My mother was old at 50. She wore those cotton house dresses from the local discount store and plastic house shoes. Occasionally, she would spiff up a bit for church by getting her hair poufed and sprayed, and added a bit of lipstick, and put on a nicer house dress and some pumps. I thought of her as old and now realize that she was a product of her generation – housewife and mother, expected to stay home, cook, clean, and be supportive of her husband and children. Exercise was not in her vocabulary. Even with a college degree from an Ivy League college (Rutgers), she was what society expected of a woman born in 1918. She was the classic tv show’s “Leave It to Beaver” mother.
I never wanted to be like my mother. I wanted to work and earn my own money and have opportunities that my mother did not have. And I did along with millions of other baby boomer women who are now the wealthiest and most fit generation in history. I’ve heard us called perennials, mid-lifers, 50-60-70 plussers, the ageless generation, and women in their prime (which is what this magazine is all about).
We live differently from our mothers. We don’t just know our neighbors and friends within a limited geographic area. We connect with a myriad of friends and relatives through social media; we travel for business and pleasure so much more often because it’s easy and available; we know what’s going on in the world and we want experiences in as many ways as possible. We are the first generation of women who started businesses in great numbers and became executives in corporations. We are now politicians, corporate board members, investors, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, executives, volunteers AND we are consumers – big ones!
When I ask my friends “How old do you feel,” they always give me a younger age. That’s because we in this ageless generation embrace our wrinkles, bulges, dark spots, aches, and pains that do come with age, but if we want, we can laser, botox, lift, erase and inject our way to a better look! We’re also more confident, personally fulfilled, and what one young woman said to me “more chill.” Part of that confidence comes from looking good, but also from our experiences in life and business. The health and fitness movement along with the proliferation of yoga, spin cycling, running, weight lifting classes, and at-home equipment has lengthened our lives and strengthened our muscles and our brains.
Fashion is also on our minds. We want fashion that is up-to-date but not what we see in many fashion ads. Come on, we’re not going to wear mini-skirts, Daisy Dukes, or skin-baring cut-out prom-like dresses. We do want skinny jeans, cool tennies, hip comfy heels, athleisure wear, classy dresses/skirts/jackets, nice jewelry, and leather everything. But we want our clothes to fit our changing bodies – we’re not stick skinny any more – we want clothes by designers who understand what happens at 50, 60, 70 and up. Classic is classy and trumps trendy every time.
The big problem with our age group is that advertisers, the media, and society at large don’t get us. There is so much pandering to youth in this country that we get ignored and marginalized. It’s hard for us to find stock photos of women over 50 for this publication so sometimes we’ve used ourselves and our friends. Almost every single ad on TV for beauty or health products features women who look like teenagers. It’s like we’ve disappeared and what’s left are the Stepford Wives!
It is our hope here at PrimeWomen.com that we can stay ahead of all of the issues that affect women over age 50. We are the ageless generation. We feel we are in the prime of life and will continue to rewrite all the rules.
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