Mirror/Mirror: AARP Survey of Women’s Reflections on Beauty, Age, and Media

Nov 7, 2018

A survey of 2,000 U.S. women ages 21 to 72 offered questions on their perceptions of the way women are depicted in the media. Officially called Mirror/Mirror: AARP Survey of Women’s Reflections on Beauty, Age, and Media TM, the survey also asked how these depictions inform their self-image, lifestyle and purchasing decisions.

Among the survey’s key findings:

  • 61 percent of women say they do not feel represented by images of women in media;
  • 58 percent of women say they are more likely to purchase products from brands that use models who look like them in their advertising;
  • three-quarters of women say they like ads that include women of various ages and wish they saw more authentic portrayals of females.

Allure Magazine published a special piece on the survey in partnership with AARP that identified a deeper finding.

But perhaps the biggest takeaway is that while some generation gaps do exist, millennials, Gen X’ers, and Boomers were more in lockstep than not. As a whole, women believe in the idea of “healthy aging” — 64 percent of Millennials and Gen X’ers, and 75 percent of Boomers to be exact. And that mindset is crucial. Harvard researchers have found that people who feel old tend to age faster. And a Yale University research echoes that, suggesting that people who think aging means declining tend to develop cardiovascular and memory problems.

For more on the survey and its results, see the full AARP article here.