Thursday, October 23, 2008

Life is over for women after 44?

I was reading this story in Jezebel.com yesterday. Suicide rates in the U.S. are going up and leading the rise are middle-aged women.

In past, most suicide prevention programs focused on the young. Now they need to start looking at these numbers. In the Jezebel article they linked to some survey out of the UK where 80% of women polled said they felt their life was over at 44. Wow.

I’m not 44 yet but I’m getting there soon. After living in L.A. for ten years, I do understand why some women would feel this way. Youth rules.

This is the first time there are so many women who are not married and/or don’t have kids. What is our role in a society that devalues women who are not in traditional roles?

Like what's your purpose in America if you aren’t married/have kids? How many movies, TV shows, books, show single childless women over 40 as being miserable, or ball-busting men hating shrews, or just crazy (i.e. Fatal Attraction)

Successful men over 40 are a catch. They have character, experience, etc. etc. What about the women?

I have met quite a few “women of a certain age” who are expats here. Many of them had similar stories. They were about to turn 35/40/45 plus, single, moved to Rome. It’s not all Under a Tuscan Sun, the majority are still single but they are much happier here. Their lives are full.

In the States at this age, and especially in L.A. women (vs. girls), are invisible. I’m not talking about men flirting with you, while it’s nice. I’m talking about being a non person just because you are no longer 25, feeling like you have to get Botox or butcher your face to look 20 years younger because in America’s youth driven culture people are offended by the very thought of aging.

Moving to Rome changed everything. I’m not invisible here. It’s an older culture, which might be frustrating to a 20 something. It takes so long for people to reach certain levels in their careers here, 45 is not old. The priorities and what defines success here are different. My landlady is 80 and a bad ass. La signora is respected and part of a community that values her. She was not shoved off to some retirement home somewhere and forgotten. Same thing where my parents live. People on the islands are not obsessed with this superficial crap.

It’s sad a woman would feel her life was over at 44. With good health she could live another 30-40 years. What is she going to do? Stay in her house with a bunch of cats?

I look at my older friends and they are fierce. I wish my financial situation was better but I’m thankful for my birthdays. I don’t take them for granted. I have too many friends battling cancer or who have lost a parent recently. Life is so bloody short.

Each year on this imperfect earth is a freaking gift and I plan to enjoy my 40s and beyond the as best I can.

So Bloggers over 44 how do you feel about this, is life over? Younger Bloggers how do the older women in your family or friends feel? Any tips? Advice?

44 comments:

Lilacspecs said...

Hrm, I'm 27 and sometimes I feel like a failure for not being married and having kids or for not having a solid career. I mean, I do have a boyfriend and I did immigrate in the middle of getting my masters so that accounts for some of it.
The women in my family over 44 have grown families and careers that they usually enjoy. I know they are depressed at times, but I don't think it's due to age usually.

Milanese Masala said...

I'm still in my 30s so it's hard for me to give advice. It would be interesting to see suicide rates in countries like Italy to compare. I know that in India older women are revered and my dear grandmother was the matriarch of her family. But there, extended families take care of the elderly and they aren't shut up in old age homes like in the West.
Perhaps women in the US should stop watching TV and reading In Style magazine. They should stop caring about "who wore it best" and instead do things that make themselves feel good.

Diana said...

Great post, ragazza.

Shortly after my 44th birthday, I ended up in the hospital with a bone-crushing depression which came close to killing me. Climbing out of that state will take up the rest of my life, I suppose, one way or another. The superficial reasons (or acute reasons) were all the change -- selling everything, shouldering the risk of this project, no jobs, no "security" (whatever that means". The deeper reasons had to do with my un-earthing myself and moving far too many times to try to find the right situation for myself. I would say that in the mid forties, alot of the substance of one's life comes to bear on the soul, and if the soul is not prepared, it can be a very difficult time.

