Women who have reached middle age are, more often than not, invisible. Unless you happen to be Jane Fonda or Julia Roberts (she’s 42) or Hillary Clinton, you go about your business just under the radar.
My guess is that a woman of a certain age and body type gets automatically cubbyholed as a ‘matron’ and as such, inherently uninteresting. If you passed this woman on the street (assuming for the moment that you don’t recognize her)* what would go through your mind?
She could be the president of a university or a CFO of a large company, she might own a string of drugstores or be the leading casting director in Hollywood. Or she might be a housewife who has raised three kids and is happiest in the garden. Any of these things are possible, but I think most people settle on the housewife almost automatically.
When people underestimate you, you have an advantage; on the other hand, it is disheartening and often insulting to be so easily dismissed.
Which brings me to Susan Boyle, who is competing on Britain’s Got Talent. Susan is one of the invisibles, and everybody let her know she was out of place when she showed up on the stage. They smirked and rolled their eyes because an unpolished middle aged woman in a simple dress was asking to be seen and heard. Susan took it all in stride, because she knew what she could do. And then she did it.
You can watch her do it at YouTube (I would enbed it here, but that’s been disabled). Susan Boyle sings.
It happens quite often that women like Susan (and me) are treated like this, but the opportunity to shake things up doesn’t present itself very often. So good on Susan. Hats off.
*The photo is of [[Maureen Stapleton]].