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Justine Bateman on people's issues with embracing aging: 'It's really about fear'

"My position is, that fear existed before your face started changing," the 57-year-old actor and filmmaker said on TODAY.
/ Source: TODAY

Justine Bateman believes the conversation she has reignited about women embracing their appearance as they age and avoiding facelifts or Botox comes down to a deeper issue.

"Well, I think it's really about fear," the actor and filmmaker told Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie on TODAY on April 3. "I think that everybody has a completion to this sentence: 'I'm afraid if people think I look old then therefore ____,' and for different people it's different things.

"Some are afraid they'll lose their job or never get a job or not get a mate or no one's going to listen to them or whatever," she continued. "My position is, that fear existed before your face started changing. So it's an opportunity to take care of that fear so it's not leading you around by the nose and making you make other decisions that are not you, taking you off track."

Bateman, 57, struck a chord with women around the world with her comments to “60 Minutes Australia” on March 19 about aging naturally and avoiding cosmetic procedures, fillers or other types of injections. 

“I think I look rad,” she said. “I think my face represents who I am. I like it and so that’s basically the end of the road.” 

The former "Family Ties" star said on TODAY that she received a direct message on social media from a woman whose 16-year-old daughter was uplifted after she saw the "60 Minutes Australia" episode.

"She said, 'It was great, now I'm not afraid of getting old,'" Bateman said. "If it's just one person ..."

Savannah, 51, shared her own experience with Bateman about aging in the public eye. She received a comment on social media last year asking her what happened and that she looked "so old." She responded, "I aged!"

"That person is telling you what they think of themselves," Bateman said. "When they look in the mirror, that’s what they say to themselves. They’re telling you about themselves and not telling you about you."

Speaking on "60 Minutes Australia," Bateman discussed the temptation to have work done on her face to look younger.

“Sure, you can do all of that,” she said. “And then I feel like I would erase not only all my authority that I have now, but also I like feeling that I am a different person now than I was when I was 20.”

She added that she feels "sad" for younger women who feel the need to have cosmetic procedures.

"When you say, ‘Is there beauty in aging?’ aren’t you really saying, ‘Do you think it’s possible for other people to find aging beautiful?’" she said. "And like, I just don’t give a s---.”

Bateman said on TODAY that younger women considering having work done on their face are also coming from a place of fear.

"They see all these older people going, 'Oh, I've got to change this, I've got to change that, I'm so afraid, I'm so afraid,'" Bateman said. "And I think the young women are going, 'I don't want to feel like that. I don't want to feel terrified that my face is getting older.'"

Bateman wrote about society's fascination with women's appearance in her 2021 book, "Face: One Square Foot of Skin." She also shared on TODAY her own experience of being in her early 40s and having people call her old online.

"I would say to any young woman, you're being lied to," she said on TODAY. "Who's making money off of this? You're being lied to, and you're being tricked off your path. You've got some awesome things coming your way. Just stay on your path, and just ride it out."