It’s not all that easy to be an aging woman in a society that does not seem to value older women. 

In the media, photos are altered. Air-brushed.

Why the need to make the arm appear thinner? To some it may be a subtle change. To me it looks abnormal.

Again, why?

As women age, they tend to become less visible. In a society that seems to cherish youth.

There was a time in our culture when older women were revered. Adored. Respected and valued.

Signs of aging doesn’t bother me. In terms of looks or worrying about wrinkles. I don’t color my gray. 

I don’t judge anyone who does. It just doesn’t feel necessary to me.

I simply regret that women feel the need to get Botox and facelifts in order to feel beautiful.

Think of the actresses that are over 50, 60. Maybe they have aged, but they have not lost their ability to act.

So where are they?

Then think of the men in Hollywood. They don’t seem to get lost in the shuffle.

I once knew a man who said: “Men age like fine leather. Women just age.” 

I wonder why that thought dominates our culture? 

That pretty much sums up how I feel.

I know that I have far more wisdom now than I had at 20, 30, 40 or even 50. 

I have more empathy and understanding. Because to live means to learn.

Women, as they age, are less likely to marry. Men, they are sought after.

Men sire children without a thought to their age.

Excerpt from Men’s Health December 2016: Aging Means Problems On Your Sperm Production Line

Women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever need. Men, on the other hand, are literal sperm factories.  

There’sno expiration date on when guys can father a child. Case in point: Rocker Mick Jagger just had his eighth child at the age of 73.

You can blame exposure to things like radiation, environmental toxins, and plain old aging.

As you grow older and these factors pile up, you lose both Leydig cells—the cells in your testicles that make testosterone—and Sertoli cells, which support and nurture new sperm, Dr. Brannigan notes.

As a result, your body starts to churn out more defective sperm, which contain DNA mutations that could harm your babies-to-be.

The average 30-year-old dad passes on about 55 mutations to his offspring, according to a paper published in Nature. But each year you age increases that number by two, the authors found.

That means every 16.5 years, the number of mutations you pass along will double. And in 50 years—say, at age 80 instead of 30—you’d bequeath eight times as many DNA mutations. 

What’s more, autism rates rise from 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 174 for kids whose dads had them after age 40.

But, men keep on finding young women to have babies.

So what gives, do you think? 

Why do you think aging women sort of disappear? While aging men continue to be sought after?

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  1. Carrie Fisher has some great quotes on this subject" Youth and beauty are not accomplishments, they're the temporary, happy bi products of time or DNA. Don't hold your breath for either"

  2. Interesting article Brenda. My mom is 71 and is a professor at a local college. She says that some of her students believe America is more accepting of older people – – that in their countries, age discrimination is much worse. Many countries believe youth ends at 35, and for many jobs they don't even want you to apply if you're older. Ouch. How sad that by the point in life when you actually know something, they don't want you because you might look a little "tired." My mom also said that in many countries, she would have been forced to retire by now. She is a gifted, energetic teacher who really cares about her students (according to her students), so what a loss that would've been.

    But, I do agree with you (as does my mom btw) about the gap between men and women aging in our country. It does seem like our society feels that men are "distinguished" as they age, and women are just "getting old and wrinkled."

    For me, I feel like I am always looking to women who are a stage or more beyond me for inspiration. We all want to believe we have "many more good years" to be productive, have an impact, make a difference and maybe even inspire others. When I see my mom, she is doing this with her family and all her students, and she is now in her 70s. When I see you, you are doing this through your written words and your care for your readers. While I don't think of myself as a mentor, I hope that in small ways, I encourage younger women and moms along the way. No matter what stage we're at, we want to have hope for the future, be accepted for who we are, and feel needed (or at least thought of), don't you think?

  3. As a senior woman I don't miss men treating me like a piece of meat. I'm quite happy to be invisible to them now! ?
    My light brown hair is graying and I will never color it. I don't wear make-up either, except for a little lip gloss occasionally. I'm a few pounds heavier than I used to be. Lots of wrinkles around my eyes. I'm ok with all of this and my husband seems to be quite happy with me just the way I am, but if he wasn't I'd tell him to take a hike! Ha! I definitely speak my mind these days, although I try to be tactful about it. I will not put up with anyone treating me badly. I have rid myself of all toxic relationships because I think that is really what ages us and makes us sick.
    I don't care what celebrities are doing. I don't think that is reality for most of us. Here in the Midwest most women look like their aging naturally. There are always a few still trying to look like they're in their 20s, but they just look desperate to me…. I really think our youth obsessed culture is driven by the media and corporations, so they can sell us all those products to make us look younger. And sell expensive sports cars and surgical hair plugs to aging men! It's all about the money!

  4. Great post! This is a hot-button topic for sure. The comments are almost as interesting as the post. I let my hair go grey a few years ago, and haven't regretted it for a moment. Because I have a younger husband who does keep himself very fit, I have occasionally been asked if I were his mother. I just laugh and say, "No I robbed the cradle!" It is worth it just to see the looks on their faces.

