Posted by on Nov 22, 2013 in aging, appearance | 6 comments

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
  • menopausal
  • 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?

6 Comments

  1. 11-23-2013

    I love reading your posts. They’re always so provocative. I’d like to offer a few alternatives for all women who feel defined, or define themselves, by the labels in the post. Why not try these labels on for size?

    Happy

    Compassionate

    Accomplished

    Confident

    Wise

    Proud

    Liz – I know you are all of these. As far as anything else we’re wearing – I like to say that if all you’re wearing is a smile, then consider yourself well-dressed. :)

    • 11-23-2013

      Lovely summation, Susie. And thank you for the vote of confidence!!!

  2. 11-23-2013

    Turning 50 was a freeing moment — for the first time in my life, I didn’t feel the need to conform to anything. And I love wearing me more than any other label I’ve ever had! Thanks for summing it up so well Liz — a good philosophy for all ages to adopt.

    • 11-23-2013

      Laura – I think that there comes a time in everyone’s life where labels need to be shed, self imposed or otherwise. It’s freeing.

  3. 11-23-2013

    Labels? I wear myself :)

    • 11-23-2013

      Best answer ever!

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