- On Good Things Utah this morning – Every so often a meme goes around, pointing out that the protagonists of The Golden Girls were women in their fifties (played by women in their sixties) and comparing them to, for instance, Jennifer Lopez doing the Super Bowl halftime show at 50, or the characters in the SATC reboot. Nobody can believe Blanche and her roomies were actually supposed to be that young because middle age looks nothing like it did in the 1980s — and as a woman in her late 40s, I’m thrilled. The Golden Girls looms large for millennials and Gen X’ers; it was so popular and such a fixture in syndication that it provided us with an iconic example of what aging was supposed to look like. The title said it all: They were in their golden years. And a big part of it was, plain and simple, the hair. Their hairstyles were a reflection of wider cultural expectations for older women. I remember sitting in a salon chair in high school, getting my hair done for prom. A woman sitting next to me asked the stylist to chop off her long hair — she was going to quit coloring it because she was in her 40s and she thought it was time to give up on having nice hair. I couldn’t believe she was going to cut it off for that reason. Then my hairdresser looked at me as she finished my curls and said, “Hear that? You have just over twenty years left before it all goes to shit.” Everyone laughed, of course. It was a message that was everywhere: When my parents turned 40, there were black balloons and lots of jokes about being over the hill. We were even told it was rude to ask a woman how old she was.
- Now, as a woman in her late forties, I am pleased to report that the attitude around getting older has changed quite a bit. I actually love being this age — I feel better than ever and I’m able to do things I never could have in my 20s. I’m physically stronger, I have less tolerance for BS, and I’m not afraid to speak up. I know I haven’t “expired.” I have a lot more I want to accomplish in life and my age will have no bearing on whether I get it done or not. In many ways, I feel like I’m just getting started. And I know a big part of that is the fact that expectations for middle age have changed. My generation doesn’t agree that once you reach a certain age, you should let go of everything… from your dreams to your hair. Tune in to hear more as our hosts dive into this Hot Topic and so much more on Good Things Utah!
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