Dear World, (that includes you – advertisers, media, Hollywood, and fashion designers)
As the saying goes, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”
As women over 50, we battle that “report” on a daily basis, sometimes, almost believing it ourselves. Who’s to blame us? We certainly rarely see ourselves represented in the media. When was the last time you saw a face that wasn’t completely free of lines staring back at you from the pages of a magazine? Even ads used by doctors promoting the latest collagen or fillers show the face of a 20-something with a needle poised at the corner of her unlined eye.
What are they trying to say? That women in their 20s need to start using these products? That we over 50 women will look like that if we visit their offices often enough? Please.
We weren’t born yesterday. As you keep reminding us.
The demographic advertisers target most often is not ours, despite the fact that our generation spends $400 million more annually on consumer goods and services than any other generation.
There are a handful of women in Hollywood celebrated for “growing old gracefully.” Helen Mirren, Judy Dench and Jane Seymour, to name a few, look as one would imagine women of their ages to look. Beautiful, lined faces that show the effects of a life well-lived. They don’t appear to be hiding their laugh-lines or creases around their mouths.
At the other end of the spectrum is the woman who pulls the focus at every red carpet event. The one who looks at least 30 years younger than she is. I’m talking about the unicorn, 80-year-old Jane Fonda. Not many can successfully pull off the age-defying magic she has. And that’s not making it any easier on the rest of us who have neither her pocketbook or her time. (Or the phone number to her plastic surgeon.)
In the business world, we hear of women 50 and over being “pushed out,” their roles minimized and their experience written off. Even if they have been in the business world for over 30 years, keeping up and adapting to new technologies along the way, women over 50 are seen by co-workers as “grandmothers” who always need help with their remote controls. How could they possibly be tech savvy? Better put them out to pasture before they cause any damage!
At this stage in life, women are facing greater challenges than ever physically and emotionally. We may be dealing with health issues, divorce, or the loss of a spouse. Aging parents. Empty nests. (Or nests once empty that are filling back up.) Just when you thought things were winding down in the stress department, it cranked back up. You looked around for guidance. Support. A voice in the darkness. Anything. And that’s when you noticed it. Like the photo of Michael J. Fox’s character Marty in the movie Back to the Future, your image and that of others like you seemed to be fading away.
Despite it often feeling the world is through with us women over 50 – we aren’t through with it. And, as you know, once we set our minds to something, there is no stopping us. That’s why PrimeWomen.com was started.
It is our sincere goal to achieve global domination. Okay, maybe that’s overstating. But it IS our goal to represent our generation – and the generations of women who will follow us into the land of 50+. Along the way, we as a publication face a few challenges we hope to eventually conquer. For one, finding photos of women to use in our articles that represent what we “perennials,” “boomers” and “plussers” actually look like is a daunting task. Models are either in the “possibly a teenager who needs to eat a sandwich” category, or of the white-haired, cookie-baking, orthopedic shoe-wearing variety. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that – but where are the rest of us?)
Where are the fashionable, professional, active women we have in our lives on a daily basis? The ones who broke barriers and glass ceilings? It’s truly disappointing when our editors choose clothing for our readers with attributes that flatter the figure of women over 50 and the product photos used by retailers all feature size zero, 20-somethings that make us want to scream. How great would it be to see clothing for us, worn by us?
When it comes to health, wellness and fitness, we’ve been able to attract contributing writers who are specialists in their fields. They’re over 50, 60 and 70 and can speak to the issues we face. They can instruct us in the types of exercise we can do safely, the types of healthful practices we can adopt, and guidance about what’s happening to us emotionally and mentally. You can’t get that kind of authenticity from an inexperienced just-out-of-college writer at fillintheblankpublication.com
When our authors talk about makeup, or hair care, dating, or the search for a new job or second act, they speak from personal and professional experience, and from the heart.
As the first generation to occupy the C-suite, the board room and the bedroom with equal success, we owe a paradigm shift to ourselves, our daughters and our granddaughters. One day they will be celebrating those milestone birthdays, and they shouldn’t be made to feel invisible, or irrelevant, or like they need to step aside. If anyone can make that happen, we can. Together.
Speaking of which, if you have a story to share, send it to us at [email protected]. What have you faced and won? What are you still battling? We’d love to see your photos, too. We will share with our readers so we can all celebrate together that women over 50, 60, and 70+ are not going to go quietly. #over50notdead
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