How to Age Beautifully in Spite of Media Messages
Wow, this is a big topic, and many in our community of ‘Little White Liars’ have been busy weighing in. Let me ask you this: How many of us HAVEN’T felt like we’ve been bombarded with media messages that whack us in one (or more) of our deepest fear places?? I don’t see any hands up!
So if this is true, what do we do? Can we avoid media in our lives? Joie Gharrity, Visibility and Influence Expert with 113 Branding, has this rather sobering answer. She says: “We have to pay attention to the media; we can’t avoid it. Billboards are everywhere. When I’m traveling, I can’t help noticing in the airports there are monitors everywhere you go. So media’s constantly showing up.” Media shows up on television, movies, the internet, apps and devices, streaming music, in magazines, on buses, benches and shopping bags – oh my!
Showing up is one thing, the messages we’re getting from the media is another.
As Joie shared with us on my recent Little White Lie Movement show (here’s the replay to get all the details!), these messages can “really get into your head and your spirit” when they tell you that you’re too old, you’re too skinny, you’re too fat, you’re not pretty, you’re too wrinkled, you’re too this…, you’re not enough that…
And the really sobering part is that this is the whole intention of media. The bottom line is to sell, and a very effective way to do that is to instill in us a sense of fear and lack, so that we subconsciously need that thing they’re selling. “Media literally has this strategy,” says Joie, “of, ‘how can we pour more salt into the fear model of getting older?’”
The result? Joie believes it’s a media that’s out of touch with what’s really out there. If people can’t feel they can relate to these fantasy images of youth and perfection, if they can’t see themselves in these images and messages, then for whom are ‘they’ (that mysterious thing called ‘the media’) spending all that money creating content?
So, again, what do we do?
Well, while we may have to accept the fact that media is out there, everywhere, selling us fear, we DO NOT have to absorb it into our lives and believe the messages we’re hearing.
This is key, LWL’ers! This is why I started the Little White Lie Movement, taking public my journey to grow out my hair to its natural color which is the purest of WHITE, defying society’s message that having white/gray/silver hair is for old ladies (I had just turned 60 when I began the transition). The Little White Lie Movement is about exploring all the different aspects of aging, about being comfortable in the skin you’re in and reflecting that magnificence on the outside as well.
How do you show up in the world confidently when the media plays on your fears?
Take control of your exposure. Joie felt so indoctrinated in the media (after all, for over 15 years she worked in the heart of it all, the Hollywood movie industry) that it’s taken several years for her to come to a place of owning her own confidence, of loving herself the way she is. She came to a point in her life of setting some intentions to help her “get past some of the hurdles of getting older,” as she puts it, to take more control over the media’s effect on her. Here’s what she did:
- Canceled every women’s magazine subscription she had been getting
- Made careful decisions on what she reads and where she goes online; thoughtfully selecting news feeds that support instead of tear down
- Stopped watching local broadcast TV. She only watches HBO, Showtime, etc. programs, with no commercial ads
Make a difference with your dollars.
Can we change the culture? We at the Little White Lie Movement believe that community CAN make change. Joie captures it beautifully: “Together as a community we [all people] can. It all comes down to influence. Our dollars matter. We are making a statement when we make decisions not to support something we don’t believe in. If we are more mindful of where we are putting our dollars and cents, you’d be surprised at how fast people on the other side of the media who aren’t taking it seriously will start to take it seriously.
Joie shared this observation ~
“Recently I saw a window display in a shop in downtown San Francisco. Behind a many-thousand-dollar outfit, a sign said, ‘We should all be feminists.’ I felt outrage boiling up inside me. This brand (that I won’t name) was using a trend we’re in right now, leveraging it to sell their clothes, believing I’ll walk into that store and buy something because we relate. Well, that tells me that these are empty calories they’re trying to sell me. Not only will I not walk into your store, but I will never purchase another garment from you again. Feminism is not a fashion trend — feminists are not going away, and you’re not going to put us back in the shadows!”
Yeah, sister! We need to be heard and seen at every age and every stage of our journey. Being intentional about our choices and making a statement on behalf of our authentic selves are major ways to do that. I started with a commitment to myself to change the way I was showing up in the world because dyeing my hair didn’t feel true to “me.”
And it’s gone ‘way beyond my commitment to my own way of showing up. This Little White Lie movement isn’t a ‘fluff piece,’ and I’m here to tell you, it’s not going away!
Thank you, Joie Gharrity, and all of you who are choosing not to accept automatically what society tells you to do, feel, fear, and buy. To embrace your authentic self, talents, beauty, gifts, and, YES, your own Little White Lie. I promise you — this community has your back!
Are you in? Then we want to hear from you. Get into the conversation and take part in the direction of TLWL Movement! Here’s how:
1) Answer this question in the comments below: “How Do You Show Up in the World When the Media Plays on Your Fears?”
2) Take my survey on www.TheLittleWhiteLie.com where you see the question: “What is your biggest concern about aging?”
3) Share your thoughts on Facebook and use the hashtag #LittleWhiteLie.
Thanks for joining the Little White Liars!