Can you think back to your childhood and try to remember what midlife women were like in real life and the media?
As children we were ingrained with beliefs about the way the world works that shape our ideas today. Specifically we learned about a woman’s role in society.
Whether it was verbalized or not, what we viewed shaped our mindset.
I grew up in Southern California where Hollywood’s influence reigned supreme. If ever there was an institution where youth is idolized the film industry wins the booby prize.
Shows like Charlie’s Angels, I Dream of Jeannie, and Three’s Company were popular in my childhood days. See a common thread there?
My friends and I would role play scenes from the show and guess which characters nobody wanted to be? Only the sexy characters that had posed for a poster where coveted. Everyone wanted to be Farrah Fawcett, nobody wanted Kate Jackson.
Even as a child, I was aware of what beauty standards were and whose looks were put on a pedestal. Youth and cleavage, was celebrated then just as it is now. I don’t recall women from 40 to 60 being very relevant back then. Have we progressed much? Maybe a little but not enough for my liking.
I realize that men are discriminated against too, especially in the workforce, but not nearly as much as women are.
Take Hollywood for an example. They’ve allowed men to age gracefully as silver haired foxes with crows feet while still playing the attractive leading man. Now take a look at the leading lady. Is she half his age? Does she have a line on her face or grey hair?
Here’s an interesting piece that documents this age gap.
As Carrie Fisher repeated,
”Men don’t age better than women, they’re just allowed to age.”
For many years middle aged women have been grossly disregarded, except to be the butt of a joke or a stereotype having a crisis. We are either the bored desperate wine swilling housewife, the sex crazed cougar, or the frumpy dowdy that has let herself go.
Its like women were expected to raise a family and then turn into either sweet polyester wearing grannies, or the kooky character.
When I hit my late thirties, I remember thinking how I should enjoy my long hair because once I reached a certain age it would no longer be appropriate. I’m not sure who told me that but it was lingering in my brain. I no longer believe this!
Somewhere ingrained in my thinking was the idea that women shouldn’t wear certain types of clothing. Ever hear that mature ladies shouldn’t wear sleeveless tops? Am I too old to wear jeans with rips? I’ll bet somebody thinks so. Let’s figure out why we have these views.
It doesn’t help that in most department stores you either had the junior section or the “ladies” department that was code word for matronly granny clothes.
For the longest time there wasn’t a section for us, and frankly, I still have a hard time finding “age appropriate” clothing.
Have you ever found yourself thinking, “she’s too old to be wearing that?” Well let’s stop limiting what others should or shouldn’t be wearing.
I’ll wear skinny jeans and Vans until I die. I might not ever wear short hair again, unless I want to. And that’s the key, embrace what you like!
How about you?
What are some lies about aging that you were taught to believe?
Are you going to let society dictate what you should wear or are you wearing exactly what you want.