I’ve been studying and surveying women age 50+ for a few years now. Wondering if I’m an anomaly as a member of this fabulous demographic. Recently, I conducted a fairly extensive survey of women on Facebook. The responses came from all over the world.
A most intriguing pattern emerged from the data.20% of surveyed women sighted feeling invisible as most annoying about being 50+. https://befabrevolution.com/invisible-women Click To Tweet
That got me thinking…Are any of us immune to feeling invisible?
I then wondered about “strong” women? You know those women at the pinnacle of their careers, those growing their own businesses, those movers & shakers in their church and community, those women in the streets marching for their convictions all around the globe. Do they ever feel invisible?
Then I realized I was talking about myself and a boatload of women I personally know.
In my previous career spanning 20+ years, I’ve been a high-powered consultant to companies of the likes of General Motors, Universal Studios, Bank of America, United Airlines, Nestle, Intel, and Nike (to name a few). I developed a lot of moxie years ago to do what I’ve done so successfully.
But, back to the topic at hand…
When I First Noticed My Invisibility
I consider myself a strong, not easily intimidated woman. But I can recount the first time I really noticed that I might be invisible to others. The realization was visceral.
It happened two summers ago in the frozen food section at the grocery store (where most things happen, right?). I was strolling through the aisle simply to cool off as summer has long abandoned me as my bestie. Thank you menopause.
I walked through the aisle with a basket tucked over one arm, wearing a nice pair of jeans. A young woman walked toward me from the other end.
She was me about 30 years ago; pert, slender, glowy, and confident in her yoga tights. Clearly, yoga was serving her well or it’s simply youth.
Note to self…where IS that yoga DVD?
A man about my age appeared from behind me and walked past me …or maybe he walked right through me. To him, I didn’t exist. I was unseen.
I watched for his head to completely swivel 360 degrees as he checked her out, while she dissed him as she passed by. I guess I wasn’t the only invisible one in that 7-second encounter. LOL!
I felt a quick pang of sadness, then I burst out laughing to myself. In that moment, I realized that I was invisible. I used to be that head turner. Now, invisible.
You’re undoubtedly thinking, “Who cares about some skeevy guy?” But it’s something so much bigger than that.
I then started watching women and how they see me.
I noticed that a lot of younger women seemed to look through me too. I used to be among the ranks where younger women would look at me to “size me up.” Better wardrobe? shoes? hair? That doesn’t happen any longer. I’m completely fine with that…
…but it does irk me to not be seen at all.
Do We Like Talking About This? We Don’t!
The other day at a women’s luncheon event, I cornered as many women as I could individually to query them about this notion of feeling invisible. These were all business owning & growing women in their 50s.
This is NOT a comfortable topic for us, I observed as each reaction reinforced this.
All but one of my corralled fillies admitted they experience feeling invisible on a somewhat regular basis. Strong, badass women.
I noticed that shame comes up for us too. It’s not vanity. It’s just a byproduct of being inculcated by our youth-obsessed culture.
The only group in which I’ve NOT felt the little sting of invisibility is with my own demographic; my tribe, my sisters.
When our eyes meet in a crowded restaurant or another setting… the eyes say it all, “I know you. I see you. I am you.”For women over 50, feeling invisible isn't our shame to carry. https://befabrevolution.com/invisible-women Click To Tweet
What Can We Do About It?
As a demographic on the precipice of invisibility (as per our cultural norms), we can shift the conversation and set new standards for what it means to be experienced, wise, compassionate, valued and contributory.
There is another phase of life that lies between Ingénue and Crone.
I think we are the vibrant generation of women who can define what that is and gift it to younger women and society to stop the flow of women aging into invisibility.
We need to come together to support each other to overcome encroaching invisibility. https://befabrevolution.com/invisible-women Click To Tweet to empower each other to live our best life possible and have a little fun along the way.
When asked the question, What do you like best about being connected to other women? women over 50 said:
- Like minded women supporting each other and sharing
- Seeing what we as women have in common
- Wonderful support offered by strangers
- Great insight into solutions other women may find while aging gracefully
- Confirmation that I’m not alone in my thoughts of being a woman over 50
I’ve delved into countless closed/private groups for women on Facebook and I have to say that I’m monumentally disappointed with what I’ve experienced!
These so-called “communities” are comprised of nothing but memes. Now, I do love me some cute memes that inspire, but what I find in these communities are tons of demeaning memes about sagging boobs and forgetfulness or disempowering depictions of what menopause turns us into. It leaves me feeling a bit icky.
There’s no meat! There’s no engagement. There’s no sharing of our experiences. There’s no getting to know each other. There’s no lending a helping hand. There’s no boosting each other up. There’s no compassionate ear. There’s no celebrating each other. There’s just no THERE, there.
There’s SO much to us, and for us. We deserve a lot more than a funny joke or an inspirational quote. We all yearn to connect with like-minded women traveling along similar passages.
We all yearn to connect with like-minded women traveling along similar passages. And you may not realize the power of community, especially when it’s online, but oh, sister, a community of women can help you grow your wings and soar. It’s powerful … magical, if it’s done right.
So, I’ve created a MEANINGFUL community for women 50+. Something that allows us to connect with each other. Learn from each other. Contribute to each other. Let ourselves be heard. Get advice from each other, we have so much knowledge and experience to contribute. Share some tears and big belly laughs together.
Get to know other women whom you will soon regard as the sisters you never had or the sisters you always wanted.
We are FABULOUS!
Jump in and let’s be fabulous together.
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