This post is made possible with support from AARP’s Disrupt Aging. All opinions are my own.
I’ve always been a fan of Aaliyah (RIP) and I agree that age ain’t nothing but a number! I am a huge supporter of AARP’s #DisruptAging campaign, we really need to change our way of thinking people!!
There are so many negative stereotypes about aging for women in our society and this topic is relevant and so timely for women of absolutely any generation.
Photographer: Brady Hahn
I was so lucky to be able to be on a private conference call with Cindy Gallop, founder of MakeLoveNotPorn. She is a legendary entrepreneur who champions women’s rights. Also make sure to check out her amazing Ted Talk titled Make Love Not Porn.
Gallop makes sure to tell everyone how old she is as much as possible. In fact, she shouts it from the rooftops. She is a very proud 57 and she’ll be the first to let you know it, which is super refreshing. Older women are the most invisible segment of our society she says and its important to change this fact.
Gallop doesn’t believe in following societies limited expectations about how a women should be living her life. She has never wanted to be married, never wanted children and dates younger men. (I too have never needed to be married or wanted children - although I do prefer older men!) She believes that as women we can live life very differently than everyone else and still feel very happy and fulfilled. Its unfortunate that men don’t have these same limitations and expectations. It’s up to us to change this!!
The reason why it's especially imperative for young women to be educated about the #DisruptAging campaign is because our ideas and perceptions of age are ingrained into us at a very young age. The most easily underestimated group in our society is teenaged girls. Their opinions, ideas and thoughts are simply not as valued as that of other groups. Teenage women and women of all ages need to be educated on the ample value that they bring to society.
I myself am a reformed ageist and by the way I am a proud 38 years of age (almost 39!). When I was in my early twenties, I had success in my industry at a fairly young age and I would frequently judge older women who were entering the industry later than me. I thought of them as less than me since I was younger. Now that I have gained some maturity I am horrified at my previous younger self’s way of thinking. I was only speaking out of a deep seated insecurity and low self esteem and I was also a product of this male-dominated, ageist society. It’s so important that we start to educate our young women as early as possible so they don’t act as I did.
We have to break down the stereotypes of a male dominated society. For example the pervasive idea that ‘Sex Sells” is an idea seen entirely through a male lens. One reason that this idea persists is that in advertising, 97% of men hold the creative director positions. Also our media and Film and Television are heavily male dominated. We need more women to fight to hold more of these positions!
Why are older women dismissed while older men are treated like elder statesmen? Its simply ludicrous that at age 50 many women think their lives are over and are on the decline. We are only halfway through our life at age 50 and we are never too old to do anything. There’s still so much for us to accomplish and this idea is a sad lense that we need to change NOW!
Gallop teaches that what a woman can do to be seen than more than her age is to absolutely dismiss the idea of age defining you in any way. Completely own your age and illuminate the point that your age is what has earned you all the valuable assets that you currently bring to the table. As women, we have to actively put our own value out there because our society does not reward and understand the value of women as much as it does so for men.
So get started! Practice saying your age and make it an integral part of how you self promote!
Just remember that the older you get the better life gets!