  5. I love the top photo of the great lady in the sunglasses and red lipstick. That woman is saying, I have not disappeared, I am still here and I don't give a hoot what you think about it. She has some sass and I think that is what I want to emulate for 2017. I am 61, my hair has turned gray, and I don't mind that. But my mom, who is age 86, hates it that I don't color my hair. I guess it makes her feel old to have a daughter with gray hair! My mom does color her hair, and it never looks the same color twice. But, oh well, it makes her happy to color it. To each her own.

  6. 8 months ago, at the age of 61, I decided to let my hair go gray. You would have thought I committed a crime! My friends were so upset with me as was my hairdresser! Too bad! I love my gray hair (it came in beautiful!), I love my wrinkles and I love being more comfortable in my skin! This is the best stage of being my own person to date!!

    1. I admire what you did. They should have too. My graying hair is wiry and probably not going to be the good kind of gray hair. But it is what it is. And I don't plan on altering it.

  7. As a Woman who has reached the Senior years I find it to be quite liberating actually. I think personally that self respect and confidence is attractive at any age… being comfortable in your own skin and Loving yourself radiates outwards and that vibe is often picked up on. I've received random and sincere compliments from even Young Men and Women… perhaps Joy and Peace we Feel inside makes it so that the exterior, however aged, can still be appreciated. It is always very sad to me to see those with the Mantle of Maturity trying to camouflage it by trying to appear Youthful… it just looks so desperate to me and isn't at all a graceful way to age. But yes, our Society does value and covet what Youth showcases externally and certainly there is much gender bias and differences of opinion on what is your 'Prime'. As for me, these are the best times of my Life being ME without any pretenses nor apologies. And I am Proud to say I am not only a Grandmother now but a Great-Grandmother… Old Age is a Privilege not afforded to many, Cherish it if you are among the few to have attained it! Happy New Year from the Arizona Desert… Dawn… The Bohemian

    1. I agree with you: Old age is a privilege not afforded to many. I find it liberating as well. When I was young and pretty, it got me into all kinds of trouble!

  8. From what I have observed, women are aging better these days but men are still losing their hair and getting that paunchy belly which makes them look less attractive. However, I think it's wisdom and maturity and a good sense of humor…not so much looks…that carries the day, IMO. And that goes for almost any age man or woman.

    I do know that the older I get that the young things that wait on you in the shops are less likely to pay attention to you and ask if you need help if there are younger, more "hip" looking people around. That's annoying! Sometimes it makes me want to pull a "Pretty Woman" maneuver like she did when getting ignored. lol!

    Btw, I think Faith Hill looks prettier and more healthy in the first photo rather than the photo-shopped one!

  9. Isn't it amazing that they think a woman as beautiful as Faith Hill needs to be touched-up??..Craziness..I'm short and round and have been all of my life..I don't think that is going to change at this late you know boyfriend of 20 years left me for a woman 20 years younger than me..He has always been afraid of growing older so I'm sure he jumped at the chance when she started to pay him attention…I believe that is it for most men who do these things..Fear of aging…She is very naive when it comes to men but she will learn some valuable lessons from

    1. I know! She didn't need to be retouched like that at all! And I agree. Men are afraid to get old. My ex was like that. I used to tell him it's better than the alternative!

  10. I'm 60 now and don't feel ignored or forgotten at all. I'm still a full-time teacher of a small class of special education students in Grades 4 and 5 so maybe that is why. The young teachers love coming to me for advice, and socially, we talk, laugh, and share stories about our own children and families.

    Mentally, I still feel as with it as I did 30 years ago but the physical side of me is beginning to complain. ? That's okay! I've been waiting for that day to show up and sure enough it's finally here.

    Actually, I was off work last year for 5 months due to foot surgery and on Tuesday, the surgeon is going to work on this same foot some more. So I'll be off work again. Hopefully, my recovery will be much smoother this time, if I can stay upright on my crutches this time. Yes, I was born a klutz and 60 years later, I still haven't changed!

    I don't think the plastic surgery has hit Canada the same way as it has in some parts of the US. It could be that the places I've visited down your way are just more heavily into 'looks' than other areas.

    I have a group of retired friends who are all 7 to 10 years older than me. They are all very busy socially and busy doing volunteer work in our community. In fact, I think they're busier than me. All of them are highly regarded by everyone who knows them, even those who are decades younger.

    I personally think if women stay visible in their community, they will continue to be respected as they always were. As my mum aged, she became a grumpy old woman because she was angry about how her life story turned out (married to a violent alcoholic and although she worked, she had NO social life). I decided I would not be that way when I grew old so I look for the positive things going on around me at all times.

    1. Good luck with your surgery this time around. I will be 60 next month. I know women who won't go to the mailbox without full makeup. But I just can't live like that. I never wear make up.

