When I was asked to reflect on Menopause Awareness Month, I realized something: the September issue of Vogue was lying on my coffee table.  Or should I say, weighing it down?  The September issue is considered the fashionista’s bible – although, at 726 pages, it’s closer in size and shape to the yellow pages for a major urban center.

The infamous issue features a glowing Halle Berry, who at 44 is one of the magazine’s oldest cover girls (though Vogue does sometimes feature first ladies, who tend to be a bit older that your average supermodel).  Berry is radiant, and she talks about her acting career, her workout regime, and her young daughter Nahla.

Berry adamantly denies having had plastic surgery.  And there really isn’t the kind of photographic evidence to the contrary that we find for so many actresses “of a certain age.”  I’m glad.  We need role models who accept their aging faces.  Although in truth, Berry is the beneficiary of a confluence of factors that add up to her beautiful package – luck-of-the-draw genetics, a grueling fitness routine and strict diet to help her assuage the effects of diabetes, and the financial success that gives her the resources for personal trainers, stylists, designer clothes. So let’s face it–she’s not your average 40-something woman.

Still, when a major style setter such as Vogue declares, ‘Here’s this woman who is beautiful and sexy and she’s in her mid-40s,’ it does send out a positive message.  And Vogue isn’t alone in this.  September’s Elle magazine features Julia Roberts (nearly 43), who when asked about plastic surgery, asserts:

“It’s unfortunate that we live in such a panicked, dysmorphic society where women don’t even give themselves a chance to see what they’ll look like as older persons. I want to have some idea of what I’ll look like before I start cleaning the slates. I want my kids to know when I’m pissed, when I’m happy, and when I’m confounded. Your face tells a story… and it shouldn’t be a story about your drive to the doctor’s office.”

September’s Bazaar is featuring the youngest of the three, Jennifer Aniston (41), looking cool, calm, and years removed from her Branjelina tabloid scandals.

Granted, these women are not in their late 40s, and for their sakes, I hope they haven’t yet experienced the joys of hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, thickening waists, and memory lapses.  But their presence front-and-center in a media that worships anorexic teenagers is a very good thing.  I hope this starts a trend.  I hope these women – and by extension, the hundreds of thousands of us who buy these magazines – continue to embrace their appearance as wrinkles do start to make inroads on their flawless faces.

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  • Sheri August 30, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    With September being Menopause Awareness Month, I thought I would drop you a line. I am 51 years old and had a hysterectomy over 25 years ago. Though I was told about the side effects, for me because of stress in my home; I did not experience the symptoms right away. Actually I began noticing changes almost 20 years later. At first, I began to journal about the symptoms because I didn’t associate them with menopause. After annual examination, my doctor confirmed that I was smack dab in the midst of menopause. In sharing my journal with my mom she encouraged me to write a book to let other women know that they do not have to suffer in silence. I have done just that. I have a desire to walk this journey with as many sister-friends as I can. Because of the internet and social media, knowledge about menopause is readily available to us, but having the knowledge and applying it to our lives is a different story. We women must stick together and enrich, encourage and engage one another to be their own healthcare advocate.
    Thank you for all that you do.

    P.S. In all you do, don’t forget to PAUSE!