MONTREAL – Exhausted and anxious to see her children after attending a conference in Banff, Alta., Annick Robinson was heading home to Montreal when a salesperson at a beauty kiosk called out to her.
“He was holding a mirror to me and pointing to me and saying look at yourself,” she told Global News.
“The salesman was pointing to my face and asking me to worry about my face, worry about how I look.”
Robinson said something clicked in her mind as she stood there, listening to the man talk about face serums, wrinkles and botox.
“I was like this is so surreal that this is so normal. It’s the most obscene interaction, but women have this experience a thousand times in a thousand malls at a thousand kiosks,” she said.
“That day, I had my lifetime quota of being told I’m flawed.”
The mother of two, who doesn’t want to say how old she is insisting that’s not the focus, shared her story on Facebook and received thousands of comments, shares and likes.
“I didn’t think what I wrote was revolutionary. It’s like the sky is blue. There’s nothing wrong with aging,” she told Global News.
“I haven’t been immune to it, just something flipped the switch that day. A light bulb went off.”
Here is an excerpt of how Robinson said the conversation went:
Salesman: Your skin is so natural looking, you aren’t wearing any make up, right?
Robinson: Um, no?
Salesman: Let me guess your age.
Proceeds to pull out a number 12 years younger than I am.
Robinson: I look my age and that’s OK actually.
Salesman: Let me show you our face serum, because if you aren’t careful to maintain your skin now, these wrinkles on your face will get much deeper, by 45, creams won’t help anymore.
Robinson: What’s wrong with a woman looking 40?
Salesman: Well, let’s talk about the bags under your eyes, and smile lines, my eye cream could improve those in 15 minutes.
Robinson: What’s wrong with my eyes? I have a miracle baby at home and haven’t slept in 2 years, so if I have bags I am grateful to have them, and my husband and I laugh a lot. Those are his fault. He loves how I look. I don’t think I need your cream.
Salesman: They may be manageable now, but by 50, it’s too late to correct sagging skin and deep wrinkles, unless you act now, only surgery can correct those.
Robinson: What’s wrong again with a woman aging? You know, my husband and I can’t wait to grow old together, we talk about it all the time, how we’ll be this funny wrinkled old couple. My husband is going to age too, we all are. It’s kind of how life works.
Robinson, who works in the health industry, said she wants to start a movement to end the idea that women should be driven by self-loathing.
“Flip the script when you hear it. Every time. Until it loses its power,” she wrote on Facebook.
“The next generation needs you to change the game.”
She pointed out that it’s unacceptable for women to have to feel this way every day.
“I don’t want people to say ‘don’t worry, you look good for your age,’ as if the worst thing about that encounter is him telling me I wasn’t beautiful,” she told Global News.
“That shouldn’t be the standard of what we are.”