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Am I Ever The Right Age? My Experience With Ageism

What age were we that we went from eye-rolling the wolf whistling builders to being terribly dismayed by their eerie silence? 

I was a youthful go-getter - promoted to Marketing Director of a big designer fashion brand at 24 - there were many, many times I wasn’t taken seriously with most of the management expecting - and almost waiting for - me to screw up. Thankfully I proved them wrong but one thing was abundantly clear - ageism isn’t just experienced by the over 40s.

woman with back to front ageism is never in style
woman with back to front ageism is never in style
Having proudly fought through this ageism barrier, I prioritised my career above most other aspects of my life, frankly, to the detriment of areas that could really have used some attention. Starting a family was always ‘tomorrow's problem’ and when that time finally came, I was a ‘geriatric’ mother. Great, now even the medics are being ageist…

We can all look over the proverbial fence and see greener grass but as I move into the second year of my 40s, I’m actually really getting used to the idea. I can’t do much about my creakier joints or changing body shape but why should I apologetically hide behind a beige hue in a vain attempt to pretend I’m not getting older?  Clothes are, and should be, age inclusive. It’s the fashion industry’s reluctance to promote older women in the trend sphere that results in us wrongly believing that we aren’t – or can’t be - part of its world. 

Having said that, we’ve all done it - even through the bleaker days of lockdown – we put on heel (albeit unseen on the Zoom screen) or a statement earring to encourage confidence for an important work meeting or even those strange online drinks ‘parties’. There’s no question that what we wear has a direct impact on our inner feeling of self-confidence, even at our weakest and most insecure moments. Doesn’t this fact alone make us relevant to the fashion industry?

Having recently lost my 20-year-old nephew, the devastation of youth-mortality hit me hard and wow – how honoured and blessed I am to have reached 42 relatively unscathed. Yes, I have the same – at times weighty - baggage as everyone else but shouldn’t we just mentally repackage these experiences into chic, beautiful handbags and parade them around confidently and proudly; they are after all, what makes us…. us.  
As for the builders, shall we optimistically put it down to them becoming more compliant with political correctness? Yes. Let’s.


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