It always makes me angry that society expects older women to be invisible. It’s almost as if, once we reach our 60th birthday, we are expected to retire from life, throw out any clothes that aren’t navy blue or black and start playing bingo. What nonsense!
Well, if there is a “rule” that women our age should be “seen and not heard,” Diane Keaton certainly didn’t get the memo.
In a recent interview with the Sunday Express, she discussed the challenges of dating after 60, why she has avoided plastic surgery, her struggles with bulimia as a younger woman and her relationship with her mother Dorothy.
When asked about her tendency to say what she is thinking, she said, “I speak my mind… I haven’t always done so but that confidence comes with age and experience. It does not matter whether you are famous or not. Similar problems and situations bind us together.”
One of the most tragic things about society’s decision to ignore older women is that young people are missing out on our wisdom and experience.
Many of the issues that Diane talked about in her interview in the Sunday Express are so important for younger women. For example, while discussing her low self-esteem as a younger woman, she said, “I wish I had understood bulimia… I lived a big lie, eating a large amount of food in public, throwing up in private and still fitting in to small dresses.”
Each of us has a responsibility to help our daughters and granddaughters to learn from our mistakes. Those of us who are also public figures have an additional responsibility to share our wisdom and experience with the wider world.
I know from personal experience that it isn’t easy to share your mistakes and near-misses with the world. Fortunately, as older women, we don’t need to impress anyone any more.
We can speak with honesty and conviction on the issues that matter to us. We can help our daughters and granddaughters, coworkers and younger friends to get more from their lives. We can set a good example for all women by refusing to accept invisibility.
Are you rejecting invisibility? Do you agree that women over 60 have a responsibility to share their wisdom with the younger generations? Please join the conversation.