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Anne Kreamer considered herself a youthful 49 until a photo of herself with her teenage daughter stopped her in her tracks. In one unguarded moment she saw herself for what she really was -- a middle-aged woman with her hair dyed much too harshly. In that one moment Kreamer realized that she wasn't fooling anyone about her age and decided it was time to get real and embracAnne Kreamer considered herself a youthful 49 until a photo of herself with her teenage daughter stopped her in her tracks. In one unguarded moment she saw herself for what she really was -- a middle-aged woman with her hair dyed much too harshly. In that one moment Kreamer realized that she wasn't fooling anyone about her age and decided it was time to get real and embrace a more authentic life. She set out for herself a program to let her hair become its true color, and along the way discovered her true self. Going Gray is Kreamer's exploration of that experience, and a frank, warm and funny investigation of aging as a female obsession. Through interviews, field experiments, and her own everywoman's chronicle, Kreamer probes the issues behind two of the biggest fears aging women face: Can I be sexually attractive as a gray-haired, middle-aged woman? and Will I be discriminated against in the work world? Her answers will surprise you.In searching for the balance between attractiveness and authenticity, Kreamer's journey of middle-aging illiminates in a friendly, useful, and entertaining way the politics and personal costs of this generation's definition of "aging gracefully....

Title : Going Gray: What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Really Matters
Author :
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ISBN : 9780316166614
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Going Gray: What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Really Matters Reviews

  • Ellie
    2019-05-18 10:20

    Going Gray : What I Learned About Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood by Anne Kreamer is an easy read on a seemingly light-weight subject-but one that I find intensely interesting (as I suspect many women do)-hair. The book is also concerned with a more obviously serious subject, aging. Although neither subject is handled in a deeply philosophical way, I found the points made fascinating and personally relevant.At 49, Anne Kreamer has had (several) successful careers as well as a happy marriage and a family. One day, she is looking through some photographs and is struck by one of her with a daughter and a friend. She finds the pictures of the other two women "authentic" but feels that there is a falseness to her image which she decides is the result of her hair color-a dye she has used for years. This leads her into an experiment in "going gray"-what it would mean to let herself look her age, to not fight it with hair products. Kreamer explores what hair - and its color - means to women (mostly in the United States but also in France) and shares her experience of how she felt letting her natural gray show.I am struggling myself at the moment to define (or discover) who I am at this stage in life. Kreamer's book was a perfect find for me. I decided to try out a "natural" look myself (with an option to go back to coloring if I want!) to see what that reveals about me and maybe clear the way for some decisions about how I want to present myself now, what my "look" is or should or could be. It's an adventure and I appreciate Kreamer's presenting it in that way.Going Gray : What I Learned About Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood is probably not for everyone but if you're a "woman of a certain age" (as the French say) or interested in hair and what it says about us or how our obsession with it reveals who we are, I strongly recommend this book.

  • Laura Leaney
    2019-05-16 11:20

    What prompted me to choose this book at the library? My age, I think, and an urge to somehow discover my genuine self. I do admire Anne Kreamer's bravery in making her vulnerable insecurities public in this book. Still, the title is misleading. Seriously, 50 percent of the book is about hair, rather than "beauty, sex, work, motherhood." I think we can all agree that there's a media perception that women with gray hair are no longer sexually attractive. I think we can also all agree that it's a stereotype and not true. My own definition of sexy is deeper than that; and I believe that it's deeper for most men as well. I think what made me sad about Kreamer's discussion is how much emphasis is placed on finding an "authentic" self via the physical self. I'm nearly positive that my authentic self is somewhere inside my mind, inside my heart.

