The Great Gray Female War (for Boomers)

To continue my silvercat journey I’ve found a piece in Time Magazine called the War Over Going Gray. Written by author Anne Kreamer of the book Going Gray, which I hope to read/review.

It points out, among other things, that men prefer women with gray hair…

It Begins

“In 2005, at the age of 48 and practically on a whim, I decided — after nearly a quarter-century of every-three-weeks hair-salon coloring — to buck convention and stop dyeing my hair. And I found to my surprise that by visually challenging my peers (if I was really gray, so must they be!), I unwittingly landed myself on the front lines of a public struggle — literally superficial but at the same time almost existentially meaningful to American women — with the vicissitudes of age.

“Friends and strangers responded to my newly revealed natural hair color in one of two ways: a sort of proud, sometimes sanctimonious right-on-sister enthusiasm from fellow gray-haired women or an equally proud, sometimes resentful don’t-judge-my-choices-I-do-this-to-feel-good-about-me defensiveness in the comments of the committed-to-dyeing cohort. Hardly anyone was lukewarm in their reactions, which suggests to me we may have a contentious new baby-boomer argument over gray hair that is as mutually judgmental as the mommy wars between working and stay-at-home mothers was in the 1980s and ’90s.

They say it’s for work…

“…most baby-boomer women have held on to the hedonistic forever-young part of their Woodstock dreams a lot more tenaciously than to the open-and-honest part.

“And in doing so, they have presided over a narrowing of the range of acceptable looks for women. Women may be CEOs, Cabinet officers and TV-news anchors and may openly indulge their sexual appetites — but only if they appear eternally youthful. And a main requirement is a hair color other than gray or white.

“Ironically, it’s feminism’s success that has driven today’s widespread, virtually obligatory camouflage of gray hair…women in all kinds of professions report feeling similar pressure.

But, it’s really a personal choice

“Interestingly, women apparently aren’t as fearful of the negative professional implications of gray as the personal ones. Clairol research reports that the 71% of women who dye their hair do so in order to “look and feel more attractive.”

“I assumed that if I accurately reported my age and posted first a photo of myself with gray hair and then, three months later, the same image with brown hair, that the photo with brown hair would be deemed more attractive by more of the Match.com men.

“I couldn’t have been more wrong. Among Match.com-ers in New York City, Chicago and — most shocking of all — Los Angeles, three times as many men were interested in going out with me when my hair was gray as when it was dyed. This blew my mind.

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