Have you noticed any older women lately who are positive role models? I must admit I had a hard time finding some. And I suppose a good role model for me may not be a good role model for somebody else. A good role model is someone I want to be like when I grow up.
I can think of a few women who have aged with grace and style; and so many others who refuse to look their age at all by having multiple plastic surgeries. To each her own I suppose. But to me, aging with grace involves no plastic surgery, no botox injections, nothing to fill in those ‘parentheses’ that bracket our mouths. I have wrinkles, yes, and crow’s feet, and sagging chin and neck and eyelids. And we won’t even begin to discuss the bags under my eyes. I don’t want Botox injections; I don’t want to have a perpetual look of surprise on my face or have my face look like it’s made of plastic and will crack if I smile.
I like the feistiness of some older women; Katherine Hepburn and Betty White come to mind. They didn’t fade into the woodwork once they reached that age of no longer being ‘useful’ according to society. They are helping to reframe how we think of older women. Men past a certain age are considered distinguished; the grey at their temples indicates wisdom and insight and means they are deserving of our respect. I don’t understand why the same isn’t true for women.
I see women like Carmen Dell’Orefice, who is still working as a model at 80; 86-year old Johanna Quaas, a gymnast; and Kathy Martin, a 60-year-old long distance runner; and many, many more. I see actresses like Dame Judy Dench and Helen Mirran who just get better and better. As they become more out there in the media, perhaps society will take note and realize that we can still do the things we did when we were younger. We are not fading into the woodwork; we are not going out with a whimper. We will not go away because somebody says we should. We are here to stay, getting stronger, and better.