She doesn’t try and disguise her age, she simply lets her glorious ageless aura speak for herself. The former Eurythmics vocalist, who will turn 65 this Christmas and has pushed identity roles throughout her career through strong feminist activism, believes that women her age still have much to give. Her powerful vocals, androgynous style, and mesmerizing stage presence that turned her into a pop’s ultimate feminist icon in the glorious 80s are still there, despite a few lines.
Women don’t have to become invisible as they get older – Annie Lennox said-. They can still thrive, be full of life and have fun. I’m 64 and I’ve got wrinkles, so what? I’ve earned them- she said.- The pressure on women to look good is so strong, but at this stage in life, I appreciate health is the greatest gift at all.
Indeed, the Scottish singer, who has sold more than 80 million records worldwide, still boasts a look many women younger than herself would be jealous of. Refusing to allow any retouching and insisting that she wanted to truly look like herself, rather than a ‘botoxed’ version, she is encouraging other women to do the same.
There’s this youth culture that is really, really powerful and really, really strong, but what it does is it really discards people once they reach a certain age. I actually think that people are so powerful and interesting – women, especially – when they reach my age. We’ve got so much to say, but popular culture is so reductive that we just talk about whether we’ve got wrinkles, or whether we’ve put on weight or lost weight, or whether we’ve changed our hairstyle. I just find that so shallow.
For Annie Lennox, mother-of-three, who found motherhood “a profoundly life-changing experience”, the process of getting older doesn’t have to be submission to becoming frail. But at the same time, we don’t have to feel desperate that we have to be young.
It’s just about finding the balance within yourself and having the right kind of attitude and a healthy approach to who you are as a human being, going through the journey of life with gratitude. The best thing about getting older is that you start to care a little less about the trivial superficial things you used to care a lot more about. And that situations that often seemed to feel like the end of the world when you were younger, turned out, in the end, to be learning curves and transformative experiences.
Women of style and substance, Annie has been an activist her entire professional life and is particularly accomplished in raising awareness and money for HIV and AIDS. In 2011, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for her “tireless charity campaigns and championing of humanitarian causes.” Feminism is also a cause that’s very close to the singer’s heart, so much so that she’s determined to encourage more people around the world to embrace it.
My current focus is to bring the term Global Feminism into the zeitgeist. I’m so happy we can use the ‘F’ word now and talk comfortably about being feminists. At the end of the day, Global Feminism is about the fundamental human rights of girls and women. Why should we continue to tolerate disrespect, abuse and disempowerment?
Now, having moved away from making music, she is a campaigner for the rights of women and girls around the world, through her NGO The Circle.
I founded something called The Circle, about how women can use our resources to inspire each other to become more engaged in women’s issues – she says-. It’s about ideas, passion, commitment, so many other things than just giving money. It’s your willingness to connect with others with issues, instead of being a passive bystander. I think that the women’s movement has so many wonderful things ahead of us. We can see great things happening. But we’ve got many, many miles to walk. I’m trying to be an inspirational catalyst for other women. There are still children giving birth to children when they need to have access to sexual and reproductive health care. There are so many issues to roll our sleeves up for, like education, abuse, domestic violence, gender-based violence. Women are waking up now.
So, what can we learn from Annie? That we should always embrace the present making a difference, no matter our background or age.
The future hasn’t happened yet and the past is gone. So I think the only moment we have is right here and now – she said-. and I try to make the best of those moments, the moments that I’m in.