  • Heidi
    2019-05-03 10:06

    Disappointing.The author was interviewed by Margaret Throsby on ABC Classic FM earlier in the year, and it sounded like a fascinating book. But the interview turned out to have been far more interesting than the book. Kreamer's context is so far removed from my own (she randomly ends up at dinner parties with Anna Devere-Smith, for example), and as my mother pointed out to me, she's also from a distinctly different generation, one that grew up adhering to general expectations on hemlines and the appropriate use of hats and gloves, etc.I know that my own anti-hair-colouring stance is an oddity amongst my own peer group, but are women really that concerned about gray in their hair? Those I know who colour their hair do so "for fun", or to emphasise rather than eliminate grays. (And I do know two women who have begun to go gray in their late twenties/early thirties.)The book may be subtitled "What I learned about beauty, sex, work, motherhood, authenticity, and everything else that really matters", but I didn't feel that I learned anything much beyond a confirmation that there's a society out there that I just don't understand.(On the topic of work, Kreamer's life is so dominated by the entertainment industry - she worked for MTV and set up the Nickelodeon cable channel - that she can't see past it. Even when she supposedly was looking at people who work in the "corporate" sector, it was the corporate section of entertainment-based companies. She had a throw-away line about appearance not being "as important" in medicine, law and academia - which to me only proves that she didn't really look into law at all.)

  • Loren
    2019-04-28 13:13

    As a woman who has been going gray since high school, I'm not sure what I expected from this book. Validation? Instead, I am reminded how silly some people are. It boggles my mind that Kreamer spent enough money to send her kids to college on her HAIR. This book wasn't written for those of us who would never dream of a $300 hair styling appointment. Apparently, all we have in common with Kreamer is the color of our hair.

  • Melissa
    2019-04-26 12:10

    This book is a research paper covering every possible angle of graying. I found it completely mind boggling that Anne had figured out that she had spent upwards of $65,000 dying her hair over the years. Cost has been the biggest reason that I haven't highlighted mine for the past year and half. When things got tight it was one of the first things to go. But even before I read this book I was watching several people around me who are very blond (colored) and I decided I didn't ever want to look like that. It just looks fake and overdone. These women are pretty women and could mostly likely go without. I think the extreme blond on them actually makes them look older because I notice their crows feet and roots. It is like Anne says--that she wasn't fooling anyone about her age. I might still play with color sometimes, but I don't know, I really like spending my money on other things-new clothes would make me feel just as good. I'm one who was so happy to finally turn 30 because I was tired of people treating me like I didn't know anything because I was only in my 20's. So I think I'll probably enjoy my hair changes more because I've read this book. I like the idea of being comfortable in my own skin.

  • Kim
    2019-05-24 06:56

    This book was full of wisdom for middle-aged women (and men!) transitioning into their fifties. When Kreamer, a former exec of Nickelodeon decides to let her hair go gray at 49, she realizes that it isn't all about the hair, but rather what gray hair represents-- embracing her authentic 'older' self. In the process of interviewing people from all walks of life, she discovers more about the psychological aspects of aging and vanity than ever expected. It's hard to believe a book about letting your gray hair grow out would have so much depth. I've got bookmarks throughout, where I had to stop and think about what she had learned about herself and others. I found this book oddly inspiring and uplifting. And to think I almost didn't read it. (Who wants to read a book about getting old?) But once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. If you are in your late forties DO read this book!

  • Christine
    2019-05-19 05:17

    Looking at herself in a picture, standing beside her teenage daughter Ms. Kreamer decided that she did not like the artificial look she had perpetuated for so many years and made the decision to stop coloring her hair. She was 49 years old. In this memoir about following through on that decision Ms. Kreamer tells of all the avenues she explored while “going gray”. Often funny and always insightful she takes us through the experience of gathering opinions on her new “old” look from friends, professional personal style consultants and family members. She takes a hard look on how much time and money her hair coloring has cost her over the years (scary!) and how she felt the gray hair would affect her feelings about her age, her sexuality and of being a vibrant, feminine woman. The results were often not what you would expect … such as when she put herself on a dating site, once as a brunette and once with the gray hair, or when she went bar-hopping with friends, again once as a brunette and then again with gray hair. She pulls no punches when she writes about the white “skunk” stripe which has to be endured and how she eventually made the decision to cut her trademark long locks to expedite the process.At the risk of TMI, I read this book because I have been toying with the same decision for many years. Becoming a victim of the dreaded gray hair when I was barely into my 20’s, I too am sick of the time and expense required to maintain the façade. When the title of this book popped onto my radar I knew it was one I had to read. I am glad I did.

