Today I am on a rant ‘n roll. It started yesterday when I read one of my “go-to” blogs, “That’s Not My Age“. The wonderful Alyson Walsh writes a blog on style for women over 40 and she has “covered” the subject of gray hair a couple of times. It’s great because she gets the discussion going—and yesterday’s post on this subject of gray hair had me obsessing all day and into the night.
This woman freakin’ rocks the gray hair. And I want to see this look as a stereotypical one for a mature woman. Her makeup is beautiful. I want that lip color. Unfortunately, my own hair isn’t as luxe as hers is to rock this look!
Where do I start? Ok—here’s my view on the subject. There are a few outspoken and rather militant schools of thought on the tresses of gray. A wide number of women seem to insist that all women “over a certain age” should make themselves free of coloring their hair and embrace the change as the locks fade and lose color into that gray area.
If you are a woman over 40 or 50, I’m sure you’ve read the countless articles of women whose choice to “go gray” is a badge of bravery. Their gray hair is empowering. They are soldiers in the war of ageism because gray hair = age discrimination.
Um. That’s not necessarily true. Age discrimination is based not on gray hair. It is based on age—older age. Corporations don’t care if a 30 year old woman has gray hair, nor do corporations care if a 25 year old woman has gone prematurely gray and decided to stay that way. Corporations do NOT want to hire older women because of other factors. Corporations feel that older women (men too) are not savvy with technology.
This cartoon by Scott Adams pretty much sums up ageism in the workplace–nothin’ to do with hair!
They give tests to see how adept one may be on the Cloud system or on the latest and greatest versions of Microsoft programs. And yet, they don’t test anyone in common sense. Case in point:
Earlier this morning, Bonaparte was at the computer. I heard some choice words coming from our home office. He was spewing very naughty words in his native language. Ohlalalalala! And then I heard it—an unusual cry for assistance. The French don’t ask for help so I KNEW this was serious!
Bonaparte as a young man in Paris. He’s contemplating his future in the USA and wondering if he will ever find a woman who knows her way around the world of computers (I don’t think they even had computers when this pic was taken)! This is my favorite pic of him–I HAD to sneak it in here!
“Casseee.” “Cassee.” “Ah nid ehr ‘elp wis zee compew-tair” “Eez eempor-tahn—On y va!” “On y va!!”
(Translation: “Cathe.” “Cathe”. “I need your help with the computer”. “It’s important—let’s go!” “let’s go!”)
His daughter sent him three emails with photos of flyers that she needed printed in color. Bonaparte has AOHell as his email server. I do not. Bonaparte did not know how to print off the flyer from the contents of the email.
To tell you the truth, I don’t use AOHell, so I wasn’t familiar with the process. But IT TOOK ME LESS THAN A MINUTE TO FIGURE IT OUT, resize, reconvene and print the flyers.
Corporations feel that only the under 50 crowd is adept at figuring out any sort of computer issues. Corporations also feel that the under 50 crowd is also much more hire-friendly because they will never become ill. EVER! Corporations feel older adults are a medical risk. It doesn’t matter how knowledgeable or able they may be for a position.
Employers also don’t want to hire olders because they are “set in their ways”. Really??? I happen to know many younger people who are way more set in their ways—and dull as all get out then many older people. One is never too old to learn!
Rather than focusing on your hair going gray, might I suggest placing energies on stopping ageism in the workplace in more important ways—like the ones I mentioned above?
Let’s focus on stopping the discrimination better known as “Ageism”!
Look—we’re all women. We’re older. We need to support each other and stick together like hairspray.
And while I’m at it, we need to stick together like Elnett hairspray. This spray has epic holding power–and we need to hold on to each other!
And that’s the issue. We all have little cliques. We have the groups of women who are militant about embracing the gray. We have little cliques of women who feel that we should age without the use of fillers and plastic surgery. We have groups of women that look down on other women because they can’t afford designer clothing. It never ends.
That’s right. I don’t exclude. You wanna smoke like a chimney…
…you wanna have plastic surgery to match Jocelyn Wildenstein’s? I embrace you for who you are!
I remember when Jake was born almost 33 years ago. It was the decision that I would return to work until I had more children. Since I was breastfeeding and wanted continue, even while working, I had questions. I needed support. I went to a La Leche meeting to try to get that support.
Stay calm my ass–La Leche league was the biggest “letdown” (if you breastfed, you will get the play on words)
And rather than support, I went through an Amazonian attack of sorts. Questions like “Why can’t you bring your baby to work?” “Why can’t you insist that you leave work to breastfeed” were thrown at me. Were these women for real? Were they that entitled that they truly didn’t know what support actually meant?
