Well, I'll go to the foot of my stairs...

Often startled, frequently amused, sometimes scared; rarely speechless. Can be found at witchywoo22@yahoo.co.uk

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Ok. Women and age...

...or 'aged' women. However you choose to look at it.

Two things have struck me today. One is the idea that fashion designers have decreed (yeah, ok, some while ago now - it's only just become apparent to me, alright?) that because women (generic) are happy and comfortable wearing jeans and a t-shirt - the most favoured clothing style of the most recent "yeah, so what? fuck you" brigade - then the uniform of "fuckability" has to be one that illustrates, nay, demonstrates youth. Middle aged women wearing the stuff of patriarchally defined fuckability needs to be changed, whether they're saying "fuck you" or not.

Youth, for women under the gaze of the patriarchy, largely means "barely legal (for sex)", "immature" - like, 'not impregnated yet ' - yes? So the comfy uniform for all women has to be made somehow different for the 'young' women and so the designers make the apparent youth - or first time impregnablity - of women implicit by exposing the midriff - the stretch mark area. And hasn't it reached ridiculous proportions!? Jeans and a t-shirt, comfy? Yes. Jeans about to fall down any minute because they're so low slung they have little or nothing to cling on to coupled with a t-shirt that barely takes notice of the weather comfy? No way.

I'd thought the pierced belly button thing was mark enough that a female had yet to be impregnated with the seed of the most studly in her cohort but, no. Apparently, we are all so blind that we cannot see a female's impregnability and we so totally, absolutely need the confirmation that the fashionista's so kindly provide... And I'm not talking evo-psych here so don't even go there - ok?

Why is it different for boys?

Which kind of brings me on to my next point about women and age....

Are men daft?

I ask in good faith - I'm not meaning to be snarky (though I acknowledge that, for some, I'm pressing buttons they might wish didn't appear so obviously) but it seems to me that men (generic), while they're taught by the patriarchy to espouse everything "young" about women/girls physicality, have no concept of the wisdom or humanity of the *older* (i.e. post pubescent) woman.

It's been brought to my attention that, as women grow and mature, we know more and become more knowledable - about ourselves and the ways of the world. Knowledge = real power - yes?. Women who have that kind of power absolutely cannot be acknowledged, acclaimed, adored or glorified. Women who have real power are "bad", therefore women's age is bad because women who have the knowledge that age bestows upon them are 'bad' by definition.

We're all told it's about 'reproduction'. The evo-psychs and pop-psychs frame our (women's) scariness in terms of our capacity to gestate. But it isn't about that, is it? Not all women choose to reproduce. Not all women can reproduce.

These are half framed thoughts that, I think, have a path to tread.

Walk with me?

26 Comments:

  • At 12:09 PM, Blogger Sage said…

    I think some men brilliantly choose a younger woman who has not yet found her voice and will just be his chorus. But they're sometimes surprised later on when they're left behind as she discovers more in life.

    But other men can only hope to choose youth because they don't have the charm, looks nor money (yes, I said money - some women do fall for all of these traps) to entice some booty.

    But still others just want someone to talk with, connect with.

    I think we're all fumbling around just trying to make it all work out for ourselves.

    I'm wary of stereotypes of people who choose to be with someone younger because that's what I did!

     
  • At 9:48 PM, Blogger spotted elephant said…

    I love this piece. It absolutely is about power, not reproduction. A powerful woman is a scary thought, indeed. Woo-hoo!

     
  • At 12:07 AM, Blogger Sarah said…

    I was the younger woman. I grew up.

    I found my voice and the words it spoke were "Get lost"

     
  • At 2:41 AM, Blogger alyx said…

    I'm wary of stereotypes of people who choose to be with someone younger because that's what I did!

    Ah, but will you see your relationship dynamic (older woman/younger man) represented in Hollywood much, Sage? :-)

    Funny that the time when women hit their sexual peaks and learn to say sayonara to that body baggage crap that so often accompanies their 20's seems to coincide with the exact moment when society declares 'em undesirable.

    Grr.

     
  • At 5:25 PM, Blogger sparkleMatrix said…

    During the ‘Burning Times’ in Europe and UK, it was mostly older, wiser and more mature women who were targeted and accused of Witchcraft. They were often the wise women, the healers of the community and when accusations started to fly, they were targeted. Women’s wisdom scared the shit out of them, as it still does now

     
  • At 6:45 PM, Blogger Sarah said…

    Walk with me?

    Anytime my friend.

