Septuagenarian journalist and professor Carole Simpson reports for CNN on the state of aging women’s affairs, and it’s not good: often widowed and abandoned by their adult children, many aging women have several cats, stop succumbing to fuckability mandates, and speak up when they are displeased. And, grotesquely, some older women have the audacity to experience menopause. Oh noes, not that!
From the article:
I told my senior and graduate students I was going to write a piece for CNN about older women, and asked: ‘When you think of old women, what comes to mind?’
The answers from the 20-somethings were what I expected. Here are just a few: ‘Wrinkles, whiskers on their face, too much makeup, smelly, tacky clothes, ugly shoes, walkers, lonely, repeat themselves, lots of cats, hot flashes, shrinking bodies, go to the bathroom all the time, knick-knacks, don’t have sex, always complaining.’
If that’s what young people think of older women, is there any wonder they don’t respect, or want to spend time with them?
Yes, that’s a great idea: ask a bunch of misogynistic, naive, and het-compliant young people what they hate about old women, and then do the opposite. And that’s exactly what Carole Simpson does, and she is very pleased with herself:
[While] my sister was so unhappy death was probably a blessing [to her,] our outlooks on age were vastly different. While she succumbed to it, I have been fighting it all my life.
As a broadcast journalist, I had to work hard, sound good and look great. I watched my weight and struggled to manage stress. I even had plastic surgery when the chin and eyes began to sag on camera.
Now that I am teaching, I am trying to change young people’s perception of what it is to be an older woman. I don’t leave the house without being dressed appropriately, made-up and hair groomed.
I laugh heartily at my students’ jokes and the YouTube videos they share. I seek out fun and look for all the little joys in life, like popcorn and Junior Mints at the movies.
I try not to complain about every ache and pain that strikes.
I mentor my students and now they seek me out for advice on matters professional and private.
Okay, congratulations? I guess? She has managed to live her entire life within the gynocidal, crippling confines of patriarchy, and despite all of her experience with men, dangerous male sexuality and male-centric institutions, her only advice to other girls and women is to keep up the status quo to our own obvious detriment, to do it as much and for as long as we can, and then to do it MOAR.
Indeed, her conclusion is probably the most troubling of all:
I think there are growing numbers of older women of my generation who are turning outward instead of inward and showing society that we have value, wisdom and a love of life.
Maybe we will make the difference and achieve what has eluded elder females for way too long: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Thanks for clearing that up, Ms. HOTP. Wearing makeup and having unnecessary, painful and expensive cosmetic surgery, and being extroverted and social instead of contemplative or political is what women are worth (our value), and demonstrate wisdom (of how to survive as a female-bodied person under the P). And showing and telling everyone how much we love it, and that we love our constricted, oppressive existences makes it easier for us and everyone else to swallow, and to ignore how outrageous, pathetic and disgusting this all is.
If we are lucky, we can aspire to that, and pretend it’s the same thing as getting “respect” or being respected. You know, that thing that men experience throughout their entire lives, whether they are old, young, or somewhere in between. If that’s luck, I hate to even ask what an “unlucky” woman might encounter in her old age. And I definitely wouldn’t recommend reading Dworkin on women and aging, unless you really want to know the answer to that.