Sunday, September 12, 2010

Shrinking violets, wall flowers, etc

During self-introductions yesterday at the quilt guild meeting one woman recommended joining committees because she said, "I used to be shy but I learned not to be." I have heard older [over 50] women say this every now and then. I have a theory: many of us were taught not to be assertive and many followed the patterns of wife and mother. Even the large number who took jobs mostly did the invisible ones -- clerks, child tenders, teachers or teachers' assistants. Many deferred to husbands and children. Then they joined an craft organization, or perhaps some other volunteer organization doing work they believe is important to their community and are drawn into committees where other women praise their competence and perhaps ask them to take on responsibilities. Self-confidence grows and they learn to speak up. This sounds simplistic but I've seen it happen many times in different variations.

All kinds of things are written about self-actualization but I have not seen anything about it happening to older women. The many women's service magazines gear their articles to the 25 to 45 age group because their sale statistics say those are the majority of readers. Editors seem not to imagine that they might gain older readers if they provided articles that recognize they exist and are still vital parts of their communities. The only publication that appears to address this group is the AARP magazine and it has a young-ish editor who prefers to put 50ish celebrities on the cover and print articles about the health and financial problems of older people. Even that publication propounds the stereotype that no psychological of emotional growth can happen after 50. I'm tired of it. I listened to that woman and was glad she was no longer a shrinking violet and could say so.

1 comment :

Ladydy5 aka: Diane Yates said...

I agree and I stopped my AARP magazine because of that.