Age Shaming Is Alive And Thriving In The Fashion World

Camilla Ackely might only be 17. But she's already one of London's most successful bloggers. So why the age shame?


by Camilla Ackley |
Published on

I’m among the ever-increasing variety of women who believe that the word ‘cute’ loses its attractiveness as a description of anyone above the age of ten. It’s what you use to describe baby animals at best and at worst it’s a thinly veiled insult. It’s not really how I want the website I’ve grown and run for four years - to be described, yet, because I am 17, it seems OK to do so.

Perhaps I wouldn’t mind so much if these words – cute, adorable, and my pet peeve, ‘oh, that’s so sweet’, didn’t only seem to rear their heads after my age has been revealed; the hours of photo editing, article writing and email replying I do every week undermined by the fact that I’ve only survived seventeen years.


But it’s not just within fashion blogging that there seems to be underlying ageism;Lorde, the badass singer / voice of the generation, was asked to provide a copy of her birth certificate to prove that she’s seventeen. No one would lie about being under eighteen because you know, there are literally no benefits. Age doesn’t undermine ability, so why do people treat us like it does? I’ve been blogging for five years because it shouldn’t make a difference what age I am. I’ve collaborated with brands, gained an online following and have a clear editorial voice, but still phone calls with companies end with a dead silence when I say, “just to clarify, you’re aware I’m 17?”

I’ve even had my share of real life Pretty Woman moments. Walking into a Chanel store to ask the price of a bag and being met with a frosty stare and a half-hearted answer; a much older woman with a tiny dog would be fawned over by at least three members of staff. And because I know about brands that are outside of the ones targeted to my age-group, I am often met with a look of incredulity. People seem to find it easier to believe we must be lying about our age than the simple fact that can create content and voice an opinion. There being one major hole in their logic: age is just a number.

When it comes down to it, Lorde and I aren’t the only ones on the receiving end of a new breed of ageism; we all have to deal with it. Is there actually a perfect age for success? What are we measuring against here? Should we wait until we’re twenty-five before we finish our book or record our first song so that society finds it a little easier to swallow? Should we stop at fifty and call it a day? Tavi Gevinson started Rookie magazine at fifteen, Diana Vreeland ran Vogue until the age of seventy: proof that success at any age ought to be celebrated. As teenagers, we may be more naïve, a bit idealistic and not legally allowed to fly a helicopter but we’re passionate and we sure as hell know what we’re doing.


Follow Camilla on Twitter @IntoTheFoldBlog

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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