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Fighting the Invisible Woman Syndrome: I Refuse To Be Irrelevant

Fighting the Invisible Woman Syndrome: I Refuse To Be Irrelevant

By Susan Williams

If you haven’t had the chance to watch the series Grace and Frankie you may want to. The program does a great job of putting a humourous spotlight on many situations that older women may often experience.

For example, in one of the episodes Grace and Frankie go into a store only to find themselves being totally ignored. They try every tactic imaginable but have no luck getting any attention. Finally thinking they have the store clerk’s attention, he actually completely disregards them and attends to a much younger woman. After much aggravation and frustration, Grace just loses it. As she reflects on her frenzy after the fact she says the following line;

“I refuse to be irrelevant.”

Here’s the scene that I’m referring to. Be warned – there are a few choice words thrown around so please don’t watch if this bothers you.

Sadly aging for men and women just isn’t equal.

Also Read: Retirement Planning – Why It Is Different For Women

I remember many years ago hearing someone make the comment that went something like this; “men age like a fine wine and woman age like milk.”.

So if you are an older woman and have ever experienced a feeling of being invisible you were probably not imagining it.Believe it or not there is actually something called the invisible woman syndrome.

In an article titled Invisible Woman Syndrome: Do You Have It, Melanie Joosten, a researcher from the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) shared that her research found many women feel more and more invisible as they age. She said;

“If women start to no longer be attractive, which is what some people consider if a woman ages, then she becomes less relevant. The same doesn’t apply to men because as they get older they get more respect, if anything, and it doesn’t really matter what they look like.”

It seems that an old deep seeded societal view of the role of a woman is the main culprit of this syndrome. If a woman is not seen as being either attractive or a filling the role of a mother, there is an underlying belief that they no longer have any supposed influence and are then often ignored or deemed ‘invisible‘.

Women have worked hard over the years to fight for equal rights and opportunities. We need to now make sure that this is extended to include women of every age.

After all, no one should ever feel invisible and we are definitely not irrelevant.

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.