Midlife Visibility – if you are a woman of a certain age it’s an issue, especially if you are in business.
We all know looks fade with age and bodies either get heavier and even for gym bunnies lose that ease and tautness of youth.
So, no matter what you look like or how well you dress the chances are – unless you are influential, famous or a celebrity – you won’t quite the dash that you once did.
We have a wealth of experience, of knowledge and understanding of how things tick but maybe the world doesn’t quite see us like that.
A force to be reckoned with
In fact, older women in business are a force to be reckoned with and yet there seems to be an unspoken self-confidence epidemic a collective question about, Who am I? What am I doing? “What am I supposed to be doing at my age?”
Statistics show there are more women starting businesses in midlife than ever before and did you know entrepreneurs aged 50 plus are more successful than younger ones.
But for those starting out in mid-age where are our role models?
Take a look at the image libraries offering free pictures on social media – you’ll find women in business are portrayed as young in their 20s, 30s – slim-limbed, smooth tummies with long glossy hair, painted nails and stilettos.
Older women appear but mostly in supporting roles… but this cultural indifference to mid-life goes further.
Search for images of mid-life women and technology, computers and video and what comes up are cosy images of grey-haired ladies in their 70s or 80s being shown how to use a computer so they can speak to distant grandchildren.
Of course, there are a few paid stock images available of older women streaming video on their mobile phones but who can afford £60 for one image for a here today gone tomorrow social media post?
Doubly Invisible, Doubly Disempowered?
So in mid-life you risk becoming doubly invisible, doubly disempowered, held back by self-doubt and diminishing confidence and cultural expectations.
Maybe that’s why women aged 50 plus are really not sure about stepping out of the shadows and being the face of their business and are terrified of pictures, video, even their own voice?
And I’m not immune to this reluctance to step out into the spotlight either, and come up with any number of excuses, being an introvert, the cancer scars on my face from a malignant eyelid lump, the fact that my speech is peppered with umms, hesitations and filler words and that some days raising the energy to get out of my pyjamas and put on some make-up is sometimes just not there.
Then there’s the question about do I need validation? Am I seeking validation?
And if I am, at my age – I probably shouldn’t be.