Just about everyone’s seen slideshows of perceived fashion faux pas for older women. I chuckle when it’s targeted to women over thirty; the day has dawned, sweeties. Infant would-be fashionistas have decided you’re too elderly to wear a short skirt, red lipstick, whatever. Come on over here and try on my sensible but cute sandals. Yeah, don’t make that face at me. I have enormous Irish peasant feet.
Women over fifty face ageism on a daily if not hourly basis, and you, my young friend, may have been one of the torch and scythe bearers. Which makes your ageism experience bittersweet for your elders. We women “of a certain age” aren’t willing to sit in a corner in ugly housecoats and tatty slippers just because younger men and women think we’re done with life. Au contraire! We’re just getting started, what with empty nesting, impending retirement, and the like. We were the last wave of wild children of the Sixties and knew about maryjane brownies and topless beaches before you were a glimmer in your mother’s eye. Yeah, grandma and grandpa were not always the seemingly conventional people you think. Don’t think for a minute your generation invented thigh-high boots and miniskirts. Nope, nope, nope.
So when it comes to dealing with ageism in employment, society, fashion, and especially the media, we’re done. We tuned out our parents lecturing us about staying out all night, too short dresses, hippie boyfriends, so we’re capable of tuning out infants babbling nonsense now. I laughed at the young salespeople who littered my old shop, intent on teaching about using social media, creating websites, and using productivity software. It was satisfying to show them my commercial website, shopping carts, Facebook store pages, Twitter follower count. They assumed I knew nothing because of my age.
Assume nothing, my darlings.
For my contemporaries, take up the banner and keep buying crazy beautiful shoes, makeup, hair products. Dye your hair purple, blue, pink, whatever thrills you. Take classes you always dreamed of, ignore the stares of the infants, and carpe diem. Wear clothes that suit your spirit, not what other think is age appropriate. Follow your dreams and mentally block your ears to the infants who say you’re too old. Stop judging yourself and comparing the lovely older woman in your bathroom mirror to the troubled younger woman you might have been earlier. Your body, your brain, your spirit have withstood the multiple tests of time and you are glorious. Every c-section scar, every stretch mark, every wrinkle is a testament you still breathe. Take a deep breath, look at your wonderful face in the mirror, and rejoice in the day ahead of you.
Ageism can’t take your joy, your enthusiasm for life, your hopes and dreams unless you surrender. Over the barricades, my friends, and onward towards the life you want to lead. Fearlessly. Brave and ignoring judgmental fools.
Peace, love, and bliss,