I write a lot about being a woman and aging.
(See A Table of One’s Own and On Aging.)
I am committed to changing the narrative around middle-aged and older women (and men.)
I want the women (and men) who come after me to have a better path, a more welcoming one, as they move out of “youth” into their 40’s, 50’s and beyond.
I want them to never have to feel “invisible.”
I blame advertising and other forms of media.
We simply stop seeing people on television and film, for the most part, after they turn 45 or so.
Sure, we see a few as needed for the main story. The parent of the lead. The grandparent of the lead’s kids. A judge, a doctor, maybe — although today, for the most part, you see lawyers and doctors on shows and in movies who are in their mid-20’s to mid 30’s.
Oh, sure, there is the occasional uptight matron, or kooky neighbor or unmarried aunt. Or maybe a ball-busting woman playing a politician or high-ranking military officer.
But usually, we stop seeing any stories of people over 45 until they become grumpy old men or grandma’s on rampage.
In advertising, there is a gap between women and men aged 45 until over 65 or so. We see parents until their kids go off to college, and then “bam”! Nothing until it is time for dentures and Depends.
There’s just this big gap. And in that gap would be those of us between the ages of 45 and 65.
So my theory is that because youth grow up literally not seeing people ages 45 to 65 reflected back to them on TV and in magazines and films, they simply do not see us.
We are invisible to them.
I want this to change. I want to be a part of this change.
I am doing what I can by finding people who are brave enough to write stories that contain middle-aged and older people in central roles and stories and doing all I can to get cast in their pieces or support their work however I can by donating or watching or simply giving them a “Way to go!”
And I am writing my own stories that will reflect that population and am working to produce them.
I can go and support films of the people who have already done this. I can watch shows such as “Grace and Frankie” on Netflix who are featuring stories of people in their 70’s to support the efforts being made to get people over 45 into meaningful stories.
I do not yet know how else, but I know that I will be a part of this change.
It will be a sea change, for sure. But a change is a’coming, if I have my way.