  11. What a great post! What you say is absolutely true! And I think the comments hit it on the head. Our culture is drunk on youthfulness. I am 72, 73 in two months and I like to look good, but I'm not about to color my gray–too much time and trouble to keep it up. I'd rather be doing something more useful and fun. And less expensive! And the cosmetic surgery really is out of control. I'm just plain chicken to submit my body to that kind of surgical procedure. And then, after a few years, it needs to be done again. Nope!
    I think of poor Joan Rivers. She looked not at all like herself before she died. Not attractive to me. She was attractive in her youth and I think if she had allowed herself to age naturally she would have remained attractive as an older woman without the fake, stretched skin look.

    Well that's just my opinion. I don't subscribe to much of the "trends" either in surgical inhancements or fashions.

    I enjoyed your post immensely and have subscribed so I can look forward to more.

    1. Good for you, Naomi! You make us proud. Yes, Joan Rivers and many of these women don't even look like themselves at all. Surely they don't want that.

  12. I have been thinking of this topic for awhile. I even thought about posting about all the cosmetics offered now at very steep prices. Another writer said she had tried Rowan and Fields(I think that's the right name.). Then she went on to tell what she uses. There were all kinds of different products from different companies. My DIL sells Arbonne. She gave me a whole set of there products for me to try. I read through the instructions. I am going to have to number the steps. Oh my.

    Yesterday on TV they were showing this tape that you put on your face to pull back your skin to look younger. It's just crazy , I think.

  13. It is human nature to go to that which is beautiful…and to most people anymore—young and beautiful is more important than OLD. Just kind of sad, really. I see several older actresses that I think are just beautiful Helen Mirren comes to mind…and Meryl Streep…to name a couple. They have 'aged well' without all the Botox and face lifts (or if they had them they were very subtle).
    Thought provoking post, Brenda. I like it! xo Diana

  14. I think it is our culture / TV and Movie influences etc. What an interesting and thought provoking post! 🙂
    I know that the Asian cultures are different or at least WERE…not sure if our "Western" culture is encroaching there as well

  15. Hollywood and the lifestyles of millionaires aren't what life is like for the vast majority of society. Sure, 80 year old Mack Megabucks has a 25 year old bimbo for a 3rd wife, and Aging Mr. Hollywood Star is still considered a dreamboat with graying hair and a weathered hide while Over-the-hill Starlet has to get dyed, botoxed, plastic surgeried to remain barely relevant, ordinary folks not so much IMO.

    At least in my limited experience, the middle-aged and elder women generally look much better than the men. Frankly, a lot of the men are downright revolting physically IMO and not in the least like fine leather.

    I have no clue what the dating scene is like as one gets older. I suppose it's harder for older women and hard for older men who aren't wealthy. And since women tend to out-live men, I suppose as time marches on that even the most repulsive old man could have old ladies chasing him while the sweet and adorable widow his age has no romantic prospects. But does she want that anyway?

    Funny thing is I am 56, gray hair, and about 100 lbs overweight so I probably look older and I don't feel invisible or less than or envious of anyone. Frankly, I wish I had been as comfortable in my own skin as I am now back when I was 20, 30, 40.

  16. Well now, who are seeking out these men? Women, that's who. Or very young men. Both looking for Sugar Daddies, or occasionally a Father Figure.

    It's evolution and biology that cause men to be attracted to younger women.

    Women complain about men preferring young beautiful women, and men complain about women preferring powerful, wealthy men.

    It's basic science, regardless of gender.

    There's nothing new about venerating youth, complaining about the youth of today not sufficiently revering their elders. Socrates was whining about it 300 or 400 years before Christ was born.

    I still see respect for older women everywhere, now more than ever. And if it IS disappearing, the blame lies at the feet of those who raised the disrespectful ones.

    I have always interpreted the Landers quote more as saying we were worrying about a whole lot of nothing, rather than we were completely ignored, by the way.

    I say let the young, beautiful women in their prime keep all the drama and mess of youth, and enjoy it while they can. I shall sit right here, eating and saying what I please, because I know most people have their own lives and troubles on their mind, and are not constantly thinking bad thoughts about old broads like me! 😛

  17. I truly think it has been an American thing. we are a youth culture nation. we obsess about it and the Madison avenue folks push it like a drug. to the point that the young even need 'enhancement!'

    other countries have not jumped on that band wagon until recently. France has always admired and even revered older women … even their older actresses. and I've always admired the fact that German women still put on their bathing suits and enjoy swimming regardless of their size! most American women wouldn't be caught dead in a bathing suit after 'a certain age' as they call it.
    this is a great post.
    if these no~longer~young women only knew how silly they look with the plastic surgeries and falsely thick lips… but I guess they don't. sigh.
    they always look like caricatures of themselves to me.
    I love the quotes you've used.

  18. As long as males continue to be in charge, and as long as a majority of those males in charge want Stepford Barbie-doll looking wives, we will have this BS going on. Thank goodness for those relatively few REAL men out there who understand and appreciate that women comes in all shapes and sizes, and it is the size of their hearts and their intellects that truly compel attraction over the years, not Ts and As.

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