Use-by date by 40? Or Best Before?

January 20, 2013

Question #138: Why is ‘young’ the only flavour on offer for women?

I am a 42 year old woman, just shy of my 43rd birthday, and I have a huge problem with the way females negatively discuss their age around the start of this decade. There is little doubt that the money-crunching wheel out there has had a lot to do with this toxic epidemic, as it’s at this time where a woman’s invisibility occurs in her representation – once she hits her ineffectual use-by date. 40.

Even if women see themselves as ‘Best Before’ 40 – it’s still a completely disheartening state of affairs. That’s a lot of sad females not reaching their amazing (and needed) potential in this crumbling social world, at the midpoint their lives.

From the article – The mysterious case of the disappearing women – comes the following:

“Try climbing through higher education, motherhood, self-employment, years of self-improvement, gyms, diets, abstinence of everything enjoyable – from ciggies to Magnums to suntans – to selflessness, to finally reach the summit of womanhood, fit, exultant and ready to fly – to find . . . a generational wipeout,” she ruminated in a column in The Sun-Herald.
“Visibility: zero. Scream ‘Where the bloody hell are you?’ all you like, but don’t look to the movies, the media or airwaves because, aside from Gillard, Germaine on Adam Hills in Gordon St Tonight the other week, glimpses of Jenny Brockie and Jennifer Byrne, Kristin Scott Thomas and Juliette Binoche buried deep within the bowels of a French film festival, there’s barely anyone out there who represents my age group.” Ouch.

Ouch indeed.

The documentary Miss Representation, disclosed statistics showing that although women aged 40+ comprise a large chunk of our gender, we are microscopically misrepresented in the media – especially in film.

What we are being saturated with, are images of women in their 20s – generally looking perky and ‘hot’. The damage this does to our developing young girls alone, is something that should inspire us to act in a more positive light towards our aging bodies. But no.
Even though women in their 30s are still attractively visible – there’s no denying that it’s the decade when it all starts to trickle down to being transparent. The irony is that many women who are in the limelight, struggle through that decline kicking and screaming, disfiguring their faces with injections and surgery, only to still end up on the ‘too old’ scrapheap. Double irony? Their male counterparts are doing just fine in their (generally) natural, greying and lumpy selves. And they don’t look freakish.

It’s been said a million times (which just imbeds that frustration in a bit further) but this is happening because a woman’s true value and efficacy is being packaged to solely be attached to her youthful glow and, in turn, her sexual allure. Can’t be older AND be sexually attractive! Goodness me. That’s simply not possible.
My eyes! My eyes!

Doesn’t it infuriate women to know that even though they spend billions on ‘improving’ themselves (just like they tell us to), it hasn’t afforded them any more airtime?

How sad that for many females, in this time when they are truly coming into their own skin and really start to understand who they are; where they want to run out onto the street and toss their hat up in the air like Mary Tyler Moore – is the exact moment society doesn’t want to know. I found myself feeling vital and energised when I turned 40, in many areas of my life and I know that there are many, MANY women who feel the same – so where are the tales of my fellow sisters in the same proverbial boat?

It would be simply marvellous to actually hear the stories of women’s life experiences – with a spectrum of what’s possible – not just witness the same narrative over and over again, where the story is about the male and his destiny and the young and ‘gorgeous’ girl chases guy for love (or support), or worse still, we actually DO see the wonderful achievements of women, only to have them be overshadowed by her outfit or cellulite issues.

We’re ever so much more.

I would also like to strenuously point out that if, on average, we live to the age of 80:

Are we really saying we’re going to be depressed for HALF our lives about our age? 

>>>> Half our lives?? <<<<

Surely NOT!
Embrace the magnificent being you are and get out there and enjoy those next 40 years! That’s an order.

Deep Breath.

x

invisible_woman_poster_02

2 Responses to “Use-by date by 40? Or Best Before?”

  1. lamehousewife said

    Good one, and that’s why I love the example of Mother Teresa! Women have a lot to offer and still be respected, but it doesn’t have to be restricted to her staying young forever…at least in this part of the journey. Blessings, Paula!

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