Ageism and the Modern Woman
After turning 50, I started noticing something - Something trivial, but still annoying. Advertisers apparently no longer spoke to me, a 50 something, empty nester woman. The only commercials and ads directed to my generation seem to be Viagra, Cialis, those horrible undergarments with that catchy twist tune, and numerous other pharmaceutical products that will take care of my urinary incontinence and depression.
Heck, even so called “anti-aging” products use stunningly gorgeous 27 year old models that wouldn’t know an age spot or wrinkle unless it bit her on her butt. Seriously. Guess what advertisers? Just today I used shampoo and conditioner, soap and razors. I’m wearing makeup. I did the dishes and washed two loads of clothes. I filled my car tank with gas yesterday, after shopping at Target (another advertiser who seems to think that only 25 year old girls shop there). Shampoo commercials only show young girls with long tresses, shining and blowing in the wind (after they’ve tied their hair into some ridiculous knot or something). Laundry detergent commercials always center on a young family with unruly kids smearing popsicles or pudding or mud all over themselves. They should see my husband’s grimy clothes after he’s mowed the lawn; now that would be quite the demonstration!
When a 50 plus year old woman, or man for that matter, is used in advertising or media, it’s either for the above mentioned Cialis ad, or they’re made out to be a buffoon who can’t negotiate the internet or their smartphone. Those “funny” parental text memes? Yeah, they’re offensive. Mom’s and Dad’s are stupid y’all! LOLz. Whatever. Remember seeing the SNL skit featuring Sally O’Mally? The message? If you’re 50 you must be obnoxious and wear stretchy jumpsuits!
But most 50 something year old women I know are pretty amazing. Accomplished. Hilarious. Active. We’re conservative, liberal, educated, parents, grandparents, wives, divorcees or widows. We’re caretakers to our aging parents, sandwiched between time spent with our children and grandchildren. We’re people. We matter. We have value.
* Like my friend Robin, who works out like a fiend, has the body of a 25 year old, can sing better than most girls from Nashville, organizes giant charity events and wears slammin’ stilettos like it’s nobody’s business.
* Or my amazing girlfriends Terri and Lynn who I had the pleasure of spending a leisurely few days with last week. We danced to JLo, sang at the top of our lungs, and had more fun than you can imagine. Terri mentors pageant contestants and Lynn is one of the most dynamic women I know. (just don’t take her high heels away from her, she will cut you)
* My friend Judy, who is a talented, accomplished artist.
* Her sister Sandy who is not only a breast cancer survivor, but a barrel racer!
* My facebook friend Denise, whose sense of humor has seen her through hard times and the long distance separation from her grown son.
* My friends Donna and Judy, who created a wine beverage that sells like crazy, employ and empower other women, and generously give back to their community.
* Carla, who survived kidney disease, and is an amazing mom and example to her wonderful son.
* My former teacher Connie, who is a diehard Jimmy Buffet fan and an incredible example of resilience, and is one of the coolest women I know.
* Me? I know how to use the “interweb” and am proficient in Adobe Photoshop, Word, Excel and Quickbooks. I navigate social media and embrace and enjoy using Instagram, facebook and Twitter. I’m a wife and a new grandmother.
We aren’t caricatures, and wouldn’t be caught dead in a red stretchy jumpsuit if our lives depended on it! We lived through the 80’s, been there, done that!
Yes, I’m older- maybe even wiser. (Maybe) But I’m tired of being insulted. So here’s to my sisters. All of you, because even if you’re not here yet, you will be one day! (Sooner than you think), and I hope that the existing ageism in our society is dead and gone by then, along with pharmaceutical ads and Viagra commercials!
(I’d love for you to give a shout out to your favorite fabulous 50 something woman!)