The Guardian published an article (a crap one btw…but the CIS/below the line crew already pointed that out for me) about older women and their disappearing sexuality in the media (here, if you must http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/16/women-not-allowed-grow-old-erotically). It kind of missed the point to my mind, because it’s not older women and sex that has disappeared from the media, but just older women…. full stop.
In film you can certainly be in your 40’s and get a job, but you had better look in your 30’s. In advertising, make sure that you don’t look much older than 20. In the print media? Well, unless you get your perky young breasts out, or you’ve sung on Xfactor you won’t be seen at all. News reading is largely the job of younger women, although Newsnight commendably has journos who are of a similar age to the men. Women my age – i.e. in our 50’s, just don’t get seen at all. We don’t have the ageing glam thing – Helen Mirren on this side of the pond (Meryl Streep/ Barbra Streisand on the other) we’re just not old enough to have become a national treasure like Judi Dench.
Fashion for women my age isn’t too fancy either: you can find stuff in M&S if you’re happy with the ‘jeans and….’combo (and acres of bland workwear) and maybe pick up the odd thing that might ‘do’, but they really want you to step into the Per Una or Classics range. Which frankly I don’t like at all – it’s frumpy and middle aged. I might technically be in the middle of my adulthood but I don’t feel ready for frou-frou and a nice scarf just yet. Other high street fashion ranges are really all about the youth. Next does bits and bobs, everywhere else it’s disposable fashion and clothes for the young and thin.
But to be honest, I think that socially we vanish anyway: I find that as I walk along pavements I end up giving way to the young as they march, fully confident down the streets. Women with buggies casually barge me aside. The only group that give way are the very young, who see my grey hair and give me the benefit of seniority. If nothing else.
Women are the second sex, older women are not even that. We’re ghosts.