Women over 60 often experience an unfortunate societal norm – they are made to feel invisible.
Sure, we’ve all heard that 30 is the new 20 or even that 40 is the new 30 – but 60? Rarely is 60 called the new 40.
More commonly, when women reach their 60s (and beyond), our youth-crazed society makes them feel obsolete, unimportant, or irrelevant.
This is exactly what the Ms. Senior DC Pageant is attempting to change!
The Annual Ms. Senior DC Pageant, now in its 38th year, supports that idea that women in their 60s are not only relevant and important, but that they possess a beauty and a wisdom that can only come with being this age.
With the only requirements being that contestants are at least 60 years old and live in the District of Columbia, the Ms. Senior DC Pageant isn’t trying to prove that 60 is the new 40, in fact, quite the opposite.
The pageant and its contestants are proud of their age and participate to celebrate and revel in the fact that 60 is 60 – and it is beautiful.
“The way we perceive youth, we want to be eternally young,” explains Ms. Senior DC contestant, Phyllis Jordan, 62. “That’s what the media tells us — we need to look a certain way, fit into a size eight or whatever. We’re constantly bombarded with that. And we’ve got these expressions – ‘60 is the new 30.’ Honey, 60 is not the new 30. Sixty is still 60 – and it’s okay.”
Unlike other beauty pageants that typically feature categories such as swimwear, casual wear, and evening gown, focusing solely on the physical attributes of contestants, the Ms. Senior DC Pageant strives for a balance between the physical and what is invisible to the eye when it comes to judging contestants.
Contestants are judged on four categories – evening gown, talent, personal interview and perspective on life.
And these women have some truly inspiring life philosophies to share with the world.
Jordan thought carefully about the message that she wanted to send to the young women who would watch and listen to her on that stage, “Age is just a number. You don’t have to be defined by that number. Getting old is wonderful. I don’t feel like I should have to try to fake being 30. I’m 62 and proud of it.”
Over the years, the pageant has featured countless impressive and inspiring women – women who have battled illnesses, lost loved ones, raised families, and wholeheartedly lived – and are still living – their lives to fullest.
The women who grace the stage at the Ms. Senior DC Pageant each year are making a statement and feistily pushing back against the boundaries that society tries to put on them. They are saying, ‘we are not invisible – we are 60+ and proud of it!’
And they are showing the world that life is truly about living, a sentiment that each of us need to be reminded of, regardless of age.
This year’s winner of the Ms. Senior DC Pageant has the perfect message for people of all ages, “When you’re young, you need to be the best you can be at that age,” Jordan says. “And should God give you additional years, you need to make the best of what you have.”
Bravo, Phyllis, on both your win and your outlook on life. May you continue to inspire women of all ages to truly live out loud – sequins and all.
How would you feel about more beauty pageants for seniors? Do you agree or disagree that society sometimes makes older women feel invisible? Join the conversation below!