However, having said all that, and having a bit of distance, I see that entire episode of my life as the most important of my life. I had to reckon with the girl in the mirror, and had to decide, once and for all, who I am.

These years are not about being fabulous looking or competing with others for the sideways glances of men (thank God). They are about trying to feel as good as I can. They are about me trying to get my personality to truly reflect my soul. They are about appreciating the love, the real love in my life.

And, ragazza, thank god for you and thank god for me that we don't live there (you know where) anymore. There are few places on earth where humans are treated less humanly than there--- and which do a better job of hiding that fact.

Here is to just "being".

joanne at frutto della passione said...

Quite a subject. I recently turned fabulous myself, so I understand how it might be intimidating for some women, but my life has never been this good. I have a solid family life, economic stability (with or without my husband), I like me - very much I might add, I'm healthy, a pretty good list I would say. Of course, I wouldn't wear a bikini, but that has nothing to do with my age - it's a different number that keeps me from doing that ;)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

lilacspecs - don't be so hard on yourself. It's not easy to pick up and move like you did. I was reading how in the States women from the boomer generation thought they could have it all. When they found out they couldn't or were so exhausted from trying, that is where some of the sense of failure comes from.

milanese - I would be curious too to see what the rates are in other countries. I do think the explosion in celebrity worship is not helping. All of us would look great if we stylists, free clothes, chefs, personal trainers etc.

diana - thanks for sharing such a personal story. I've also moved around quite a bit and switched careers. You're right about one's 40s. In my 20s I was too busy working, then I switched careers in my early 30s and was too busy trying to survive in Hollywood and then bam I hit that age. I know it sounds very melodramatic but coming to Rome saved my life, really. I was drowning and didn't even know it. Now of course working in a creative field with no safety nets, no 401k, no weekly paycheck I do worry about my dwindling bank account. Yet I feel great. You are so right about that place. To paraphrase the famous hollywood quote (I can't remember the exact words. I tried to forget it) "It's not enough for me to succeed. My friends must fail." That is just a messed up world view.

joanne - ha. you're in Italy you can rock that bikini. Have you been to the beach here lately? I love that women of every age and shape here will go topless or wear a bikini.

That is a very good list.

gypsygirl said...

Thank you for this post. I am 44 and fabulous, always told I am beautiful and don't look my age, single, never married no kids. I don't plan on getting married or having kids. It took me a while to come to this decision. Eight years ago I lost a baby at 18 weeks in the belly and that devastated me, but I know that God knows best. I still think about him and wonder what my boy would have been like. At this age I am getting more and more at peace with myself and coming into who I really am and the woman I want to be. I recently signed up for the Peace Corp and am awaiting clearance for a post in the Caucases in Community Development since I am a social worker at heart. I have plans to work for an International NGO once my assignment is complete.

I think it is very important for women our age to continue to have personal and professional goals, personal ones that concentrate on us and no one else.
Kudos to you and having the courage to move to Rome. I moved from the West Indies to Canada and now the US and I am not done. It's not that I am looking for something or someone, I just want to live and think that one needs to explore and be adventurous. My adventurous spirit keeps me going. I always say I want to be a gypsy when I grow up,
unfettered and living life. Like you said "life is too bloody short", and you know what? Age is just a number!

Rose in Cali said...

GRAZIE MILLE for writing this post. I am going though some tough times right now, all having to do with being in my 40s and not being married or having any kids. I applaud your courage to live your life--as well as opening up a dialogue about it. I wish I could have met you while you were still living in SoCal, but hopefully we can meet up someday in Rome! :D

J.Doe said...

I myself never felt so old as I did when in Florence, Italy. Ex. when I went to apply for a job as a cashier in Esselunga (grocery store) and was told that I was 'to old' because the maximum age is 34. I was 35 at the time.
I have never encountered a 'massima eta' (maximum age) of 28 before either, for those jobs in clothes stores. Truthfully in Italy old age starts way before 44.
And don't let me get started about the 'bella figura' requirement either. I kinow it doesn't only amount to a pretty face or not, but a job should be given on the basis of merit. PERIOD

Felicia said...

