Labels. Our world’s full of them. And they are no more pervasive than when applied to women, particularly as we age and start to become invisible, not only to others but also to ourselves. In fact, I am becoming acutely aware that some of these labels have slipped into my vocabulary.
That’s why I’m beginning to more fully appreciate the move that Prince made years ago when he changed his name to a symbol and became “the artist formerly known as…”Granted, one can argue that it was a publicity move of epic proportions and it sure did garner a lot of attention. But at the same time, it also shifted control. Perhaps he became himself again.
On the brink of a major change, I am once again challenging myself to step outside the comfort zone that labels provide and consider if I am not one of the following, who am I?
- a middle-aged woman
- a Cougar
- a woman ‘of a certain age’
- an old maid?
Better yet? Who are you? Have you, like me, allowed yourself to slip into these labels like a comfortable pair of socks?
Our generation of women came of age on the tails of Gloria Steinem, Shirley Chisolm, Ann Richards and Bella Abzug, women who not only reinforced the message that we should live within our skins but, that we should do so proudly. And yet, many of us have shed that pride and as I wrote a few years back, have somehow stopped wearing ourselves, as if we’ve somehow crossed into the wardrobe of no return, where invisibility is safer than rebellion.
I’m certainly not going to start burning my bras or marching in Washington for older women’s rights (see, there I go again). But I am going to make damn sure that as I cross the threshold of a new home, I start wearing myself again.
What about you? Who are you wearing?