Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Growing Older Gracefully

I am trying not to stare. I am attempting to subtly catch a glimpse of some anatomical feature of the person walking in front of me which would tip me off to the gender of the person…a waist, hips, some sensual backside curve. I, sadly, can find nothing. The person I am staring at turns out to be a middle aged woman with short hair (short for convenience, not for edgey fashion) in a boxy dark business suit—non-descript earrings and a scarf to denote sex.

Have you noticed the de-feminization of women in the United States as they get older?

I am not sure if it is a resent occurrence because I have only recently started obsessing about women slightly older than I am in an attempt to find a fashion role model. My mother, although not a beautiful woman, was always striking and she had a particular style that was all her own right up into her 70’s.

Now I see middle aged women in suits with no real shape, or in easy-fit mom-jeans. I think there is a certain giving oneself over to the ravages of time rather than embracing a new age. I, of course, blame the media and for women who take the bait--hook, line and sinker. It is not just that the media holds this bizarre ideal of teen beauty as a pinnacle for all women, but they place older women in oddly gender neutral positions…like automatons who take care of children or the house. We are the ones who care about the dirty carpet by the front door. We are the ones who obsess about dust and germs in the home. Or at work—we are the ones who are serious…we are the ones who get things done while the men talk.

Just like in adolescence—I feel with middle-age the need to redefine myself. No longer a young girl, no longer a care taker of a baby, no longer needed for childcare. I want to be more European in attitude. European women take time for themselves, they feel it is their right to feel beautiful at any age. I am guessing—but I think, at least, Parisian woman feel it is more important to shop for the perfect scarf than obsess about germs on their bidets.

I refuse to slip into the asexual role that the media has created for moms of a certain age. The Beast is grown-up and what she needs now is not a maid, not a chauffeur, not an ATM, but a role model. A positive role model of a woman who enjoys life, sex, and really a good meal with friends. I am off to find the perfect scarf.

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