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Are You An Invisible Woman Now You’re 40 or 50?

Apr 12, 2019

I once heard a friend of mine describe middle age as the bizarre period in life when you feel exactly like you always have on the inside, but the world stops noticing you.

You’re no longer allowed to be attractive. You no longer turn heads. You’re not bringing up young kids anymore, you don’t look the same as young people and you’re not building your career. So our society doesn’t seem to have much of a use for you.

You feel increasingly worthless, invisible and like a shadow of your former self.

But life isn’t over once we hit our 40s and 50s. Why on earth would we ever think that?

Despite what society tells us, we’re a force to be reckoned with. We’re powerful working women and entrepreneurs. We’re the soul of our families and leaders in our very own ways.

We need to stop believing that we’re suddenly over the hill or worthless once we hit middle age.

Let’s explore why we feel this way as we get older and decide what we can do about it!

Keep reading!

Why do women in their 40s and 50s feel invisible?

There are many reasons why women start feeling like they don’t matter once they pass that magic milestone of 40 and start doubting their personal power. This includes things like:

The ageing process

According to British and western society, these are the years of decay and decline; we get more grey hair and wrinkles, a thickening waistline, worsening health and we stop being our usual sexy and gorgeous selves.

But that’s not the case everywhere.

In other parts of the world older women are considered to be sexy, alluring, attractive and even wise.

So why are we fed these lies in our own society? Who do they benefit??

Your body image

Our bodies naturally change as we move through our 40s and 50s, and that can be difficult to deal with.

Look into the mirror and we no longer see our young, gorgeous selves but notice more and more of those wrinkles etching their way over our skin, grey hair creeping through and saggy bits of skin where we used to be tight and slim.

This is especially hard when we’re exposed to young and so-called perfect models everywhere we look. Just take those page 3 girls for example- they’re always young, white, blond and...well...need we say any more??

If we don’t fit into the ideals we see all around us, it makes us judge ourselves negatively. We doubt our inherent value and we end up feeling bad about ourselves and our appearances.

Weight gain

The biggest of the challenges you’ll face in your 40s and 50 is weight gain around the middle, that ‘middle-age spread’ that we hear about in the media all the time. It’s usually caused by our declining oestrogen levels or a combination of factors.

Although this weight gain can be difficult to accept, a certain amount has a protective effect on our health and helps our bodies to still produce low levels of oestrogen post-menopause.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be concerned about your weight or your health, quite the opposite.

But when it comes to the menopause, we should focus more health and longevity and less on reaching a particular dress size or weight. A few pounds either way isn’t the end of the world. Your overall wellbeing is far more important. Take care of your overall health and the rest will take care of itself.

Your identity

Many women also feel lost when they get to their 40s and 50s because they’re just not sure of what their role in life is anymore.

Their children have grown up and fled the nest (or are well on their way to doing so) and they’re left feeling sad, empty and very unsure of what their identity is anymore.

This must have been even harder for our mothers and grandmothers when ‘a woman’s job was in the home’ and they often didn’t have a career or value outside of the home.

What was her new role once she hit her 40s and 50s? To keep the house clean? To take care of her partner?

According to society, she didn’t have one. She became invisible after 50. Life was considered to be over.

Thankfully, this is no longer the case.

In this day and age, women have careers and lives outside of the home. We have great passions, incredible powers, and a wealth of experience and knowledge to draw upon.

We are still valuable human beings with a lot to offer society. This doesn’t change depending on the date on your birth certificate.

Your skin colour

As a black British female, I don’t actually feel more invisible now than I did in my 20s and 30s- I felt invisible back then too.

You see, when I was young, there were no female role models who looked like me; dark skin, thick black curly hair, a different-shaped nose and a stick-out bottom. I used to hate my body, wishing that my bottom was flat like my white female friends and that I had long straight hair.

It was quite a revelation when I visited the USA and saw a black mannequin over a decade ago! At last- a body like mine with a stick-out bottom like mine. Oh wow! I knew that that pair of jeans would fit me because she had the same body shape as me.

It wasn’t until that moment that I realised how invisible I’d felt throughout my life. I’d never understood what I was missing because I’d never had it before.

Sadly, not much has changed since then. It’s still very hard to find a positive representation of a black woman in the media. Even when Vogue magazine celebrated women aged over 50, there were no women of colour.

But my self-esteem isn’t affected in any way, because I know that I am more powerful beyond belief than I have ever been. My skin colour or age doesn’t change that.

My true power comes from within. I know my self-worth. No one or nothing can tell me otherwise.

Do you feel invisible?

You can only become invisible and start doubting your self worth if you allow it to happen.

That’s why I’m my biggest cheerleader and I encourage you too to be yours too.

Take daily action to build it up your confidence and sense of self-worth daily, not just when things are going well.

Understand that your body will change as the years go by, but that it’s perfectly fine.

Look at your body in a much more supportive way and appreciate what it can do, not just how it looks.

Appreciate the wonderful person you are and stop comparing yourself to these false ideas of beauty.

Let’s stand together, create our own truth and redefine what it means to be a strong and powerful woman in her 40s or 50s. Let’s drive each other on. Let's question the status quo and open our eyes to see the reality behind what we’ve been conditioned to believe and stop accepting this as the truth.

Because midlife isn't what it was for our mothers, aunties and grandmothers.

It’s a time where you can reinvent yourself, take up a new hobby, travel the eastern lands, climb a mountain, get a piercing or tattoo, learn to ride a bike, be bold, and strong both mentally and physically, smile but most importantly be you, unashamedly, you.

Don’t be a victim, Let's celebrate.

Do you feel invisible? How does your life feel different now you’re in your 40s or 50s? Join the conversation in the comments below.

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