I’m having a marvellous midlife crisis.
It involves wrapping my hands around something long and hard. (Minds out of the gutter: this is not another confession.)
Behold my electric guitar.
As you can tell from the t-shirt, my musical tastes haven’t moved much past punk. So I was somewhat bemused when a colleague said I was “trying to impress the Gen Ys” when I wore this outfit to work at 2UE.
Memo, young man: I don’t give a flying funk what you think about me; I wear this t-shirt because I like it.
It’s one of the wonderful things about getting older.
And I’m not the only one.
According to a new study of more than 4000 Australian and New Zealand women over the age of 40, the vast majority don’t feel defined by their age: almost 9 out of 10 feel younger than their years; 3 in 10 feel “a lot” younger.
It seems to be a golden stage, for women of a certain age.
“You become comfortable in your own skin,” 58-year-old Karen Chaston, from Sydney, says. “Nothing bothers us any more.”
She gave up an unsatisfying corporate job to create BraveHeart Women Australia, writing a series of books to inspire others.
“I’m doing more things than I’ve ever done before, because I always say ‘yes’ to everything,” she says.
Women like Karen are vibrant, smart, and full of character. So why do we still see ourselves misrepresented in popular culture?
“Old, elderly, unimportant, frumpy, dowdy and unfashionable” are the words used by women in the survey, to describe media depictions of them.
In film, TV, magazines and online, we’re told we should look younger; ageing is seen as unnatural.
While three quarters of those surveyed want to see women their age represented appropriately, 8 in 10 say this isn’t happening.
Sadly, 78 per cent say they’ve felt “invisible” when engaging outside their circle of family and friends.
Almost a third feel discriminated against because of their age.
“For women in particular, ageism is the new sexism,” Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan says.
Karen says she was invisible in corporate life, excluded from male-dominated conversations about the footy.
It’s something I’ve struggled with, too, after losing my full-time TV job due to discrimination.