Thank you for such a great post.
I'm 39 and was just really down on myself yesterday about not having my own home (currently staying with a great friend in my favorite neighbhorhood) a car, a huge paycheck, but I have my photographs published in a major design book, people like my work but I don't have anything to "show" for it. My love took me by the hand and told me how proud of me he was and that I was successful because I'm doing it my way. It's so easy and harmful to compare yourself with other people. I've been back in the U.S. for about a month and a half and I've been running around looking at homes to buy, stressing about a regular 9 to 5 to make ends meet. Thanks to my sweetheart and this post, I'm now taking myself out of "the race" because it's not mine to run. I can travel the world for work as a photographer and writer, personal exploration and have a home filled with love here in the States all at the same time. I simply want and will be the woman that I want to be and not anyone else's.

That's success to me and that's the only definition that matters.

Thank you so much.

Anne said...

I am 52, the only problem I have had is dealing with the menopause. Also what seems a downward spiral, trying to look after your body! But to be honest, I feel so much better about myself, maybe could tone up a bit, lose a few pounds, but on the whole, feel good..

My sons have left home, have families of their own, and so now I can have "me" time..its good!!!

My ambition is to live in Italy for 6 months to a year, rent our house out, etc, travel, only got to persuade the other half now, :-)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

not sure what is going on with blogger. I post a comment and now it gone. so ignore any double postings from me.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

gypsygirl - I can't imagine going through something like that. You are very strong. I think it's great your joining the Peace Corps. I hope you will keep us posted about your experiences. I agree it is important to keep growing,exploring and learning. It helps us from falling into a rut. Good luck with your assignment.

rose in cali - sorry we missed each other but hopefully we will meet next time you are in Rome. Maybe Shelley will be back by then. Coming to grips with the no kids/no marriage thing was hard for me in my early 30s. Now I don't really see myself getting married since I won't be having kids. I would like to met a great man thought. Someone who is not crazy would be nice. :)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

J. Doe - I agree jobs should be based on merit but unfortunately that rarely happens. My industry is so not a meritocracy. sigh. That is crazy about Florence. I have never lived there and I've only visited twice. I was thinking of statistics I've read showing the age of middle management here vs the U.S. and the experience of my Italian friends. If people don't finish college until mid/late 20, then do an internship by the time they really get into their fields/careers they are in their late 30/early 40s that is what I was talking about. Re: the Bella Figura, Florence and Milan are more formal than Rome, right? That said I'm glad people here do not walk around like they just rolled out of bed. ha

Felicia - congrats on having your photographs published. That is a huge accomplishment. You do have something to show for you talent. Literally. I know what you mean about comparing yourself to others. It's hard not to do that. Good for you taking yourself out of the "race". I ran that race for years and woke up broke, bitter and burnt out. It wasn't worth it. I still work hard but now I do take time to visit with a friend, look at some art, read a book, cook etc. I have more balance in my life.

anne - I hope you are able to persuade your other half. :) Enjoy your me time.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

gypsy girl....go to my flickr page. You can send me an email that way. Let me know how long you are staying? give me details about what you are looking for and I can give you the scoop. If you are only staying for a month or so Campo dei Fiori area is great but warm weather months, you have to be careful what street you're on or/which direction your bedroom window faces. It can get very loud.

gypsygirl said...

Thanks,

I will send you an email.

Ms. Violetta said...

I'm 38. Do I feel invisible? Yes. But along with age comes some wisdom of being more comfortable with oneself. Getting approval from others is not a priority for me now. I went through a depression in my mid-30's bemoaning the fact that I was without a family of my own. Today, I'm grateful for every moment I have - I've been through illness, loss of home and belongings but I've also known great joys in family, friends, travel and seeing dreams of mine come true.
I must admit that when I went to Europe, I actually was noticed and admired as a woman. Call me vain but it was a good feeling to be desired as a female again. I do feel I'm in the best period of my life right now and I feel it will only get better. I don't wish to trade places with woman younger than me. Been there and done that!
A wonderful post and obvious one that touches a lot of us personally.

