What if technology could reverse the effects of ageing on women?

“Life begins at forty”. “You need to look 30 at 60”. "50 is the new 40", and if you don't look and feel that way, you need to reinvent, revitalise and rejuvenate. That is the story of the modern woman created by our culture's obsession with youth, beauty and perfection.

Beauty is the new indicator of social worth and it has plunged women into a world where they would do anything to look beautiful and more importantly, young. This has resulted in an upsurge of expensive, largely unattainable and at times life threatening – if not done by qualified medical personnel – cosmetic procedures like facelifts, chemical peels and chin tucks to “fix” wrinkles and drooping skin.

These systemic pressures have caused a huge dent in women’s self-worth and esteem causing a phenomenon I call the "beauty paradox". Are women choosing to look younger to stay competitive or do they simply have no other choice in this youth-obsessed culture?

It is for this reason that Dove has invested in campaigns that inspire women to make the conscious decision to embrace their beauty. One such campaign dubbed “#ChooseBeautiful” revealed that 96% of women consider themselves average looking. Really?

But what if technology could provide a lasting solution to this problem?

Picture a world where women no longer grapple with the societal pressure of remaining young or maintaining their skin texture and elasticity? Without anxiety over their appearance that keeps them from being themselves, affecting their health, friendships and performance? Without the burden of editing selfies through numerous filters in a bid to impress the world?

What if Dove could use science and biotechnology to engineer a product that effectively delays or even reverses human ageing? An anti-ageing therapy could have a dramatic impact not only in the beauty industry but also in public health.

For more than 10 years, Dove has been helping women build positive self-esteem but my “moonshot” for Dove would be to re-direct its efforts into using technology to develop a “cure” for human ageing.

Dove maintains that “Feeling beautiful is one of those choices that women should feel empowered to make for themselves.” What if we could use technology to make the choice less of a choice and more of a guarantee for every woman?

With women being so self-critical, we would see a major shift in how advertising and marketing campaigns that thrive on beauty to sell are developed. Women globally would become grateful for and enthusiastic about their appearance with a major reduction in the cosmetic surgery, including all its side effects and related problems.

Books like “The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible: Everything You Need to Look and Feel Gorgeous Foreverwould be useless.The beauty industry would experience a paradigm shift like no other putting Dove right at the centre, or even top of it.

A cure for human ageing; I sure hope someone somewhere is working on it!

David Karega

Hill & Knowlton Strategies Search