A comic strip depicting the “Average Asian Aging Process” has been making the rounds online.
The image shows an Asian woman at various ages, ranging from 18 to 120 years old. Though she doesn’t physically age from 18 to 50, she is virtually unrecognizable following menopause at age 60, having gained weight and changed her hair and wardrobe. By 120 (apparently Asian women live longer as well), she has shrunk in size by about three feet.
The comic was illustrated by artist and blogger Emiko Sawanobori. In an entry from September 3, 2010, Sawanobori introduces the comic: “My co-workers and I were talking about how oddly Asians age.
We’re pretty much teenagers until we hit some kind of milestone and then the age really sneaks up on us.”
The artist goes on to warn Asian women and their partners about the ageing process. “You can be like ‘Ooh, no way man, not my girl,’ or ‘Nuh-uh, not me,’ but you better get used to loving those coarse, tightly woven curls because you’re gonna have to deal with it.”
Since September, the comic has been circulating online. Two weeks ago, it ended up on Reddit where a colourful thread has since evolved.
Of course, not all people of Asian decent agree with the depiction of the aging process.
“I’m part East Asian. It’s true, even though it’s an easy caricature,” says Reddit user waitloss. “Of course, the only ‘unusual’ thing about this is the fall-off-the-cliff effect. We all lose our visual appeal as age creeps upon us, some much sooner than others.”
This commenter makes an interesting point: Are Asian women really so different from non-Asian women after they turn 60?
Readers from other ethnic groups don’t seem to think so.
“…My experience of Italian women is that they suddenly turn into Italian Mama’s, i.e. they shrink a few feet, become very fat but their cooking skills increase incredibly,” says Reddit user smilingfreak.
It seems Sawanobori may have a point with the youthful appearance of Asian women well into their 30s and 40s, but when it comes to getting older after 60, perhaps a shifting physical appearance is common among all aging women, regardless of their ethnicity.