SWC said...

I am 38 and though I feel over looked, unsexy, and written off by society most of the time, I chalked that up to living in Hong Kong. But for today at least, I feel like I am 19 with a 90 year body.

Anyway, I used to live in Rome for many, many years and though I was ten years younger, I was always inspired by the women of a certain age who busted balls and looked so elegant while doing it.

glamah16 said...

I'm just happy I have almost made it to 40. My mother died at 53, so I ma going to count each year as blessing.we only get better like wine.

glamah16 said...

But I do have one regret. That I havent had children yet, but its supposed to happen when its supposed ...and if not...it wasnt nent to be.

sdg1844 said...

I just turned 40 in May and I feel like I'm just beginning to know who I am. It's an amazing ride and I agree about the Peter Pan complex of America. Can't stand it. I've def felt un-sexy and unwanted at times, but I can't blame that on age. LOL

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Wow, I was a day behind and sure missed something here! GREAT post.

I'm heading towards 50 (49 and counting) and the older I get the more I LOVE it, other than health stuff, which sucks. It really does. And it does come.

So you younger women - take care of that body of yours - exercise and do all those good things.

Other than that, I'll take every single one of my years, thank you very much. It just becomes easier and easier.

Megan in Liguria said...

Love this post! :)

Being a SoCal girl (and formerly in the Hollywood business as well!), I can really relate to the whole "what have you done with your life" attitude. Funny thing is most of those people now say, "Wow, look what you've done!" I am not 44 yet, but it's not that far away. But I see birthdays as another year of experience. I reflect on that year and ask myself, how did you do and how do you feel? Each year, the answer gets better and better!

I think you are right though, here in Italy, there is a lot more respect for women "of a certain age." And I intend to grasp that idea whole-heartedly! :)

We've gotta meet next time I'm in Rome...

Moi said...

Lately, I am more and more grateful for being 35 because I've been through more things than my 20-something roommates-I know things happening are not the end of the world. There are still times though, that I wish I were younger because it seems harder to start again at this age. But I look forward to being a feisty old lady some day!! :)

michelle of bleeding espresso said...

Excellent post and great discussion here! I can only hope to be as fabulous at 40+ as all of the women who have chimed in here :)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

ms. violetta - I went through the same thing in my early 30s and it wasn't like my career was cooking with gas either. I'm glad that phase is over. I agree we don't need outside validation but it nice to hear "ciao bello or buona giornata bella". :)

swc - I know what you mean about those women. Today I was having lunch with a Latina writer/director who has been based in LA for a while. She is originally from South America. This Roman woman of a "certain age" strutted by our table. She had such style and presence. We both looked at each other and said you don't see that all the time. I have not been to Hong Kong . It must be a very interesting place to be an expat.

glamah16 - I like that idea of being like wine. A few years ago I was really feeling bad about the no children situation. Now I have come to peace with it. It wasn't meant to be. My life would be very different.

sdg1844 - I am so over the Peter Pan BS esp. when it comes to men. It's not cute. In L.A. I felt so unsexy it's not even funny. Actually I think I need to write a separate post about how jacked up it was. ha

jen - thanks for that advice. Other than my San Carlo chips addiction and having a Coke once a week, I'm eating so much better since I moved here. I am def. aware that my body is changing and the next few years are going to fly by. I do worry about health issues so I try to walk for an hour 5-6 days a week. I need to buy some heavier free weights. Also apparently sex is good for your health too. I need to work on that. heh

megan - I wish we had a chance to talk in Florence. It wasn't until I read your blog that I found out you were from So. Cal. You worked in the "biz"? We so have to talk. :)

I feel like I'm finally at home now. I'm excited for the first time in a long time about the future.

