Where are the realistic middle aged role models for women?

I am 44 tomorrow. To mark it I decided to  write a post about middle aged role models. I started to write but drew a blank. I could not think of a single middle age women who inspired me or who I admired. Where are they? Who are they? Where are the realistic middle aged role models for women?

Middle aged woman. Where are all the realistic middle aged role models for women?Photo by Greg Raines

I thought of Helen Mirren. She is a strong, independent women. Not afraid to speak her mind and still enjoying a successful career. She is stylish and attractive. However she is also 72. She is perhaps the next step for us middle aged ladies. Someone to aspire to be as we age but not someone we can relate to at this precise moment in our lives.

At the other end of the spectrum you are spoilt for choice. The Kardashians of this world command a huge following. The cast of reality tv shows endorse products and lead trends. Beautiful, wealthy young women share their life on Instagram. However none of these women ‘speak’ to me. I want to mother them and tell them to put on a coat before they catch a chill.

Searching for an image to accompany this post was very telling. There were plenty of pictures of ladies who were obviously still in their 20s. There were lots of pictures of women with heavily lined faces, obviously well past the first flush of youth. There was nothing in between. It appears to be socially acceptable to be a bright young thing or a fantastic older lady but during your middle age you vanish from society. Where are these women?

Why realistic middle aged role models for women?

I ask for realistic role models because it would be false to say that there are no middle age women in Hollywood and in the media. There are plenty but they are either in denial about their age or are not taken seriously.

The first category have had extensive surgery to retain their youthful looks. They look amazing but they don’t look like any genuine 40 something I have ever seen. I can totally understand why they do this in a bid to level the playing field with younger actresses and to continue to get interesting roles. However this alienates them from their peers. I cannot relate to someone whose face is frozen in time in a bid to look 20 years younger.

The second group of ladies are usually more realistic looking and good for them. However they end up being cast as the slightly overweight, funny best friend or being the butt of all the jokes. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see an middle aged woman with all her lines, lumps and bumps cast as a romantic lead?

 

What do I want to see?

I want to see women like me.

I want to see women who juggle family life and commitments.

Women with older children who suddenly find themselves with time to invest in their own well being.

Women with fantastic non-media based careers to inspire my girls.

Academic women pushing the boundaries.

I want to see people who are honest about the difficulties of having it all.

Women in clothes I would actually want to wear.

Honesty about the health issues that sadly affect us as we age.

Active women endorsing a  lifestyle we can actually achieve

Mostly I want to see ladies who accept their age and embrace it.

 

I consider myself to still be in my prime but the media seems to have other ideas. Is it too much to ask that we should be allowed to be honest about our age. Have you noticed elderly people on tv who get a round of applause for saying their age? What is this limbo land between 40 and your 60s where we are expected to meekly blend into the background until you can finally admit your age and be celebrated for it?

Being over 40 is not a dirty little secret we have to hide away from. Let’s celebrate it.

Let’s share our stories and become each others role models.

 

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30 Comments

  1. 20th February 2018 / 1:51 AM

    I love this post. I am almost 40 and I’m not trying to hide it. I agree – I can’t think of many “middle aged” amazing ladies out there to look up to. I’m sure there are some, but why do I need to think about it so hard?? Let’s be real women, aging slowly and gracefully through our 40s and 50s and continue to share our stories. We can be our own role models – real ladies living the life, raising our older kids, dealing with health issues; marriage issues; any issues!
    ~Jess
    #MMBC

  2. 19th February 2018 / 5:55 PM

    Hi, I loved reading this post hey age is just a number and we should all live life to the full and try to embrace the ageing process. You bought up so many valid points and the sad thing is I really struggled to think of any real role models #MMBC

  3. 12th February 2018 / 12:36 PM

    I really enjoyed this post – it’s very thought-provoking and raises some important issues. I’m 52 and it is challenging to find ‘real’ people to look up to. There are many from the past I think, but not so many in our current world.

    • Louisa
      12th February 2018 / 3:56 PM

      Thank you April. It can be so hard to find someone who lives a life you can relate to. It’s hard to be inspired by someone who has a chef, a nanny and personal assistants, or by people who are either 20 years younger or older. There is a huge chasm for middle age women.

  4. 26th January 2018 / 12:58 PM

    You are absolutely spot on. I am also 44 and women seem to disappear at that age. We are not celebrated unless we are dating a younger man and then we are giving the name cougar. Great post 🌟 #POCOLO

    • Louisa
      3rd February 2018 / 12:57 PM

      We shouldn’t feel like we should hide away. We are in the prime of our lives!

  5. 24th January 2018 / 2:05 PM

    Hope you had an amazing birthday. I think I agree with Debbie, Davina is a great role model, she works hard and always looks fabulous. She is a bit older but I love Dawn French too, she is happy in her skin

    • Louisa
      3rd February 2018 / 12:58 PM

      I do love Dawn French, she is so talented. I had a great birthday thanks!