  • Liz
    2019-04-24 05:02

    A skimmably-quick read, light as a feather. I am in the process of (very) gradually going naturally gray and while this book was entertaining, it mostly focused on whether or not people (mostly men) find gray hair attractive, which is the least compelling aspect of going gray for me. Towards the end, she started to wrestle with the idea of getting comfortable with aging, with acknowledging the reality of aging, and how one can really evolve into more of themselves when they stop pretending to be younger than they are. She did engage with the idea that so few women, especially in the media, have gray hair that we associate having gray hair with being much older, rather than the reality, which is that most people have gray hair by the time they are middle-aged. This has normalized artificial youth and puts increasing pressure on women to look ever-younger, while fooling no one in the process. Only at the end did she glancingly comment on the endless pressure that women have to be attractive all the time, and that what some people dismiss as "letting oneself go," is really about letting go of the game of worrying about ones' beauty as a priority. So I'd say this book is skippable, but reading the whole thing might only take an hour or so.

  • Angie
    2019-05-17 06:14

    This was even more interesting than I thought it would be. It's extremely intelligently written, well researched, straightforward. The author is not a crazed fanatic about "going gray." She does just what her subtitle indicates: she tells you what she learned about different aspects of life associated with not dyeing one's hair. I love it as a response to our youth-crazed culture and as a response to the idea that if you let yourself age naturally, then you are "letting yourself go." I recently had to speak up to my mother because she wanted to insist to HER mother (who is 83) that she continue to dye her hair red. My uncle even whined that his mother must continue this practice, because to him, his mother's identify was tied up with being a redhead. Even at 83. She's looked ridiculous for years with red hair as an aging woman. I'm proud of her for now letting it go. So many people don't realize how ridiculous they look with a 60 year old face and hair that doesn't show a bit of age. What is wrong with looking our ages?

  • Jamie
    2019-04-29 08:14

    Meh. I thought this would be more about understanding our society's obsession with looking young and maybe an analysis of how society has viewed gray haired women in different time periods. It kind of starts off that way. Then it veers into a very odd area. The author does crazy experiments like posting two pictures of herself on with brown hair and the other with gray--to measure the response rate. She also tests her new gray-haired look by going out to bars to pick up men. I found myself wondering if she was just flirting with leaving her marriage and wanted to test the waters, as both of these things seem frankly insane and completely amateur if trying to truly get a sense of peoples' response to a gray haired image.These experiments were pretty silly and took the book to a very heightened area of vanity. I hope I am not this vain if I ever go all gray and then choose to stop coloring. Who knows?

  • Susan
    2019-05-05 08:15

    One year ago today I stopped coloring my hair (or should I say it was the last time I colored my hair) All the old color was finally cut off about a hair cut ago. It has been an interesting year. I have received all kinds of reactions. I am 54, so am young to have a head of white hair. But it is not completely white and I personally love the way it has grown out with naturally dark lowlights (highlights?) Some people, complete strangers, will come up to me and say “I love your hair!” (I had a lady in Ojai yell this out of her car window as she drove past). Some people will glance my way and start whispering to whoever they happen to be with.Sometimes I’m shocked myself when I glance in a store window and there is my white-haired reflection.But aside from the personal ups and downs you feel emotionally when you grow your hair out, (I actually would wake up in the middle of the night when I first started “the process”, terrified) it has been in a practical sense very freeing.No more organizing my days and weeks around my hair coloring appointments.No more “white lines” the WEEK AFTER I colored it. No more having to use harsher and harsher chemicals to get the color to “stick” because my hair was so resistant to color.No more spending so much money and so much time EVERY THREE WEEKS for 20 years.I think it was the last one that got me and I finally just said enough.Going into this, I would say you need a lot of support not only from your family but from your work if you happen to work outside the home. I am fortunate to work in an engineering/aerospace environment where I felt comfortable and accepted as I was going through this process. I thank my husband, Jeff, and my kids, Jordan and Natalie. Although I think it is probably not their first choice for my hair, they have not said, “No” or “I hate it” or “You are embarrassing me”. I appreciate that. Thank you to Anne Kreamer, the author of Going Gray. She was a great help and support with her words and the websites she recommended. Thank you to Val Shope who went gray ahead of me and was my inspiration and motivation to keep on going. Both of these women encourage me to be bold and go up to other women who are going gray and say, “Don’t give up”. It IS difficult. It IS easy to buy a box of color and undo a year’s worth of work. You are going against society norms, against all the media encountered every day and so you do stand out. But my conclusion after this year? It is worth it.