Look forward to seeing you next time you're in Rome.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

moi - it is hard to start over at that age but at least our brains won't go to mush!! I wish I could have told my 20 something self to freaking relax. ha

michelle - you're fab. now so I imagine your fabulousity will only grow. (Thank you Kimora Lee Simmons for helping put that word in the lexicon)

Lisa said...

I am 43, single and live in a town where half the population is in school. There are very few places to folks my age to hang out in, and my choices of female friends are limited to mothers.

Solution: teach a whole bunch of younger, single men, between 28-36 how to play poker and that fills up the evenings.

But you are so right in observing that the world worships youth -- which is pretty shallow. I like feisty 80 year old women, love playing cards, bingo and conversing with them, and sharing their steady supply of chocolates.

Great post!

'A Tuscan view.....from Umbria' said...

Fascinating post and comments.

I think 'mid life' is difficult for both sexes, as it seems to be a time of assesment. We just lost a dear old friend who decided to 'check out' he was only 44 and maybe felt the sum of his life hadn't lived up to his expectations. It's very sad that people feel this pressure.

As for women over 40, I say we are in our prime, fabulous and feisty, strong and sexy. We have learned the importance of compassion and humour and I say thank god for that:)amanday

Cherrye at My Bella Vita said...

Great post and comments. I'm in my early'ish 30s, but I very much see what you described both in the US and in Italy.

I know here people refer to our B&B guests who are under 45 or so as "kids." lol

In America I was "lovingly teased" about being old and single and childless but I wouldn't trade those years, or THESE for anything.

On another note, I don't think women in their mid-40s are too old for children.

Seriously great discussion, NYC gal.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

lisa - thank you. Maybe I should learn how to play poker again.

amanda - sorry to hear about your friend. I agree both sexes face pressure in our cultures. For many men the goal to "succeed at any cost" is unrelenting. It's sad.

Cherrye - I was teased as well but only by my family. Living in L.A. most women weren't getting married until their 30s. True women can have kids later through adoption, donor eggs and a few can use their own eggs. For me, I have no desire to be in my 50s with kids in elementary school. ha I'm exhausted now and I'm single. :)

Toni said...

This was a great post! I turn 30 in a few weeks and here in Toronto, I'm the only person I know who is excited about this new stage of life. Like you said in your post, in the Caribbean, age is revered (plus we just age better, eh?) Turning 30 for me is so exciting - i'm so much smarter, i love my body more, i know myself better, and i APPRECIATE myself so much more, plus i have new adventures afoot, so it's exciting to think about where my life will go from here. The North Americans I know are so deathly afraid of turning 30, I find it a little pathetic that people would be so crippled by something that they can't stop anyway. Life is so short, every year older should be a celebration!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

toni -I hope you have a great birthday. I don't understand the hysterics either. No matter what the cosmetic companies say, you can't stop time. One thing I noticed when I was last in the Islands...the lack of plastic surgery among the locals. It was jarring to fly back to LAX and see that weird "look" so many women have with the collegen (sp) lips, eyes jobs etc.

Anonymous said...

