TNewtonPicThe Get Smart women are confused. An article about anti-aging cream for women in their twenties made its way into our ‘virtual office’ (otherwise known as our secret facebook group).

Here’s the article.

Origins believes the skin of twenty-somethings is aging, and they have the perfect fix. They’ll market it with apps for customizing selfies, and they’ll semi-ironically use the theme of the quarter life crisis. We Get Smart women are Origins’ target market. We are women in our late teens or twenties. We have an active online presence. Yet we are baffled.

Let me tell you more about us. Get Smart is a non-profit organization running mentoring programs in schools to inspire and encourage young women. Get Smart also has an active online presence including a blog, which is where we – the Get Smart writers – come in. We write about issues relevant to women, from their teens and beyond. Our goal is to promote positivity, forward thinking, and leadership.

So if there’s something to help with the quarter life crisis, we want to hear about it. Then why are we confused?

The quarter life crisis is the anxiety of transitioning from a ‘young adult’ to an ‘adult.’ It’s the period when we have to deal with issues like:

  • How do we choose a career? We’ve been studying, and studying, and studying. Every stage was a stepping stone. Even if we didn’t like it, that was okay – the next semester, year, or school was coming up. Now, there are no more stepping stones; we have to choose The Career, and we face the anxiety of choosing wrong and hating it.
  • We’re thousands in debt for student loans, living away from home, and yet we’re still contemplating whether we should do an unpaid internship or work in a local bar until, just maybe, we get a paid job in a field we want.
  • We’re in our late-twenties, but we still can’t afford to rent our own flat. We have to lock our bedroom door because our belongings keep mysteriously making their way into our flatmate’s room.

If you look the quarter life crisis up on Wikipedia, several key words are present: lost, scared, lonely, confused, stress, anxiety, isolation.

Cosmetics and makeup word cloudSo Origins, thank you very much, but your moisturizer – lovely as it may be – is not going to resolve all of this. Your claims to fix it might be semi-ironic, but it won’t even semi-help.

Now, don’t get us wrong, we’re not against using moisturizer. You do you. If a luxury moisturizer makes you feel good, then please, go right ahead. What’s important is doing what makes you confident.

Online or Offline

Origins, your app might make selfies fun, but as fellow Get Smart woman Sara says,

SVallejopic“I don’t try too hard to censor my online physical image. This is how I look. It’s the same face I show my colleagues, my friends. It’s my face and I like it.”

Why not help us be positive about our skin in real life? We want to feel confident when we see our friends, when we go to work or school, when we go on dates. Yet your marketing concept is body negative. Yes, our skin is aging. It’s aging from the day we’re born. As another Get Smart woman, RayShaunda, says:

RHarrisPic“Doesn’t your skin age as you age? The problem probably truly relates to stress levels associated with twenty-somethings being higher.”

We’re under pressure.  Don’t try to stress us out further by informing us we’re too old, when really… we’re only 25. We don’t need to use this moisturiser, then take a selfie, and then decorate it with little stickers to look good.

This Campaign Brings Women Down

What we need to remember, when we’re struggling with a quarter life crisis, is:

  1. This is normal. Everyone is struggling with this existential crisis.
  2. It will be okay. Sometimes it might seem like you’ll be trapped in this liminal zone between studenthood and adulthood forever, but that’s not true.
  3. Remember your good points. There are many reasons for an employer to hire you; make sure you don’t forget them.
  4. The decisions you make today may affect your whole life, but not as much as you think. We’re young. We can change our career paths in the future.
  5. So focus on now. Take things one step at a time. Don’t be afraid to try things because you’re worried about how it will look twenty years from now.
  6. Work out your priorities – but know that you don’t have to know everything yet.
  7. You’re not alone. Yes, you’ve moved out from home. Yes, you’ve left your university friends, or they’ve left you, and instead of seeing each other every day, you Skype once a week or less. Yet they are still there for you. Reach out when you need to.

MEstevezPic“This is almost trivializing our want to succeed. It’s trying to fix the world by dumbing it down to our worries really being about skin.” ~ Melody

LJaumePic“I’m 23 years old and I still get carded at the movies. Maybe Origins can make me a moisturizer to remedy that; I’ll have much more use for it.” ~ Lisa

LBarryPicYou can change direction at any point. Anything is possible. And no magic cream will be as valuable as your own courage to start anew. ~ Liz

Origins, you’ve got us all wrong. The quarter life crisis is not an ironic feeling, as much as we sometimes alleviate stress by talking ironically about it. It’s a real concern and cannot be waved away with moisturizer. Nor do we need another voice telling us we’re not beautiful enough.

What we need is to remember how strong we are, how much potential we have, and that it’s okay to not be perfect: in our career, or in our looks.

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