  • Laurie
    2019-04-30 10:21

    Wah, I had hoped for a little more here. I suppose if I cared more about my appearance and grey hair I would have been more into the book, but I don't have any qualms about going grey...I've never colored my hair and have no intention of starting. I'm actually really curious to see what I'd look like, but if I felt it made me look older or as though I had given up, well, I kind of already feel that way now! Well, not really, but I mean, I just don't worry about it. I am more for authenticity above anything else, but to be honest, that doesn't mean I wouldn't ever consider having my eyes lower brows have covered my upper eye-lids for as long as I can day in the future modification may be necessary just so that I can see! Also, I find those non-surgical facelifts to produce pretty amazing results!Anyway, this book is a bit dated in some ways; it was written in 2007. The author towards the end mentions that she sees a glimmer of change on the horizon and I really think there has been a change to some degree in the past 7 years; at times I wondered what the thoughts of a contemporary writer might have been on the same subject.p 71 "And I was equally relaxed when it came to hair. Kate, of course, applied her outrageous colors as an adolescent, and when Lucy was little, her hair was charmingly disheveled. I actually took pride in the fact that both girls didn't have perfect hair all the time--to me, their undergroomed hair showed the world that they were self-confident, independent spirits with more important things on their minds."p 200 Quoting Betty Friedan's 1993 The Fountain of Age: An active, realistic acceptance of age-related changes--as opposed to denial or passive resignation--was thus the key to a continued vital involvement in life, a very different face of age than disengagement and decline....Mindless conformity to the standards of youth can prohibit further development, and that denial can become mindless conformity to the victim-decline model of age. It takes a conscious breaking out of youthful definitions, for a man or a woman--to free oneself for continued development in age. p 201 Quoting Andrew Weil's Healthy Aging: Because aging reminds us of our own mortality, it can be a primary stimulus to spiritual awakening and growth.

  • Karen
    2019-04-26 10:01

    Kreamer writes an entire book about her decision at age 50 to stop coloring her hair and let it go gray. At times I wondered why this was a book-length work when an essay would probably cover most salient points. At times I wondered how I could read so much about appearances. However, when I allowed myself, I recognized that hair color does function as a strong signifier in society. It's an annoying FACT that appearances to make a difference in our relationships with work, family, romance, friendships and personal identity. This makes me livid, but once I accept this as true, I am glad for Kreamer's meditations, interviews, statistics, analyses and neurotic ramblings about what the color of our hair means for adult women of all ages. She focuses more on mature women: i.e., 50+ but she also reviews the history of her hair styles and makes comments about women of all ages and even touches a bit on the significance of men's hair color. [I did have to forgive her for name dropping, but it was also interesting to read what she learned from her affiliations with Nora Ephron, Emmylou Harris and others. Kreamer was educated at Harvard and worked for Nickelodeon. She may be off-putting because she is so clearly cut from the East coast, ivy league, high achieving, gets invited to very tony dinner parties, vacations in Europe. She's part of the well-heeled set. But it's also enlightening that despite these advantages, she is a total wreck at times about her self-worth as conveyed by her hair. So that makes her relatable to all women.]If you can steel yourself to think long and complexly about gray hair, you will find that Kreamer will offer clear pathways and thought-provoking prompts for your ruminations.

