Empowering Older Women. Important because the purpose of today’s post is to share some perspective that useful for any women. And those who care about us. And especially those who care about seniors, living now.
You see, Blog-Buddies, certain important, helpful, new understandings are NOT common knowledge today. Meanwhile there’s a boatload of senior-targeted products and ideas that are growing increasingly popular. And they might be pretty lousy ideas, actually.
Let’s sort out both of them. And, yes, I recommend reading and responding to today’s article even if you’re not a senior (yet). Even if you’re 20 or 30 years old, this knowledge will stand you in good stead for the future.
Especially, though I’m writing for my fellow seniors. Yum, here goes!
Empowering Older Women or Exploiting Us?
Recently I was watching TV and lo! Onto the screen came Jane Seymour, famous and beloved for her medicine woman role, dating from 1993.
Apparently radiant, with a sweet voice and looking like she’s NOT 25 years older. Which creeps me out a bit. (You too?) However, advertising-wise she’s perfect for this new role as a gently optimistic person who has retained her high-status British accent after all these years as an American citizen.
And what is Jane’s latest role? Starring in a highly effective commercial for some skin cream that is touted to repair crepey skin.
Hey, at age 70, I’ve started to get some crepey skin: A certain kind of wrinkly, flabby muscle tone that doesn’t exactly look like, “Ready for my close-up on camera.”
Back when I was 30, I had a close friend my age, a brilliant MIT graduate. Gladys had some back then. Not all of us live to go to the gym!
Empowering Older Women by Shaming Them?
Anyway, the gist of the commercial was simple, and you’ve probably seen many on this same theme. Basically a senior is starting to look… like a senior. There are visible signs.
Just for giggles — or not — note how many of the top-rated articles at the previous link are about “Fight” and “Fix.” Erggg.
Sure enough, in commercials like Jane’s, the viewer is told four things… as if this weird quartet of ideas were axiomatic, maybe as immutable as the basis for Euclidean geometry.
- Be ashamed, be very ashamed, if — shockingly! — you have developed this sign of aging.
- If only you’ll buy this super-fantastic product, nobody will know how old you are. (Rose can’t resist adding, “It might also help if you always wear gloves and turtlenecks.” 😉
- Looking younger than your age matters because, supposedly, everybody judges you based on how you look.
- You can’t possibly have self-respect if you look your age.
On the whole, aren’t many of us seniors told to look like women half our age? Warned not “let ourselves go”? Because, unless you’re a weak slob of a person, aging never has to happen to you… no matter how old you get. Supposedly.
Gee, Maybe Most of Us Don’t Look Like Them Because…
We aren’t mega-millionaires.
Who work in showbiz.
Nor are we high-level celebrities who can afford the finest cosmetic surgery in the land.
Plus, here’s another leetle detail: Seymour and Lowe may seem “average” to us because we’re used to seeing folks on American TV who are ridiculously good looking. As viewers, we might start to identify with them. Except that ordinary humans, like me, will never, ever be that gorgeous. Not at any age.
Finally, the weirdest part: Today’s vanity culture is a huge and complex part of collective consciousness, adding to other illusions here at Earth School. Yes, I point that out as an Enlightenment Coach, also as someone who has written about The Anorexic Ideal.
And yet, I’m still a woman, someone trying to find my way in this weird vanity culture. Which brings us to…
Empowering Older Women or Not? A Humorous Interlude
Just in case this gives you a giggle, Blog-Buddies. How was I first-drafting this blog post? Usually on Fridays, a have a weekly maintenance routine:
- Putting a bright orange clay mask on my face, aiming to improve the bits of skin that aren’t yet all wrinkly.
- And also placing something lovely and lubricating on my hair.
As it happened, I was doing my weekly beauty ritual late in the day… and while my son was here, visiting. Actually he was sitting at the kitchen table, eating lunch. Undaunted, right in front of my son, I marched downstairs from my pink RES office and applied my weekly beauty potion for hair.
Exactly what is in this amazing hair treatment? Hellman’s Mayonnaise — which I ladle out of the big jar from COSTCO, using an over-sized spoon. About three huge spoonfuls does it. After drop-and-plopping each spoonful onto my head, I proceeded to precision-glop this mess all over my hair, then top it off with my clever and disposable turban, a recycled plastic bag.
While viewing this unusual glimpse into the world of feminine beautification, what was the reaction of my 20-something son? About what you’d imagine. (Hint: In the Weber-Rosetree family, we laugh a lot.)
And yes, I’ve first drafted this article with an orange face and mayonnaise hair. So much for the “glamour side “around here of trying to keep up appearances. Okay, now back to what’s serious.
Empowering Older Women. Luckily, We Have Certain Extra Life Tasks
Self-beautification practices like mine are quite optional. But what has become necessary for most seniors who aren’t simply struggling to survive? (Rose included.)
Many of us wisely choose to spend time on maintaining our health. That might mean:
- Daily yoga asanas or other stretches
- Daily exercise
- Lifting weights a couple times a week
- Diligently doing exercises we learned from a trainer or from a favorite DVD.
- Or making time for homework assigned by a highly skilled physical therapist.
Is this a luxury? No. I do 4 out of these 5, and do most of them every day of my life.
To me, it’s a necessity. An investment in health. And also paying the price for living at this phase of my life.
Empowering Older Women Might Mean Understanding This Simple Concept:
Paying the Price
For every good thing we have in life, we must pay the price. That’s how human life is, here at Earth School
One of my favorite topics at this blog, actually, is the series of posts and guest posts about Paying the Price.
Hey, do you want the privilege of having the outrageously long life span of a person living now?
Do you wish to combine this longevity with living productively?
And do you really believe in holistic health, such as doing your share to stay healthy?
Then we’ve just got to do our part, don’t we?
Empowering Older Women. Choose Which Story You Tell Yourself
Whatever age and stage of life that you’re in right now, do you realize? Of course you tell yourself a story about everyday life. Including that “Paying the Price” part.
Given the vanity culture, it’s all too easy to blame yourself for needing to take good care of your physical body.
And far too many of my brothers and sisters who are in midlife or older… Draw a straight line from “I no longer look like I’m twenty” to “Poor me, my health is betraying me.”
And that’s really really unnecessary — unless choosing such a narrative gives you pleasure, in which case, enjoy yourself.
Personally, my story is simple:
- I love my life. I love my family and friends. Also, I love my work, where RES Experts and long-term clients are very dear to me.
- As for my body, I’m grateful that it serves me so well; and I’m willing to do my part to keep up my end of this bargain.
- Yet success at any age cannot demand that you don’t look your age.
- Regarding my appearance, I’m game to do my reasonable best there, too. Yet never taking that aspect too seriously.
- You know why not? Because life’s too long for nonsense like that.