Wow! All of these posts are great! I thought I was alone in this. I'll be 41 in a couple of weeks, but strangers often mistake me for being in my early twenties, which I eat up because I decided to shift careers in my thirties after having spent nearly a decade in school (I have a doctorate in communications). I stayed in school because I wasn't sure how to get to where I wanted to be. Then when I learned, a little bit, about how to follow my passion (Acting) I still had some roadblocks to overcome - mainly how does one make a living and receive healthcare while trying to pursue their dream in L.A.? ...I failed my first time there. Had too much fun and lived like I had already made it. ...Despite my strong education, like Ragazza said, the U.S. doesn't seem to value education or merit. I thought the world would be my oyster when I completed grad school. I started at the top (working in journalism) and quickly went to the bottom of the pile. It was very surreal. I've been married and divorced. In Deep credit card debt and currently live with my retired parents. For the last few years I have felt like a total failure because I can't get a job that pays enough for me to buy -- much less rent -- a place of my own. I'm a fucking admn and sometimes copywriter/editor at a marketing firm with a very specialized niche. Unfortunately, my boss -- a self-made woman herself -- doesn't have the energy or desire to teach me -- or anyone else -- the ropes. So, even if I wanted to stay here and learn, I don't have someone interested in mentoring me. ...I've always been a dreamer and felt that life should be recess all the time. ...My new found spirituality is what I hang on to that one day, in the very near future, I will have a house and a larger savings/401 (K) and a career that I love and look forward to working on every day. ...I know it's going to happen. I'm nearing completion of a book and I have faith and belief in God that this is my season and my life is going to change, dramatically in 2009!

Thanks to all of you courageous women for sharing your personal stories. :-)

JSU

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

JSU - thanks for sharing your story as well. I can relate to starting over again in your 30s. My financial situation is the way it is because my early jobs in Hollywood paid very little compared to what my colleagues were making. It not easy to live at home but at least you have parents that can look out for you. Use this time to pay off the debt and save some money. Regarding your passion, not sure where you live but are there theaters in your area? There is a difference between wanting to be an actor vs. being a star. For acting you can get involved locally and it will can be a great experience creatively. Being a star?? That is a whole nothing story. I hope 2009 is a great year for you.

Kataroma said...

I just turned 37 so I guess I'm not allowed to comment yet - but I don't feel depressed or overlooked by society. Maybe I will in 10 years I dunno. My mum says she feels a bit like that but she's about to turn 70. I don't think she felt like that at 44. She was divorced -I was 12 my sister was 1 (yes she had a baby at 43!) and in the prime of her career.

JDoe- yeah, Italy is a ridiculously youth based and surface/looks based society. All is based on appearance and nothing on what's inside. When I was job hunting I also saw those job ads for "girls under 28 with a bella presenza" (beautiful presence) What bollocks! And don't get me started on Italian TV and sexism/agism in the business world here. I know lots of Italians who hate their jobs but can't move as "no one would hire a woman over 40". So sad.

Maryann said...

I turned into Rosanne Rosanna Danna at age 44! LOL
"My feet hurt, I need bifocals,my cholesterol is high, I need dental work..." haha
Gilda Radner was so funny :)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

kataroma - ha. yes you are allowed to comment as a woman under 44. I wrote the darn post and I'm under that age. I don't think my mom worried about things like this either. She had my sister at 40 and being from a different culture (which she really had strong ties to) her POV on aging was not the same. I still think the U.S. is more obsessed with age and regarding the bella presenza thing...the only difference is in the U.S. they don't tell you unless you're A & F which is why there is a class action lawsuit against them. Their version of bella presenza means no Asian, blacks or latinos or really brunettes. There have been countless stats/surveys in the U.S. stating unattractive people have a tougher time getting jobs and moving up in those jobs. What is considered attractive is much more narrow in the States than here.

maryann - yes she was. That was one of my favorite skits on SNL. She is missed.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

FYI --- from today's New York Times:

One pioneering study, “Beauty and the Labor Market,”; published in the American Economic Review in 1994, estimated that unattractive men and women earn five to 10 percent less than those considered attractive or beautiful, and that less attractive women marry men with less money.

Another study, in 2005, determined that the discrimination was consistent across occupations, so that even a computer programmer buried behind a desk could suffer from the plainness penalty.

“People who are physically attractive might develop better communication skills because the tendency is that from an early age they get more attention from all their caregivers, including their own mothers onward,” said Tanya S. Rosenblat, an associate professor of economics at Iowa State University, and an author of the 2005 study, “Why Beauty Matters,” published in the American Economic Review. The study tested how volunteers, in the role of employers, rated the ability of “employees” to complete computer mazes. The volunteers predicted that the more attractive employees could complete more of the mazes.