  • Jackie
    2019-04-27 05:58

    I think I'm just not the target audience for this book. I picked it because I'm having a personal mini-crisis trying to decide if I should stop dying my hair. She writes in a conversational and easy going style that I enjoyed reading. But at an early-grayer, most of the book isn't relevant to me. She talks a lot about age-appropriateness and authenticity but doesn't really cover the situation where gray hair isn't age appropriate. She does mention this in the case of men, but not women (and in doing so she calls Steve Martin a sex symbol... ummm no). Also, Going Gray doesn't talk about any health or environmental consequences of hair dye, which in my mind are the most important considerations.She does research and informal experiments about the attractiveness, perceived age, and employablilty and style of a gray haired woman. All of the research was done with women over the age of 31 and the majority were over 49. She says "And gray hair made only the youngest of the women... appear older than they actually were. To me the data indicates that when gray hair is age-appropriate (from our 40s onward) we don’t actually fool people about our age when we dye it."She also discussed the time and money that women and men put into maintaining a non-gray head of hair. This is where things stop being believable. Kreamer claims that women who make $25K-$50K spend an average $60/month on hair color. All I can say is WHA? I spend $17 every 6-8 weeks. And I thought that was too much.

  • Barbara
    2019-04-27 11:56

    Let me start out by saying I found this book because I am considering allowing my hair to go gray. And as any woman who has colored her hair for years knows - this is a monumental decision. How does one mask the inevitable skunk stripe? What happens when that stripe becomes more of a beanie? Will people think that I am letting myself go? Will I look old? Will no one think I am attractive? Can I still be a funky, fun and interesting person and no longer use chemical dyes to disguise my true self? These were all questions I asked myself and ones, that I feel, were answered by this book. The author, Anne Kreamer, was only a couple of years older than me when she started on this "adventure" of going gray, and her questions were pretty much exactly the same as my own. She goes about testing the gray/color conundrum in a variety of ways and interviews several people to document why they choose to continue to color or why they haven't colored at all (or stopped). The book is written like a friend discussing her tribulations with this transition and is one that I will recommend to other friends should they be considering stopping the great gray coverup.

  • Beth Anne
    2019-05-07 12:01

    As a youthful gray-haired lady, I was hopeful that this book would completely rock my world. The author seems interesting, her hair looks great, and she's married to Kurt Andersen. Anyway, read the whole thing while laid up in be with a bad ear infection, but I felt the same way about it that I felt about ELizabeth Gilbert's new one--Marriage: whatever the subtitle is--which is there is a particular kind of self-absorbed navel gazing that seems to be passing as memoir these days. Obviously, this author is beautiful, talented, and very, very blessed. Yet the book reads like something an adolescent might write while trying to figure out whether or not she should wear red shoes to the prom. There is some attempt at data gathering through weird trips to bars and hair-color altering of her profile pic on match.comI'm sure she's a great lady, but as a narrator she was just sort of annoying, too insecure, and the structure of the book was pretty weak as well. I still love the cover, but I wouldn't say it taught me anything about gray hair or its attendant anxieties that I didn't already know.

  • Lisa
    2019-04-25 08:12

    Interesting for me as someone who is going gray and not bothered by it. Wonder if my "coloring" friends would agree with these quotes from the book:“She realized that the ones who dressed for comfort were also nearly all the ones who didn’t dye their hair—and that they overwhelmingly seemed to be having a better time than the other women.”“She’s letting herself go. I’m trying, anyhow. Letting go of false fronts and mass-market expectations. Letting go for me is all about…finding myself. It’s letting go of the need to feel as if it’s important to look as much as possible like everyone else. It’s letting go of an unsustainable and ultimately counterproductive image of what a [woman of a certain age] should look like. It’s letting go of crutches I don’t need… It’s about taking real, personal control of and responsibility for my life, refusing to live according to a script dictated by my own neuroses and marketers’ needs to sell stuff. Letting myself go feels okay.”