     
  • At 10:20 AM, Blogger Melvin Lee said…

    Well I guess woman youth represents sex to men. After all we have a mind of a male animal. Our instinct is to look for fresh meat to a dooo!
    Well another common thing that I've found so far on some of my friends are when their wives are pregnant a number of them will be looking out for fresh meat.
    And women with stretch marks dont appeal to them sexually.
    One thing about woman and age thing I kinda feel its unfair you know. When I used to move around a lot especially in the malls, I used to see older men really looked like they are in their 50's and they are fat and they have the freshest, barely legal, ahem not impregnable meat you will ever see. I am scratching my head why I am not having those. These men have families I knew by instinct.
    Men they are never satisfied with their existing women. Once they age the look for fresh ones. That saddens me. This is like breaking up families man. I guess we men are just animals.

     
  • At 1:32 PM, Anonymous Amananta said…

    The bit about the belly buttton piercing made me giggle but I also find truth in it.
    Have you seen shapeofamother.com? It shows women's post pregnancy bellies. It was the first time I'd ever seena belly like mine. Because, you know, after suffering through 10 months of pregnancy, toxemia, a dangerous, high risk birth and a high risk recovery time postpartum, I should be ashamed of my stretchmarks and non-tight belly skin, and so should all other women, and no one wants to see that, ugh, put it away! I wear cltohes that completely conceal even the outline of my baby belly, shirts that hang to my hips and are loose, pants that gather at the waists and flare out, smock style dresses. My body is unacceptable, because it's been "used". If I were to get a belly button piercing (one of the more dangerous piercings one can get, btw, because it heals slowly and is hard to keep clean) and try to show it to people, they would probably throw up a little in their mouth at the gruesome sight of a postpartum non-anorexic stomach.

     
  • At 10:44 PM, Blogger Z said…

    I actually think women change more during their lives than men. It probably has something to do with 'the struggle'.

     
  • At 12:14 AM, Blogger witchy-woo said…

    I apologise if anyone finds parts of Melvin's comment offensive - I certainly do - but he sent it and I've posted it because of what it so clearly illustrates.

    Women are 'meat'.

    Not real live human people with thoughts and dreams and aspirations, lives to live, friends to love, jobs to do etc. etc.

    Meat.

    There's no Wednesday Wow this week. I haven't got the heart.

     
  • At 1:56 AM, Blogger Sarah said…

    Haven't got the heart?
    Massive, huge, squeezy ((hugs))
    S

     
  • At 4:40 AM, Blogger Sage said…

    Alyx said, Ah, but will you see your relationship dynamic (older woman/younger man) represented in Hollywood much, Sage? :-)

    There's "Stella Got Her Groove," "White Castle" (with James Spader and Susan Sarandon), "Laurel Canyon," and, of course, "Harold and Maude."

     
  • At 12:06 PM, Blogger Biting Beaver said…

    Witchy,

    I noticed that as well and was going to comment on it. The analogy seems to be that women are 'meat', they expire and need to be replaced with 'fresh' meat.

    And of course, men are 'animals'. In the minds of people like Melvin they are probably large carnivores like Lions or Tigers. Men are 'animals' and women are simply 'meat'. To be consumed over and over again.

    But wait, the poor dears can't help it because "I guess we're just animals". And with that statement everything is supposed to just go away. Afterall, animals will do what animals will do right? You can't teach a lion to eat vegetables and you can't teach a man to stop treating women like meat.

    Agreed, it's a sad reflection of a man who would most likely never consider himself sexist in any way. Indeed, the thought that perhaps someone else would think of him that way is probably insulting to him.

    And yet the apathy he displays towards women, refusing to even call them 'women' but rather referring to them as 'meat' (because meat has no personhood at all) is proof positive that our friend is indeed sexist.

    I am not meat.

    I deserve better than 'meat'.

    I am a woman. Not a piece of muscle tissue intended for ingestion.

     
  • At 12:25 PM, Blogger sparkleMatrix said…

    There's no Wednesday Wow this week. I haven't got the heart.

