Dare I speak about women and the media?

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by Heather Gwaltney

“Probably in my mid-40s, I began to notice less attention… it’s almost like I’m not there.” – Yolanda Nadal

“Where are the older women in these ads?” – Sheila Malkind

“Women are addressing ageism in a personal way by trying to deny their own aging. They’re viewing aging as an optional thing.” – Donna Wagner

I share these quotes about women and aging because I myself had a mid-life crisis at 35. I knew at that point, I had to do a movie about honouring women as they age. This is when Ageless was born.  So, what’s the problem?

Each day women receive messages from the media and advertising that they are not young enough, sexy enough, good enough.

I use the documentary, Ageless, to critique America’s attitudes towards women and aging with a focus on the media. Women of all ages speak about the affects of these daily messages. Is our country telling us that it’s not okay to age — something that starts the moment we’re born? And why is it that women start feeling invisible in their 40s?

Pictures of anti-aging advertisements and women in the media are shown to humorously, yet accurately depict the country’s absurd obsession with youth and beauty.

It’s not just about ‘doom and gloom’, however; I start the movie with what women have appreciated about aging and end with their vision for the future, when women are respected and treated equitably – particularly as we age. That’s where the solutions lies; in our individual and collective vision, communication and action.

5 Things a woman can do for equality

  1. Love, respect and trust yourself.
  2. Be still, so you can hear your own truth.
  3. Visualise what you want for yourself, your community, your world.
  4. Communicate about what you want for yourself, your community, your world.
  5. Do something that supports what you want for any of the above-mentioned parties. This can be as small as liking projects, such as #ShoutingBack and Ageless on Facebook – to writing to the media when you disagree with something they’ve done – to getting involved in a project to support other women – to starting your own project that has heart and meaning to you.

Learn more
Heather Gwaltney is director/producer/writer of the documentary, Ageless. She has taught at George Mason University and practices marketing to pay the bills. She can be reached at agelessthemovie@gmail.com. To learn more about the documentary, visit: www.agelessthemovie.com.

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