The study authors concluded that because attractiveness has no bearing on the ability to complete computer mazes — unlike a job in which beauty may be an occupational asset like retail sales — discrimination based on looks occurs across occupations.

attainingme said...

While I lack the empathy of what it must be to be in your 40s and single . . .
At 26, err 25, this is my perception, my best girlfriends are 41 and 37. They are sexy, beautiful and amazing. They have more to offer than many of my contemporaries. The one who is 41 has just rediscovered her identity after being alone for the first time in years.

And I must say that I am privy to conversations regularly reserved for the "boys," uhh, men. And the verdict is the following:
Older women are so, so, so much sexier. Of course we have read this, but hearing it first hand actually makes me, at my age, feel inadequate, not insecure. But i know that men who seek only the youngins, are missing out. And i as a youngin, would not want a man seeking such.
At 44, you are have the power to be fully in your prime. Look and learn from your life's experiences. If you have lost your identity along the way, rediscover it, because you are far from wrinkly and out of commission. You are insightful, sexy and as soon as you fall in love with yourself, a women in her forties is a magnet like no other.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

attaingme - grazie. For a yougin, that was some very insightful advice. :)

I don't get the men who ONLY date women much younger than them. It's not like the younger woman is going to make them stop aging.

Anonymous said...

As a 33 year old woman I already feel invisible because of my age. it is jarring to see how men actually look right through you in order to get to the 20 something blonde, brunette, etc young thing.

The double standard is that a man comes into his prime in his 40's and now has his pick of younger woman and thus the message that I get in America is not only that I wasted the pretty, but I am not demed worthwhile if I don't get married in my 20's. I often hear men say if you are single women in her 30's and 40's and you still can't find a man then there is something damaged about you.

It gets me angry that a man can screw up but he is allowed to start over. He can be a divorced dead beat dad, but he can always marry younger and have a whole new family. However, if a woman wanted to have a family without a man or by other means that she is deemed selfish--etc.

Women don't help the situation either. Instead of rebelling and just accepting and being, there are all these cosmetic procedures and adjustments to keep some youth obsessed man interested, when he's going to end up leaving you for someone younger anyway. See Peter Cook, etc ad nauseuam.

I don't know. It seems that being beautiful has distinct never ending advantages and being plain and older, you have to fight that much harder. Why do I have to keep fighting for youth when most men don't have to and yet they demand that there partners be young or they will inevitably be traded off.

Frustated

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Frustrated - thank you so much for posting. I hear what you are saying. I don't look to others for validation but living in L.A. really messed with my head. I was so tired of being surround by men my age and much older who married their 20 something assistants. There was a very narrow def. of beauty and I didn't fit at all.

I understand biology but since I'm not having children I resent people trying to make me feel bad because I didn't get married at 25 and have kids. We can't control everything in life. I know that is an alien concept in America.

I don't know what the future holds. I'm much happier since moving overseas and away from that younger is better mentality. No more pressure to get Botox.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ragazza. I find it hard as a Black Woman of a certain age to be OK that I will never fit into a mainstream beauty standard and becuase of that I am brutally penalized and ignored.

I think it takes an enormous amount of self will, determination and an authentic disregard on what men think of you in order to feel normal and OK with yourself.

I live in a tropical US city that is obsessed with Youth & Beauty (as if those two are always suppossed to go together) as well and it can be a real downer. Men in their 50's,60's a la Hugh Hefner won't even look at a woman past 35 and because they are often times wealthy (and even if they are not) they usually have a bevy of women.

I don't know if overseas is the answer--especially since I am monolingual, but there has to be more in life than battling looksism and encroaching ageism.

Anyway, love your blog and Black women who are courageous enough to go beyond America and seek opportunity beyond capricious male gaze.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Frustrated

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

frustrated - you're welcome. good luck. It's hard to swim against the current but you're right, there is more to life than dealing with lookism and agism.