    I understand

    Big Sparkle* hug x

     
  • At 2:23 PM, Blogger simply wondered said…

    'women are meat ' haven't got the heart' - witchers, the blog is turning into a butcher's shop. and sarah and I are skiing off post and humming annoying themes to children's tv series at each other. it's enough to make you nearly spill your wine.
    wonder where melvin was trying to get when his spaceship landed here ... perhaps not from the planet preposition (sorry that's a quibble on about the only thing I really shouldn't have a go at him for as it seems from his writing that english isn't his mother tongue)(lawks, another meat reference...) whereas bollocks might be.
    enough blather - yes women get a lot of shit for daring to get older and not enough respect for (sometimes) getting wiser; think that's true of society as a whole and we fetishise youth over age purely because it appeals more to our visual prejudices. personally I'd rather watch an older actor than a younger one, but that's perhaps not quite the point. And I think what society objected to in 'witches' was their outsider status, their ownership of knowledge and wisdom outside the male structures of power and academia rather than age.
    And yes we fail to give due respect to the older (female) body whether it has borne children or not. Nice that a blog splits off any physical attributes and fets down to what you can think and how you put it into words. not quite the same as being valued purely for who you are, but a nice change.
    you'll feel better soon and we''l be back reading
    lol

     
  • At 11:22 PM, Blogger FallingStar said…

    I will walk with you :-)

    Yes, Melvin's comment was awful. I agree that it illustrates the kind of thought processes that certain men have about women. It's ugly and immature and coming from men who are too lazy to care about the women in their lives. Because they are too obsessed with what society dictates to them, the ideals that society says they must strive towards.

    I'm only 21 (22 this year) but I often feel like an old soul. But I recognise that with age, comes knowledge and experience, which is invaluable. The older I've gotten, the more I know about the world and myself. Some young people don't feel this way but it should be like that. I feel that young people are too concerned with their looks and what other people think because they are told that youth is everything. It isn't.

    I often envy women who have experience, especially feminist women. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have been around in the 60s and 70s and have experienced the rise of feminism? :-)

    But I know I am still concerned about the way I look. It comes from being told, by the media and magazines and films and TV programmes that I must strive towards an *Ideal*. Yet I know that, as a feminist and a unblinded person, that I should not feel guilty for liking my body with all its human imperfections, even though I don't 'fit' into the image of what is 'acceptable'. I regret that I felt pressure when I was younger. But I'm hoping, as I am in my young 20s, that I can make up for all that now.

    I'm glad that there are women in this world that feel the way I do about all the crap forced on us. I think it's important to be angry together and do something positive about things :-)

    Liz xxx

     
  • At 2:17 AM, Blogger Shell said…

    I hadn't thought about Sexual Politics of Meat in years. May have to dig that out again...

     
  • At 8:39 AM, Anonymous Army said…

    Melvin I think your comment is worded very badly - as you have commented here you are obviously reading feminist material and are open to changing your beliefs - I really hope so. I praised you over on the alt lad's mag blog but you appear to have taken quite a few steps backward. So, feminism is ok as long as you are young and attractive? If that's what you believe, then read and learn.

    I don't agree that all men are looking for "fresh meat" (barely legal) but for the many who do, who reduce us to being only valued within certain male-defined criteria, well that's why we are doing what we are doing today - fighting this ethos. You should open you mind - I don't know why that's so hard for men to do - I guess they think the power and control they have would be lost.

    We are trying to change the culture to one where all women are valued - it's a free country and people can think what they like, but put that in a context of a culture where women are valued for themselves in a holistic way, then your type of thinking becomes faded and starts to change.

    Fresh meat indeed - god almighty.

     
  • At 9:26 AM, Anonymous Cat Amongst the Sad Ageing Lotharios said…

    Just some feedback here on melvin lee -you had the good sense to say at the end of your comment that men's way of thinking was sad but really, what planet are you on?

    Just by way of comparison, I "went off" my partner way before he went off me, we split up, and I have had no shortage of male attention/company. But I did not ask for this attention, and most of the time I didn't want to get involved with them. I am learning to value myself as a human being with a full spectrum of qualities, not just being f******e. It's liberating.

    You see, for most women, older or not, the world does not revolve around their clitorises or getting "fresh meat", as men's does around their penises and it's constant need for stimuli- you are right that this is really sad. I don't know where you are seeing all these older men with "barely legals", but that's exactly what I would think - most people would think "how sad", some men might be jealous, but to me and I'm sure many others, he would just look sad.

    The beauty of getting older too is that you get to the point where you are liberated from all that "keeping up your fuckability" crap that women seem to get sucked into, and these days it must be horrendous for younger women. But as they say, sometimes you can't see the cage til you're free - they will see the bigger picture when they are older - many are seeing it now when very young which is heartening.

