Well those drifter’s days are past me now
I’ve got so much more to think about
Deadlines and commitments
What to leave in, what to leave out
Against the wind
I’m still runnin’ against the wind
I’m older now but still runnin’ against the wind…
–From Seeger and Against the Wind
A few weeks ago, the Los Angeles Times published an article about Generation X women looking younger longer. It was re-tweeted about a million times. Here is an excerpt:
The first wave of Gen-Xers has rounded 40, and they are changing the face of what it means to be middle-aged. Women of this generation — think Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie — are pushing waifish teens off magazine covers, starring in movies, inspiring cosmetics and fragrances, wearing bikinis at the beach and minis to the mall.
Today, the Detroit Free Press has an article about how women in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s (could they add another decade?) can make fashion work for them. Basically, grow old gracefully and stop shopping in the juniors department. (Um, great advice.)
Today, The Onion also features Generation X women on their cover. The satirical headline is Classic Looks For 40-Something Women Married For The Second Time And Trying To Get Pregnant.”
Geez. While The Onion might make me laugh sometimes, I’m always aware that my response is usually inspired by a Generation X male whose mother didn’t hug him enough (or something). (Sorry.)
Yesterday, was Winona Ryder’s 40th birthday. Earlier this year, The Onion reported that she’d finally agreed to sleep with Generation X (ridiculous), and yesterday, Zap 2 It referred to her as Generation X’s “unabated crush.”
So, Generation X’s 40-something women are making headlines — about looking young and still being desirable. As the LA Times article pointed out, lifestyles, attitudes and beauty products are helping Gen X women feel more youthful. I think that’s a good thing. There’s nothing wrong with looking great despite your age, right?
But, I have a 14-year-old, and she keeps me grounded. While I may have a more youthful hairstyle than my mother sported at 40, I am not 25, and Juliette does not want me to act like I’m 25. I’m glad I get to see the world through her eyes, including her perceptions of 40-something women who try to act and dress like they’re 15.
By the way, this is my husband’s screensaver. Vanity or insanity? Too bad his coworkers don’t recognize me when I show up. Haha!
I also have two young children, four and six-years-old. Some of their friends’ moms are in their late 20s. I don’t want to look like their granny!
So, I’m going for the happy medium; being comfortable in my own skin and striving to look like the best me I possibly can. I like to stay up on trends. I like creating my own style, unencumbered or inhibited by age or societal expectations. I think I can do all this without going overboard and blowing my kids’ college funds or my own retirement savings on too many vanity treatments.
Check out these tweets from the last two days about Generation X, 40-something women from Generations Y and Z. Brace yourself. This could be painful.
“Mexican restaurants are a good place for husbands to go and watch other 40 something year old women in tight clothes.”
“That awkward moment when you see an overweight washed up 40-something year old woman in the ‘sexy referee’ costume.”
“Just saw beaten down 40 something women with a cigarette and a bag full of anguish dressed as Dorothy from Wizard of Oz…I hate Halloween.”
“Basketball Wives…30-40 something year old women acting like they’re 15.”
“Why these 40 something women in my family bouncing they a** to grey songs unusual?”
“Only 40 something year old woman I’ll date is Janet Jackson!”
“I’m worried that when I’m 40 something I’m still going to find middle aged women repulsive.”
Pretty awful, huh?
So, what do you think? Are 40-something women fooling themselves or do you agree with the USA Today article from this past summer, Among Generation X women, age 40 is party time.
Do 20-something women feel threatened by Generation X women in their 30s and 40s? Are we squatting on the space they’re trying to occupy? If so, why? Is it OK?
Seriously, it’s probably not too soon to have that talk with my beautiful 14-year-old daughter about marriage and love beyond crow’s feet, paunches and gray hair.