  • Mary Havens
    2019-04-24 12:09

    It's no surprise that I am going gray and, with the most recent birthday, felt like I needed to have a bit of a reckoning about aging and graying. Hence, this book!Kreamer made me laugh out loud as she fumbled through her decision to go gray and her research to find how much, if any, impact choosing to "be natural" had on her love life and career path. I liked her social experiments and felt that she covered all the bases. I felt like the book had many positive notes about aging. I didn't realize (although it makes great senses) how much hair means to people!! All in all, a great break from the saddest book of all time (Beloved) and a nice affirmation that, dye it or not, all you really need to feel young is acceptance and confidence :)

  • Knitnosh
    2019-05-23 12:58

    Enjoyed reading this book, which was a cheap read on Kobo. I know that I would not have bought this in hard copy (which is one of the reasons I like the Kobo). I am prime target market I would guess - 50 and in a constant debate as to whether to let life happen (keep the grey and encourage it) or strive to hold on to the younger me and dye or in some way colour my hair.I found some of the studies quite illuminating and enjoyed sharing them with my sister who has just decided to let nature takes its course after dying her hair for decades. I may have enjoyed it as much as I did because it validated my own thoughts!

  • Kate
    2019-05-15 04:59

    The idea for this book came when the author saw a picture of herself and realized her dye-job did not make her look younger. I'm a woman in my 50's who's never considered dying my hair, even as I get more gray hairs each year. Thus I was surprised when halfway through this book I realized I was unwilling to put it down.This book provides a fascinating look at how people perceive women (and men!) with gray hair. I learned quite a lot about how women are manipulated in Hollywood, and why hankering after a movie actress's hair style is an exercise in fakery.This book is highly recommended.

  • Tb
    2019-05-20 06:18

    p. 125 'I think wisdom and age have value... and it's really important, and if all we do is continue this whole business of focusing on youth, we'll miss that all ages can be wonderful, not only personally, but the culture will miss that ingredient as well."p. 201 'My whole experience hasn't been just about letting my hair grow in its natural gray. It's been about growing up and - pardon the touchy-feely chiche- continuing to evolve as a person'

  • Sharon
    2019-05-22 11:09

    Hair coloring seems a trivial subject, but considering the time and money spent, it is far deeper than a simple question of whether to color or not. An interesting "study" on the effect of gray hair on getting or keeping a job, dating and our attitude about aging in general. A quick read but surprisingly thought provoking one. Great read for all women, regardless of their age.

  • Edmund Davis-Quinn
    2019-04-25 08:03

    I really enjoyed this book. Going gray is something I have been looking forward to, I like how it looks on me. I don't think about the pressures by society and advertising to color hair, and the fact that it's a multi billion business. Mrs. Kreamer looks fabulous with gray hair, and I would love to see more people go gray. Also wrote about this in my post on August 17th.

  • Cindykaye Gordon
    2019-05-05 08:01

    Loved it! Won't be applicable if you're under 40 - but ALL hairdressers should have to read it!!! Loved the insight, the history of the social constructs of beauty in our world, and mostly the upfront honesty ofn he author and all her friends (especially those appalled at the idea of allowing themselves to go gray).

  • Robin
    2019-05-20 10:59

    After reading an article by this woma, I then wanted to read her book which is devoted to why women (and men) feel compelled to color their hair! Personally it's something I've been struggling with for a while and since I've been coloring my hair on my own or professionally for over ten years, I have come to the conclusion that enough is enough!

  • Sheridan
    2019-05-01 08:18

    I am tempted to stop coloring my hair and wanted to research it first! This book made me feel more confident to be my authentic self. I haven't colored for a few months. I have a box in my bathroom that still tempts me on days. We shall see.

  • Meg
    2019-04-24 09:17

    One of the best non-fiction books I've read in a while.The writing is clear and funny, and raises some really good points. I found it very engaging even though I'm (hopefully) a decade or so away from going gray myself.Very inspiring!

  • Marianne Meyers
    2019-05-01 08:58

    Easy, chatty read, interesting observations and experiences. As someone who is about to embrace growing out my silver hair, I appreciate all the info. I also found the author to be much more attractive with gray hair than with colored brown hair. Here's to embracing the self wholeheartedly!

  • Patricia
    2019-04-25 12:20

    I loved this memoir of a woman’s decision to stop coloring her hair. Her research involved surveys sent to a wide variety of women in all over the country, many interviews and , most interesting, on internet dating sites.

  • Caroline
    2019-05-21 11:21

    Super. Really enjoyed it