I felt like Jean Rochefort did in the film “Calmos”. He was attacked by a group of Amazonian troops. That’s how I felt about La Leche League!
I do remember before the meeting ended, I stood up and told them that I was very disillusioned in their group. I needed support because it was very difficult for me to be separated from my son. I also needed advice on how I could keep my milk supply flowing since I would be away from him for eight hours. I received no help from the La Leche League. Hence I learned a valuable lesson as a woman that night. Do what is best for you and figure it out—because these women were a self-righteous group that didn’t give a shit about breastfeeding mothers returning to work.
La Leche League sucks. That was my thought after that disastrous meeting.
As you can see from this photo, I went with my own version of La Leche! My tits were on demand–not just for meals but for snacking too! Oh goddess. I miss my big, huge ’80’s hair!
Breastfeeding is and should be a private matter. If a woman decides to bottle-feed, so be it. The bond with her child is still great. If a woman decides to breast feed, then La Leche League should be there for support and advice. Period. Stand by the woman and embrace the woman more than the ideology!
We’re our own worst enemies at times. I know women who think I’m horrible for supporting Bernie Sanders completely rather than supporting Hillary Clinton. That’s not it—I just happen to relate to Sanders’ views and politics more than I do Clinton’s. However, should she win the nomination, she will get my full support and my vote. And it won’t be because she is a woman; it’ll be because she is the better candidate than the women-hating Republicans. Simple!
As much as I want to see a woman president, Hillary comes second to my Bernie. And both of them piss me off because they never address ageism!
It is also ironic that NONE of the presidential candidates have addressed ageism because they are too obsessed with gaining the youth vote!
See where the topic of gray hair has led to with me? Let me get back to the subject.
Yes. I read the many blog posts and articles pontificating about gray hair and not having to spend the time and money on dye. Yes. I’ve read from the “experts” that as you age, your hair color should be a couple of shades lighter or you will look “harsh”.
This is the beautiful singer Emmylou Harris. She’s been gray for years. YEARS! However, not all of us are blessed with the beautiful head of hair she has and not all of us are blessed with her features! She is not the normal gray-haired woman!
Perhaps some may think my haircolor harsh, but I really don’t care. This is the color I will wear for a long, long time!
I’ll take my chances looking harsh. I’ll keep dying my hair jet black. It’s the natural color I was born with.
Since I’ve been incredibly lazy at times and have let my roots go to an uncanny resemblance to that of a skunk, I’ve realized that:
If this guy saw me in between coloring touch ups, he would be in love with me!
- I look washed out in gray—it doesn’t compliment my skin tone
- My hair, thanks to Menopause (the great biological misogynist), has thinned out to the point of bald spots. Dark dye, along with certain products, disguises the loss.
- My hair is also naughty. It is coarse and wiry and will appear even more coarse and wiry in its state of gray.
- I happen to LOVE my hair darkened. In fact, I’m very comfortable with dark hair. And if I’m comfortable, I’m happy. If I’m happy I’m confident.
- The weather here in the Northeast is gray enough. I don’t need to add to it.
This is how my hair would look if I went gray and allowed it to form into its natural state. Ain’t gonna happen.
I’ve seen very few women who completely rock the gray. Very few. My Ob/Gyn from New York, Dr. Richard Levine—his wife was one of the few who rocks that gray. The first time I saw her picture was while I was in stirrups. Her beautiful head of hair made me forget that I was being prodded for a Pap smear!
Ellen Levine. At the time she was the editor of Redbook magazine and her hair was swoon-worthy. Not just because of the gray, but because her hair was just so thick and lustrous. It didn’t matter what color her hair was. And she made me forget all about the position I was in whenever I saw her husband! (Which BTW, he is the greatest Ob/Gyn in New York City. He has to be. He dealt with my craziness!)
Her gray has turned to white and she still has a great head of hair.
And her hair didn’t empower her career. Her brains did.
And brains and common sense and respect are what we women need to truly be supportive of each other. We don’t raise our daughters to be exclusive nor do we raise them to be mean girls. So let’s stop. Let’s be inclusive of ALL women and let’s be supportive of each other.
You want gray hair. I support you and think it’s cool. So please do the same for this old broad and all the others who dye our hair and who pile on the makeup and hairspray. When it comes down to it–we’re all fighting the same “ism”–Ageism!
Let’s Watusi together!
This gets better and funnier with every view! Look at the aggression of the broad with the cigarette hanging from her mouth. She can multitask. Check out the one on the sofa behind her. We girls have to band together!
Let’s also dance together. We’ll do the Watusi with The Miracles and Claudette Robinson!