The Invisible Woman Project was started after having a discussion with one of my friends about the lack of representation of women her age. Being in my 30s, I don’t see that yet and to be honest, I am usually focused on the one thing that I am not being represented for and that is my size. Standardly, we don’t think things are an issue when they don’t happen directly to us and we may not even consider them a “problem” but that doesn’t mean they aren’t.
So, I started to research current marketing trends and all the good stuff and of course, I realized that this woman was right. Essentially, women just disappear from the media when they A)hit a certain age (the unfuckable age, suggested by Amy Schumer in this awesome skit) or B)hit a certain age AND DO NOT SUBSCRIBE TO STANDARD BEAUTY IDEALS. So, while you may SEE women over the age of 40 in the media, they standardly look like they are in their 20s (or trying to!) and follow the same body type we are used to seeing: tall, thin, blonde bombshell (not that there is anything wrong with this body type, but we are talking about diverse representation!).
But here’s the interesting thing, women over 40 have so much to offer the world and while the young’ens may think that 40+ is “old” when you meet people who are this age, you realize that age is nothing and life is not over (unless it actually is.) What I am trying to say, is that the media tends to twist the way we see certain age groups in an effort to get us to buy more shit (because that is the ultimate goal, of course). When we see women over 40 portrayed in media, we standardly see them trying to look younger by using “magical face creams” and injecting fat from their butt into their lips or some shit like that. Or the opposite….we see women over 40 as geriatrics, struggling to survive and wearing life alert bracelets (personally, I think everyone should have one of those bad boys). What we rarely see, is the 40+ woman kicking ass at life, not giving shits about what people think of her, and spending her hard earned money on herself. We rarely see a 50 year old woman being sassy, dressing like a boss, and killing it in the workplace, or the 65 year old woman that is a yoga instructor and very political in her views, or the 85 year old who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro (who by the way, was referred to as the “85-year-old great-grandmother” in all the news stories…why not just say she is an 85 year old woman, the end.)
Essentially, what seems to happen, is that when women become mothers, the world seems to make them lose their woman status and this is absolute bullshit. Not that there is anything wrong with being called a mother, grandmother, great-grandma, etc. but it is not the only defining thing to a woman. What about the women that have chosen to not have children or were not able to? Will they keep their woman status? Or do they just disappear faster?
The intention of this project was to show that being 40+ is not the end of the world, nor is it “all downhill from here”….it’s to show you that age is literally a number and that it isn’t something you should be ashamed of or afraid of. I always say, if you aren’t aging, the other is worse…so accept your wrinkles, stories, and good fortune that you are able to make it past 40, but also make sure that people start seeing what women over 40 actually look like and break the damn stereotypes that the media seems to place on us!