  6. 19th January 2018 / 6:28 PM

    Hi Louisa, Happy Birthday! I hope you had a good one…. Oh my! Your post got me thinking and you are right, there isn’t a ‘normal’ middle aged role model I can think of. Davina McCall maybe, but she doesn’t look like most middle-aged women. Maybe it’s more realistic for us to use the women we see every day as role models?… I was looking for a facial moisturiser the other day when my eyes settled on one aimed at women over the age of 45. It was only as I walked away that I realised I’d actually laughed and thought not for a few years, it hadn’t even occurred to me that I’m over 45! … Looks like it’s up to us to be the role models!

    Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC.

    xx

    • Louisa
      21st January 2018 / 3:51 PM

      I think that Davina is so fit that she doesn’t even look like most 20 year olds! I could only hope to have a stomach that flat. I know what you mean about thinking something isn’t aimed at you them realising it is! x

  7. 16th January 2018 / 6:54 PM

    Yep there is definitely not many middle-age role models for women, sad really X #mmbc

    • Louisa
      17th January 2018 / 4:50 PM

      Yes, it is sad, they have so much to offer x

  8. 16th January 2018 / 3:26 PM

    I’m older than you, but I understand what you mean. It seems that by hitting middle age women suddenly want to look and feel younger for longer, they are in their prime yet still trying to compete with a younger generation instead of being happy with who they are. There isn’t really any way of stopping getting older, but it seems like 40-50 is the age that women, and men, refuse to accept it. Then you get old and you wonder what all the fuss was about.
    #mmbc

    • 16th January 2018 / 3:27 PM

      p.s. I forgot to say Happy Birthday 🙂

      • Louisa
        17th January 2018 / 4:51 PM

        Thanks Anne!

    • Louisa
      17th January 2018 / 4:53 PM

      Absolutely , you shouldn’t have to look like you are 10 years younger to be able to be taken seriously.

  9. 16th January 2018 / 2:20 PM

    I don’t know. I think there are lots of 40s and 50s role models out there. Not only career TV and film stars. The female scientists, authors, news readers, business women. Off the top of my head (quick google to check ages) – In their forties – Dr Alice Roberts, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Miranda Krestovnikoff. In their fifties – Fiona Bruce, JK Rowling – I could go on. They are in the media and are all mothers. I would be quite be happy if my daughters were as strong and successful as any of these women. Don’t give up hope.

    Happy Birthday for today. I hope you have good day!

    • Louisa
      17th January 2018 / 5:07 PM

      Thanks Cheryl. I shall expand my search. JK Rowling has achieved so much and is definitely someone to inspire us

  10. 16th January 2018 / 1:18 PM

    I too am in my 40s and for role models I tend to think of the women who present Loose Women ( a range of ages from 30 to 70), then the women like Christine Bleakley, Davina McCall, Karren Brady, Victoria Beckham (she’s one of my faves!) and local MPs in my area – who are female and in their 40s! For a Hollywood star I’d go with Kate Winslet. There are women out there doing great things but I agree – it’s not always easy to think of them! But I find it hugely reassuring that glamorous women like Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston and Cameron Diaz are all older than me!!

    • Louisa
      17th January 2018 / 5:05 PM

      Oh yes, Kate Winslet is fantastic, she is talented and looks fantastic and natural

  11. 16th January 2018 / 1:11 PM

    I am still struggling to think of a middle aged woman who is an amazing role model! When I first started reading your post, my immediate thought was Helen Mirren, I am astounded by the fact she is 72!
    Happy Birthday – hope you are having a lovely day 🙂 Sim xx #PoCoLo

    • Louisa
      17th January 2018 / 4:55 PM

      Thank you! She is an amazing woman and a great example of breaking down perceptions of how an older woman should look and behave

  12. 15th January 2018 / 8:53 PM

    Love this post. You will be the same age as me on your birthday and I would like to see the same. I do not tend to follow famous roles models anymore, I tend to follow blogs and people around my age. They are my inspiration as they are real and genuine 🙂 Happy birthday for tomorrow. #MMBC

    • Louisa
      17th January 2018 / 5:03 PM

      Thank you Claire. I shall look around other blogs and see who I can find

  13. 15th January 2018 / 8:14 PM

    I am a good bit older than you but I certainly understand the problem. It hasn’t changed in decades. Great post and much needed. You are a role model for others and should be proud.

    • Louisa
      17th January 2018 / 5:03 PM

      Thank you Carol. I guess things won’t change until it’s acknowledged how much we have to offer

  14. 15th January 2018 / 6:26 PM

    I love this! I have just turned 47 and I agree that it is so difficult to find role models in their 40s. If you google it, it is funny that it is either actresses or women in their 60s or 70s. A couple that I would say are Anna Wintour and Vera Wang

    • Louisa
      17th January 2018 / 5:01 PM

      They are certainly 2 strong women who have achieved lots

  15. 15th January 2018 / 6:02 PM

    So true. I guess women in Hollywood feel the pressure to look young so either have to look younger or fall by the wayside which is so sad! I will have to get my thinking hat on now – there must be some role models for us 40 somethings. xx

    • Louisa
      17th January 2018 / 4:57 PM

      I think the pressure to look a certain way is really hard to avoid if you are in the media but it does give a false impression to those of us who live ordinary lives and makes it harder for us to relate to them

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