Last autumn I happened to be in Paris during Fashion Week. The City was buzzing. The air was electric, and excitement filled the air. Glamorous people rushed around looking busy and important, mere mortals strained to catch a glimpse of someone famous or powerful. But THE BIG SURPRISE was the subtle shift that was taking place. In a world built around Youth and Beauty, in which preconceived ideas are extremely slow to change or evolve, something very unusual was afoot. Although one would assume an industry based on selling eyewatering expensive products would have made it their business to target the people who have enough money to buy these products.This has not been the case. Instead of years, anti-aging creams have been advertised by extremely young models in their teens or early 20s like Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Cara Delavigne. Last autumn the more savvy designers and cosmetic companies seem to have seen the light and realized what vast amounts of money they were leaving on the table.

They finally caught on to the fact that the women who have the money to buy their products are older women.To this end, they did something they had never done before. They made older women the Focus and the undisputed stars of the Paris Fashion Week. HOW? They reunited the most iconic models of years gone by and built the whole Event around these Super Stars. Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffert, Naomie Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Helena Christensen were celebrated by the entire French and international Fashion World as if they were Goddesses!

These fabulous 50+-year-old women were indeed extraordinary in that they bore no resemblance to their own grandmothers at the same age. We have indeed come a long way baby! It occurred to me that nobody would have found these ladies too old or middle-aged to be bloggers. Yet as we shall see there are very few mature lady bloggers. Ageism is still alive and kicking. It will suddenly rear its ugly head in places where one least expects it. One of these is blogging. Ageism is 100% to do with Mindset. Old ideas and stereotypes die hard and are incredibly difficult to change. Most people are not even aware that they are just going along with a way of thinking simply because this is what they have always been led to believe.

I was to come across another hidden form of ageism when I decided to start a blog. I may have been hidden but it was still ageism. Shortly after I decided to start a blog I got a very unpleasant shock. A very stealthy but subtle form of Ageism and age-related expectations regards older women, were alive and kicking in the blogosphere as well as in other places. THIS is one of the last Glass Ceilings I feel older women need to smash. One of my goals with Blogissima is to show there is a place for older bloggers. As older women, we have a lot of experience and we need to step up and claim a small piece of the pie. There are so many unique opportunities out there for people like us. Women who need to make additional income and create emotional and financial opportunity. But to do this we must NOT let ourselves be hemmed in by others, or stopped by our own self-doubt. While I was still at the stage of trying to decide on a name, a Niche and a target market, I thought I would explore the web and see what other women bloggers my age were up to. I was in for a rude awakening. Compared to the hundreds and thousands of young women bloggers and mummy bloggers, I discovered to my astonishment, that there were hardly any women bloggers my age! At first, I couldn’t believe it. How could this be? And why? Then I realized, with a sinking heart there seems to be a Brutal cut off point for women bloggers directly related to AGE! A hidden glass ceiling.

Slowly but surely older ladies start to gently disappear around 45 years old. Their numbers continue to fall faster and faster as they approach 50 and 55! By the time they are in their 60’s, they are spoken of the way an archeologist would speak of a rare fossil he had accidentally stumbled upon. The blogger in her 70’s is thought of as a minor miracle.

This seriously rattled me. For the very first time in my life, I suddenly became conscious that I was now what other people think of as an “older” woman. Up until this moment I had definitely never felt old. Had I been asked what age I “felt”, I would have said, no different than I had in my 40s. Perhaps the fact that I have had 5 children from 2 different marriages has a lot to do with it. My oldest son is 40 and my youngest daughter 14. So my parenting activities have been and are still ongoing. I am still packing school lunches and doing school runs, attending parent meetings, supervising homework. Constantly having young children and teenagers around, has definitely kept me on my toes, and informed about much of what is currently “trending”. Discovering the Lack of middle-aged bloggers, brought me down to earth with a resounding thud! Most of my contemporaries were empty nesters, about to retire. Quite a few of them were already grandmothers. More to the point, Blogging was definitely not an area any of my friends had ever thought of entering. If asked, they would say: “ I am just not into computers or tech-savvy enough”.This whole absence of older female bloggers got me thinking of many things. The first was how quick we are to conform to what others expect of us at certain ages. Age-related expectations creep in when we are not looking. So many activities or things in our lives are considered age appropriate or not age appropriate. “Other people” have very set ideas as to what women should be doing. The BIG sneaky insidious danger lies in letting the age-related expectations of other people cause us to give up on our dreams. If you are not aware of this subtle peril of conforming, pretty soon you will start to doubt yourself and wonder if you have indeed bitten off more than you can chew for someone “of Your Age”

Shortly after I decided to start a blog I got a very unpleasant shock. A subtle form of Ageism and age-related expectations were alive and kicking in the blogosphere. l While I was still at the stage of trying to decide on a Niche and my target audience, I thought I would explore the web and see what other women bloggers my age were up to. I was in for a rude awakening. It was bad news! Compared to the hundreds and thousands of young women bloggers and mummy bloggers, I discovered to my astonishment, that there were hardly any women bloggers my age! At first, I couldn’t believe it. How could this be? And why? Then I realized, with a sinking heart that there seems to be a Brutal cut off point for women bloggers directly related to AGE! A hidden glass ceiling. Slowly but surely older ladies start to gently disappear around 45 years old. Their numbers continue to fall faster and faster as they approach 50 and 55! By the time they are in their 60 ’s, they are spoken of the way an archeologist would speak of a rare fossil he had accidentally stumbled upon. The blogger in her 70’s is thought of as a minor miracle. This seriously rattled me. For the very first time in my life, I suddenly became conscious that I was now what other people think of as an “older” woman. Up until this moment I had definitely never felt old. Had I been asked what age I “felt”, I would have said, no different than I had in my 40s. Perhaps the fact that I have had 5 children from 2 different marriages has a lot to do with it. My oldest son is 40 and my youngest daughter 14. So my parenting activities are still ongoing. I am still packing school lunches and doing school runs, attending parent meetings, supervising homework.

Constantly having young children and teenagers around, has definitely kept me on my toes, and kept me informed about much of what is currently “trending”. Discovering the enormous lack of middle-aged bloggers, brought me down to earth with a resounding thud! I might consider myself the mother of two teenagers, but most of my contemporaries were done with all this, and were on the point of retiring. Quite a few of them were already grandmothers. More to the point, Blogging was definitely not an area any of my friends had ever thought of entering. This whole absence of older female bloggers got me thinking of many things. The first was how quick we are to conform to what others expect of us at certain ages. Age-related expectations creep in when we are not looking. So many activities or things in our lives are considered age appropriate or not age appropriate. “Other people” have very set ideas as to what women should be doing. The BIG sneaky insidious danger lies in letting the age-related expectations of other people cause us to give up on our dreams. If you are not aware of this subtle peril of conforming, pretty soon you will start to doubt yourself and wonder if you have indeed bitten off more than you can chew for someone “of Your Age”