Let Us Not Be Invisible

Women at Woodstock 2012

Women at Woodstock 2012I just started a new Pinterest Board called “Women 50 and Up – See the Invisible!”

Why?  Well, I was having lunch yesterday with the smart & sales-savvy (& beautiful) Maureen Feldman, who is doing this incredible study on the use of technology in communication, generation by generation, (see her really interesting video here), and she was giving me some valuable advice on ramping up my sponsorship deck to attract more sponsors for Women At Woodstock 2013.  She said as an aside that if I don’t have enough good photos from the event, I may want to use some stock photos of women 50 and older.

Sound the big buzzer here.

Absolutely a great suggestion, I said, but have you seen how few photos there are of women over 50? We all know that it’s rare to see women 50 and over in TV commercials, print ads, and any commercial media really, and unfortunately the stock photo libraries reflect that same “we don’t see you” bias.   When I look for stock photos on Microsoft’s free library, for example, using terms like women age 50, or women 50 and older, or older women, or middle-aged women, very few photos come up.  And of those that do, most are images of women quite a bit older; clearly in their 80’s or 90’s.  It’s like, you’re either young, or you’re old.

It seems that, for commercial purposes, interesting images from only these groups are worthwhile:

  • children
  • teens
  • young women
  • child-bearing-age women
  • and then… zip forward … just a couple age-representative images of elderly women

Apparently as we pass through the years from 50 to 80, we become invisible to the lens.

Yeah, well, these guys, “The Man,” as we called them 30 years ago, don’t know who they’re dealing with.  They really don’t.  We’ve got the dollars, and the freedom to really consider where we spend and invest them, so our preferences should be catered to. And guess what? We like ourselves, thank you very much, so we would indeed like to see images of ourselves – yes – a multitude of women from our “really” own age group, in ads and print materials.  Not much of a logical leap there.

So, I’m going to happily pin every interesting, beautiful, unusual, sad, funny, and crazy photo of women of and near my age on my new Pinterest board.  Contributions welcome!  If you find or have a great image, post it to the Women At Woodstock Facebook page!  I’ll pick up and pin from there as often as I can!  Let’s be seen, ladies!

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