*from the advice sisters archived, updated July 2015
Women over 50–dried up prunes or sexy seniors, or are they something else?
Recently, I read a post from an inquiring person who wanted to hear from (and I quote) “everyday women over 50 who don’t feel as beautiful as they used to and want advice from older women on how, when their looks started to fade, they were able to still feel sexy, beautiful and fabulous…even with wrinkles and all! ”
The query went on to say: “Just because guys may not be trying to whistle at you on the street anymore, it doesn’t mean you aren’t sexy or beautiful…”
My first reaction was “is this a joke?” Then I realized it must have been launched by someone (probably under 30) who has been trained to believe that at middle age, women simply become “sexless, invisible” beings. But interestingly, the responses (and there were quite a few) ranged from “well, thank heavens I’m not old, like near 40, so I don’t have to worry about this yet,” to: “I’m over 50 and this is a bunch of sterotypical bull,” to: “What has age got to do with being sexy or attractive in the first place?”
Although men also have issues with ageism and looking older, the real burden to look “hot” and “young,” is placed on women. George Clooney was born in 1961 so he’s way past that dreaded “Expiration Date” and he is still considered one of the hottest men in the universe. And there are exceptions to the “old and invisible” rule for women as well, but they are often individuals such as Diana Vreeland, Iris Apfel, Grace Coddington…..women who are distinctive but also somewhat “outlandish” in image.
The other day I overhead two (obviously under 25) year olds in a bathroom at a beauty event saying: “OMG, she’s like, 30 next week. If that was me, I’d just DIE!” I thought to myself: “well, then that will be your choice, because getting older and then dying is inevitable unless you plan to die very young.”
What’s your take on this? Is someone over 40 or 50 or 60+ automatically bound to morph into a shapeless, sad, invisible woman who is only useful as a Mom” or “Grandma?” Isn’t this just the kind of thinking that sterotypes (and dooms) generations of women? And why do younger women go along with it instead of embracing and encouraging their more mature sisters? Check out the photo of Cate Blanchett posing in a recent ad for the fragrance Si by Giorgio Armani. She’s an actress who certainly isn’t under 30 but you judge for yourself. Is this woman an invisible old hag? Is that what these young girls are so afraid of? Or is it something else.
I’d really like to keep the discussion going here because it is an issue every woman faces. If you are under 30, leave your comments and ask questions? Are you fearful of aging? Are you doing things to stop the aging process even if you are well under 30? If you are over 40, do you feel invisible or unattractive? What are your female role models teaching you?
This is an issue that sadly, will never die (pun not intended).