let’s hear it for the girl

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]].

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9 Replies to “let’s hear it for the girl”

  1. I have watched and shown this clip so many times. I love it. I love how everybody in the audience got on their feet, and that the judges were quick to admit their mistake.

  2. I too have seen this quite a few times now, and interestingly, as soon as I started to read your post above, I was reminded of her, so it was nice to read on and find out that it was Susan you were talking about. I loved the way respect and awe began to replace the scorn on many people’s faces as she began to sing.
    Every now and then in life we are reminded not to judge a boook by it’s cover, and yet, still we do.

  3. Awesome voice.

    Golda Meir qualified as one of your description. I read an article about her where some bigwig (male) went to her apartment for a meeting. She fixed lunch for them to eat before they got down to business.

  4. I’ve watched the YouTube clip multiple times myself and every time she first opens her mouth to sing and that angel’s voice comes out, tears well up in my eyes. Her voice is truly that beautiful.

    Upon being asked on Larry King Live the other night about whether she’d undergo a makeover or a wardrobe change now that she was famous, Susan Boyle’s response was “Why should I? Why should I change?”. I hope that no matter the fame and the accompanying pressures that go with it that Susan is able to retain her sense of who she really is.

  5. I thought she has a fantastic voice, it was so rich. I hope whatever happens to her she doesn’t get used up by the celebrity machine and spat out again.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this link. I actually wept – it was so moving. And, quite a lesson for all of us. Beauty is everywhere if you only look for it.

  7. I used to dance in a semi-professional performing group, then stopped when I got busy with family and work. Two years ago, some alumni of the group I danced with got together for an anniversary concert (at that point, I hadn’t danced in at least 10 years, so imagine the physique I’d created). Since then, we’ve rehearsed regularly and are putting on our first concert in two weeks. It’s been fascinating to see which dancers have stayed on to become this new group, and which ones found it too much, physically, or their reactions at the suggestion they actually perform the dances we enjoy during rehearsals. Often there is a strong fear of being laughed at, and being judged by our older appearances. Many of them quit dancing when the first children arrived, and costumes no longer fit properly from the simple process of aging.
    I feel like there will be an element of Susan Boyle in our performance, for sure. I shared this video with my dance mates. I am the youngest member of the group, so far, and one of my dance partners? He was in his late teens the year I was born (1970). He’d been dancing with the original group for several years by that time. Judged by appearances? Seems like all the time. Carrying on anyway? Absolutely.

  8. i absolutely love this video. i love how everyone (including me) was put in their place and blown away by her voice but i also love her personality and character, she dares to say and do things that many of us would never (ie. the hip shaking on the stage) she seems to be amazingly confident and has a great stage presence but then after the preformance she shows how truly shaken she was by the experience. I think and hope that she is now on the path to the future she had hoped for.
    She is a beautiful person from the inside out. i truly hope she doesn’t lose that with fame.

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