How do you define legitimate beauty?

“U-G-L-Y. You ain’t got no alibi, you ugly, yeah, you ugly!” From childhood on, we’re taught to equate beauty with desirability and success. After all, we didn’t chant “S-M-A-R-T, show us how we need to be. You’re smart, yeah, you’re smart!” No, that’s not intense enough.

Today’s woman can rarely age gracefully without the pressures of our youth-infatuated society. We want to be superfine forever because we’re trained to believe that unattainable perfection is the norm. If we deviate, we might be ugly, and the self worth of many women would smolder mercilessly if masses deemed them ugly.

On the flipside, I don’t know many females who reject praise for their appearance. Women want what we see – and lately we’re seeing some interesting societal juxtapositions.

Demi Moore, Vivica Fox and the casts of Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives were praised as 40-plus fashionistas and wonderwomen, not for creative credibility but for age-defying bodies, juvenile wardrobes and baby boyfriends.

How many barely post-adolescent males fantasized about these magnetic, maternal women? Would they want their friends to jock their moms like that? Who even came up with the tsk-tsk-worthy term M.I.L.F.?

Not to say that age discrepancies are always problematic. I’ve seen the variety in love. Each scenario is valid and viable in its own way. My grandfather was considerably older than my grandmother decades ago when they married, though it seems that popular relationships today are more fashion statements and strategic career accelerators than instances legitimatizing authentic affection.

This is because women are so categorically divided. Established working mothers, particularly, are generalized as the “hot moms” (oftentimes alongside my colleagues in the club), blending in seamlessly with women half their ages. Then there’s the societal throwaway mom, the frumpy, sexless PTA mom baking cupcakes, signing progress reports and wearing muumuus.

Society respects, but doesn’t idealize her. My mother is the loveliest person walking the earth, but she’s neither. At 22 years my senior, she doesn’t attempt to look like or personify my peers. She’s rightfully eye-catching, but she’s truly fine because of her success and dedication to the betterment of humankind.

Can Americans give more of these women the glory? Or do they need triple D saline implants? Surgically whittled abdomens and faces full of Botox? Lest we not forget, be scantily clothed? Can we ever gain acceptance and glorification for more than physical appearances?

Not to say that it’s faulty to be fierce, fabulous and 40-plus. I just hope that by the time I’m middle aged the pressure isn’t so overwhelming. Maybe then I won’t feel the need to forgo wisdom in attempts to recapture fleeting mainstream beauty. After all, I would have come too far to lose my alibi through being u-g-l-y.