The target audience of this rant is women. Not all women, just those women “of a certain age.”
You know who you are. If the words “of a certain age” made the hair on the back of your neck stand up, this rant is for you!
Is is just me, or do you too feel invisible?
I never considered myself a narcissist or a woman who required an undo amount of attention (although, I admit, I’ve never shy’d away from the spotlight by any means!), but the past several years, I’ve begun questioning my very existence!
It’s not just the way people on the street don’t bother giving way to me and more times than not, they just walk right into me; it’s not caused by those people in Waitrose who reach right across me to fill their plastic bag with apples, without a word; it’s not even based on the fact that when I hold a door open for someone, they walk right past me without even a glance in my general direction.
No… although these things certainly don’t help with my feelings of invisibleness, it goes much deeper.
I believe I’m invisible because I am no longer valuable as a woman.
Let’s face it… my baby making days are well over! My eggs (even if there are one or two that got left behind) are way past their sell by date! And goodness knows we have enough non compos mentis people out there in this crazy world, without my tired, old eggs getting fertilised and maturing!
My innate, maternal instincts seem to have noticeably diminished. Although I love children and babies, I cringe at the sound of a crying toddler; I no longer think children with green slim, running down their tiny little faces, are cute; and I find the thought of changing a “dirty” diaper, most unappealing!
“Strike One.” I am no longer seen as a Mother Earth, Madonna, Goddess of Fertility and Life Force figure.
Being a child of the 60’s , I did my part to help drive the “sexual revolution” forward. (You’re welcome, it was my pleasure!) And I was once seen as a somewhat sensual, if not sexual creature. (Okay, stop laughing!) It wasn’t that long ago (Or was it?) that I was still able to turn a head or two, (sorry, no pun intended), … but alas, I’m aware that my… ummm, shall we say “zippity do da,” has got up and left!
Nowadays, I’m not particularly well known for my sexual prowess-ness. My hair is dull and some weird tone of white and silver combined. My face shows signs of wear and tear and my body parts seem to have a mind of their own! It’s like bits and pieces of me are constantly moving around, searching for their final resting place! Nothing is where it used to be and I have come to truly believe that gravity is the strongest, most powerful force ever!
“Strike Two” – I am no longer viewed as a temptress, a femme fatale, or a seductress.
There was a time when I was valued, desired and perhaps even revered for my skills, knowledge and experience in the world of business and finance. I stood with the best of them; those courageous, but weary, middle managers who were pushed, pulled and ultimately flattened by the equal forces felt from those above and those below.
These were the good times… well, maybe they were just okay times, but at least I was seen. I was not invisible. I was viewed as someone to be reckoned with. I was someone’s competition.
“Strike Three” – I am no longer contributing to the bottom line. I’m not an individual contributor; a leader; a player; a cog in the system; a brick in the wall.
All of these things and more have slowly, but surely, made me invisible.
I may not yet look like your stereotypical picture of an old lady, but in the eyes of society, I definitely fall into this dreaded category! I’m just some old lady who is no longer needed, wanted and perhaps no longer even relevant.
Well, I have something to say about that… FUCK YOU society, because this old lady ain’t going down without a fight!
If you bump into me in the street, be prepared to be bumped right back! Or at least scolded about your bad behaviour and poor manners! If you reach across me in Waitose, like I’m not even standing there, you will find yourself on the wrong end of my best “stink eye!”
And to all of you young, sexy, confident women out there who sometimes look at me with distain, like I’m a useless relic from the past… Please know, if it weren’t for me and my girls, back in the day… If it weren’t for those of us who fought for your equality, burned our bras, exercised our right to sexual freedom (without condemnation and judgement), and fought for your right to have control over your body, your world might be a very different place!
So the next time you see an old lady out and about… be sure to give her the respect, admiration and approval that she deserves. She’s been there and has probably done that. She may be fading, but she is not inviable. She’s important, relevant, experienced and in her own, very unique way, she is wise beyond her years.
Don’t look through her… see her. For she is your future.