‘At her age?!’
The judgement that’s put on middle aged women for how they look, behave and dress. There’s a certain point where there is a dictation about what a woman should – or shouldn’t – wear. The fear of ‘Mutton’ is real. Nobody wants to feel foolish but on the other hand, feeling frumpy is even worse!
Then there’s the ‘you look great for your age’ intended compliment. Or my favourite ‘when I’m old I hope I look like you!’. It’s really lovely, seeing a pretty young thing with admiring eyes but the word ‘old’ just has such awful connotations. Often reinforced by society’s narrow minded view of how middle aged plus women should be.
The media bitching about ageing stars, their surgery, wrinkles and wardrobe only exacerbates the issue. A few months ago a national newspaper wanted to profile me. I was delighted to discuss my career, life story, view points… I should have known better. The moment I arrived I realised this was not the gig I thought I had signed up for. The entire piece was about my aesthetics, my attitude to ageing and nothing else. Sexist, offensive and depressing.
For the most part I do care how I look and I’m willing to invest effort, time and money in order to feel the best I can. Feeling passionate about my purpose, taking good care of my health and looking good, all give me a spring in my step and the vitality to get out there and shake things up a bit.
We shouldn’t feel the need to pander to other people’s beliefs about ageing. So I for one shall be spending the summer challenging the old ageist paradigm. But the wider conversation around picking at how women (rarely men) should dress and look over 40 needs to be addressed.
The summer and particularly the beach can be a hideous public stage for who looks the best at what age. Let’s stop it. Let’s be just happy the sun is shining and we can get those good weather endorphins going. Wear what YOU feel good in, own your beauty & forget the rest. Life’s for living and you, my friend, are leading the way!