    As women and men age, the perspectives are different - women see all these images of perfection and youth around, as do men, so the ageing is easier for men, but this is not to say that older women are not desired - many men do appreciate the more experienced woman, they are appreciative despite the fact that she is "fresh meat" (ugh- that's a horrible expression and you know it), and you know what? Even if they don't, most older women don't give a flying f**k anyway - that's the beauty of it.

     
  • At 10:15 AM, Blogger sparkleMatrix said…

    ML I find your post both enlightening and repulsive. I have seen you on the blog o sphere for quite some time now and was becoming to trust you. Enlightened on your true colours and that of many men and repulsed that you can consider human beings of any sex as meat.

    ~~fresh meat to a dooo!~~ you make me sick

     
  • At 11:18 PM, Blogger simply wondered said…

    I think people are speaking a language I have yet to learn:
    Melvin and 'fresh meat to a dooo!' ... I understand it sufficiently to find it disturbing but I really couldn't parse it.
    Cat etc and 'not just being f*******e' ??? I don't know that word.
    and fallingstar 'with age comes knowledge and experience' perhaps, but you didn't mention wisdom - and it's just as well when we have many old popes and presidents of the US to disprove that one. I don't think simply being older can confer a value on the crap people talk. And the young can have wisdom too (maybe you're right about the old soul thing - not that I'm convinced by the eternal rotation of the soul - all too easy and comforting ; kind of second best when you disbelieve the immortalty of the personality that western christianity happily pushes towards us)but I'm sure it's a function of someone thinking straight rather than just getting older. Crap is crap whatever the age of the mouth spouting it and we should try to respect the truth whether it's from the mouth of one experienced or merely perceptive. To come back home, I'm not sure how old our gracious host is, but I think the bulk of what she says is pretty sensible. I wouldn't be able to deduce Melvin's age from what he says but I know I think it's nonsense.

     
  • At 7:23 AM, Blogger alyx said…

    4 Sage:

    Good examples. H/ever, what I was trying to communicate is that society is generally pretty conservative when it comes to older women & sexuality (commercial film being a conservative medium), and that such relationships on the silver screen are in the minority (when compared with the far more popular older man/younger woman dynamic.)

    Although society is changing somewhat, and pop culture is thankfully starting to reflect this. The current examples I can think of are Gabrielle’s affair with her gardener in Desperate Housewives and Julie Cooper’s fling with Luke on The OC (back in first season.)

    Hopefully, we’ll start to see more of this when society looks at older women being sexual in a more positive light, and doesn’t just use such characters as a punchline or in a stupid teen movie “MILF” kinda way.

     
  • At 5:07 PM, Blogger Melvin Lee said…

    Sorry for the bad comment I gave. I am trying to be honest on my side. Well maybe My family is facing a divorce soon and I've seen to many men playing around here. Treating women like meat and I mean it!I can't hate them really but I know how and what they think about because I have their organ. Every single guy friend I know are perverts full stop. A guy even embarass me in front of gals who looks at me in disgust on my perversion of thoughts. The next think I know, he was asking me what latest porn I am having now so he could borrow it and yank himself ahem. Well truth really hurts. Tell that to my mum. Been lying to her for two years to keep her happy till she found out what my dad did. Never criticise men too much I mean other men for treating women like that. Cause I can say one thing thats what my mum did and this is what happen. My dad is the same and he is an animal. I have found out now how men thinks and their thinks stinks! So is my mind!
    So the thing is I accept the way I and men thinks. I know now we have animal instincts. We can be feminist about it but we cant change men. Hope you girls understand. Thanks for commenting on my comments. Will be careful on my words next time round.

     
  • At 3:51 AM, Blogger witchy-woo said…

    "but we cant change men."

    What's this I spy? Biological determinism?

    Well yah boo sucks to that!

    Men are in control of their own behaviour. (Just like any other human person is.)

    Men choose to behave the way they behave. (Just like any other human person does.)

    Men can choose to change the way they behave. (Ah, but will they?)

     
  • At 12:37 AM, Blogger FallingStar said…

    Hey SW - I realise that not all people with age have wisdom. I suppose sometimes I can be quite idealistic about certain things. What I meant was that society needs to respect age, full stop. Too often, it is ridiculed and seen as a less than ideal state, despite the fact that it is a natural state of all life, to age. Not all older women are wise, but they all have a story to tell :)

     
  • At 12:40 AM, Blogger FallingStar said…

    Erk...I don't like having a spyglass into Melvin's thought processes. Men CAN change their behaviour, and yep, I agree, they CHOOSE how they can act. They don't HAVE to act a certain way. I really believe most of it is socialization by society.

     

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