Wednesday Bubble: Are you invisible?

Posted by on Jul 20, 2011 in aging, Inspiration | 6 comments

Early last year, I wrote a post for Women Grow Business based on an interview I had conducted with the incredible Author/Chef Mollie Katzen. Entitled “The Incredible Disappearing Woman: Lessons on Dealing with Ageism,” the post focused on ageism in our culture and the fact that as women age, they often undergo a culturally-driven disappearing act in both their personal and professional lives.

During our interview, Mollie discussed a five-step strategy to insure that women continue to matter, a strategy that is self-respectful, empowering and focuses on playing up one’s strengths without resorting to smoke and mirrors. Hence, I was a bit dismayed to run across a post on Talent Zoo the other day that addresses a similar theme but in less empowering vein. Mind you, I was not dismayed because of the topic but rather, because of the content, which for the most part, encourages women to play up their sexy and physical appearance while mostly ignoring their inner core. A few examples:

1) Expand your group of friends…by hanging out with people who with different perspectives.

That’s great advice, right? However, the author offers “because different perspectives will make you a more interesting person, and that’s sexy, which always gets noticed.” Hmmm, “sexy always gets noticed.”

2) Become friends “with a bit of lycra in your fabrics and dresses that need nothing more than a cool scarf to be a complete outfit.”

While you’re at it, since 40+ is obviously old and over the hill and subject to gravity, why not grab that Spanx and corset? Just sayin’.

3) “Innocently flirt.”

Flirting, the author says, makes others feel good about themselves and you should practice this even on people you don’t find especially attractive.

4) Be a real grownup in order to embrace “cool confidence.”

Okay, admittedly, I don’t even know what this one means.

5) “Work out with weights,” and, “lift a lot more than you think you can” since “nothing will get you fit faster and give you more body confidence than some muscle tone, and that means lifting real weights way past your comfort level.”

Wow. Just wow!

Let’s try this one again, shall we? Mollie-style:

From a social perspective:

  • Posture! The first sign of “older” is often stooped shoulders. Standing tall conveys confidence and strength. “Anyone who is not attracted to that is someone you don’t need in your life.”
  • Keep a focused gaze. “Looking sharp sharpens, Mollie explains. “Glazing over glazes you over.”
  • “A smile is the best and cheapest face lift. Especially when it is genuine; your smile, not theirs.”
  • Breathe deeply. Then speak. “When you do speak, let your voice come from your abdomen and be fueled by that deep breath.” (This isn’t easy, btw.)
  • “Don’t ask your sentences unless they are questions.” (Remember Valley Girl by Frank Zappa?)
  • “Try to find the love in all situations.” Mollie explains that in most cases, this needs to come from within. “Recognize that sometimes that love can take the form of putting up a boundary. Recognize also, that putting up that boundary can be cloaked in warmth and humor, even while you are being assertive.”  She adds that “true personal power can be a warming and loving representation.
  • Develop your own centeredness and use that for balance.

And, in business:

  • Stay centered in your “standard,” meaning you should anticipate what other’s need and provide it. The customer matters as much as you do.
  • Don’t drink the Kool-Aid. Buck societal aversion to age by avoiding dogma and overcoming prejudice. Rather than giving in, evolve your business in ways that positions you for longevity.
  • Leverage your power to empower. The more that women are able to embrace and not tear down, play up one another’s strengths and share wisdom, the likelier the total universe of women is to be empowered and enabled.
  • Look in the mirror…often. This is what you look like at 40, 50, 60 and that image is not based on preconceived notions. In other words, the buck stops at your insecurity and no one elses’.

At the age of 40, I felt better than ever — more self assured, comfortable in my own skin and comfortable in my career. I hardly felt invisible. At the age of 50, I am realizing that I don’t care as much anymore, that I’ve worked hard to earn my rite of passage. And that in some ways, I look and feel better than ever.

Trust me, you don’t need the tricks to stay in the any game. Use your knowledge, self-worth and inner beauty to solidify, maintain and stay visible.


  1. 7-20-2011

    You nailed it Liz. Or should I say you nailed Mollie’s ageism and beauty myths.

    I spent too much time when I was younger (a lot younger) thinking that being sexy or having a man being sexually attracted to me meant “success” at some level. Now I see that as ridiculous and demeaning to myself because I made it more important than other aspects of a relationship.
    That a man wanted to have sex with me did not necessarily have anything to do with me. Sometimes it simply meant he was attracted to someone willing to let him insert his penis into a live body.

    I could agree with a few of her points but I’m not breathing deeply enough to find the right voice to say it in. Cherry

    • 7-20-2011

      Cherry – thank you. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head (no pun intended): sex does not equate to success but inner beauty and confidence does. It concerns me when young women start getting the message that they need to use the wrong tools to be successful or relevant, especially as they age. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  2. 7-20-2011

    I would like to add “be yourself — it got you this far”. If I’m invisible to someone, I probably don’t need them anyway! Thanks for the great post Liz!

    • 7-20-2011

      What an awesome reply Laura – “Be yourself; it got you this far.” Indeed! Thx for reading and commenting!

  3. 7-20-2011

    I love this, Liz!!!

    I think you know by now that not only do I forgo drinking the Koolaid but I don’t even buy it anymore. To your awesome list – having turned a very healthy 57 this summer I will

    1) Don’t ever say never. Ageism exists; the overall problem can not be solved but being content w/in ourselves can.

    2) Always have younger friends. You’ll never have to worry about learning new things. You’ll learn through osmosis.

    Thanks for this,

    • 7-20-2011

      love that – you’ll learn thru osmosis. Ain’t never too old to learn, right?!


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