA. 

“You have no idea until you stop seeing it how crazy the conditioning is, to become accustomed to only seeing men look as though they have lived,” Jamil wrote in response to a change in her environment during a trip to Europe. “I don’t mean to shame anyone with fillers or Botox, because many of them look beautiful. But is it not also beautiful to see variety and signs of life and expression?”

At first glance, I didn’t think much of the post. As a young woman, I try my best to refrain from discouraging other women from getting any cosmetic procedures that might make them feel more confident. However, as I thought more about Jamil’s message, I started to question just how voluntary these attempts at preventing aging are. 

As my mom stretches into her fifties, self-deprecating comments about her appearance or contemplations on whether or not she should get Botox have become more and more common. I find it difficult to see or understand the flaws that she seems to point out with such clarity, so I thought I would delve more into the subject on my own.

While anti-aging practices have been in place for hundreds of years, a war on wrinkles and any physical signs of aging seems to have only grown stronger with the normalization of Botox in recent years.

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In one article from The New York Times, dermatologist Panta Rouhani Schaffer said that the influx in patients requesting Botox was first seen in the past few years due to the pandemic, “ … when people have spent so much time staring at themselves on screens.”

This increase in botox usage isn’t exclusive to middle-aged women: Some millennials and Gen Zers have claimed that they plan on starting Botox in their twenties or thirties. 

Young women are more inclined than ever before to alter their appearance for societal approval with the emergence of preventative Botox, a practice that uses Botox to treat wrinkles that haven’t even appeared yet. However, this trendy injection has been criticized and disclaimed by multiple dermatologists and estheticians who refuse to treat patients that are too young.

The ultimate effects of this popularized beauty procedure can be seen on more than just the face.

By normalizing the need to change one’s face as they age, society creates pressure for women to seize their youth for as long as possible before they reach a predetermined expiration date.

Although being in control of your own appearance can be empowering, feeling a need to comply with an impossible-to-meet beauty standard is quite the opposite.

When I look at the lines that trace my mom or any other woman’s face, I see the life that she has lived and the places she has been. I see the variety and authenticity that Jamil was so desperate to find outside of a world of manufactured smiles, and I find myself hoping that I will be able to look proudly at that same beauty in myself one day.


Hailey is a sophomore in Business.

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Amy Sanchez
Amy Sanchez, Graphics Editor
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