We're seeing more positive perceptions of growing older.
Vogue’s January cover featured 62-year-old Meryl Streep (possibly its oldest cover girl ever), while cosmetics brand MAC is currently featuring a collaboration with 90-year-old style icon Iris Apfel—pointing to more positive perceptions of growing older, a trend we’re calling Celebrating Aging.
We surveyed 1,055 people in the U.K. and the U.S. while preparing our 2012 trends forecast and found evidence that people are celebrating their age—but women are more likely than men to say they’re embracing their age and that people shouldn’t dread getting older. They are also more likely to have shifted their perceptions around age milestones, regarding 40 as the new 30 and so on.
One reason for the gender gap, suggested by AgeWave founder and CEO Ken Dychtwald, is that “Women and men are not running the same race, because women have a longer distance to go.” He also notes that women are more likely to have fluid identities—e.g., lawyer, mother, wife, caregiver, etc.—while men have a harder time shifting their identity as they move into later stages of life. (For more of Dychtwald’s insights around aging and perceptions of age, see our Q&A.)
Brands can remind both genders that “The best is ahead of you,” as a Żywiec beer campaign does in Poland, encouraging consumers to look forward positively rather than back wistfully.