A few years back, a survey discovered that eight out of 10 women over the age of 50 believe they are "invisible" to members of the opposite sex. Although everyone has to confront the signs of aging -- whether it be a new wrinkle or an achy joint -- invisibility is different. Feeling invisible is a feeling that you are no longer a vital, desirable person in the eyes of those around you.
In the same vein, one of our bloggers, Arlene Schindler, wrote earlier this month about how she feels invisible when walking down the street now that she's a woman in her 50s. People pass by her, she says, without nary a glance in her direction. It's no surprise, then, that she also believes no one wants to date a midlife woman either.
The reaction on Facebook to Schindler's piece was staggering. Some readers felt a kinship with Schindler, agreeing that they, too, feel discouraged by a lack of attention after 50.
"I am totally invisible... even to the old hairy geezers. I cannot tell you how many times I've had a bank or store door slammed in my face by the ignorant male in front of me just because I'm not 20 years old, blonde and with humungous boobs," wrote Patricia Rezzonico. "And when I'm standing in line? It's like I'm not even there. Ever try going to Home Depot and asking a man for help? Hah! And two of my younger female co-workers have told me in the past, 'Nobody wants you... you're too old and you can't have children,' followed by, 'Nobody want you, they want someone young like me'."
Other readers, though, argue that people pick up on a woman's feelings about herself, no matter what their age. In order to get noticed, a woman just needs to exude confidence and a positive attitude.
"It all begins with you... in your brain... and it is all up to you... whether or not to drink the Kool-Aid of age restraints that affect every aspect of living... from being successful, productive and sexual at any age," wrote Theresa LaSalle. "That is what people pick up on... how you see yourself. Therefore empower yourself... by being the best you can be... and then discard how people who are unenlightened view you. Poor them."
No doubt the subject of invisibility after 50 strikes a nerve. Here's what a few other readers had to say about feeling invisible after 50. Their responses may surprise you. What do you think? Let us know in comments.
1) "Oh hell no... I was 50 when I married my totally hot husband, three years younger," wrote Jacqueline Reilly Black.
2) "I don't feel invisible at all. Choose men who don't want children. It worked for me," wrote Nancy Andersen.
3) "I don't buy this at all! I got married at 63 and I can name off the top of my head at least eight other women I know personally who got married or engaged after 50! Not to mention that my father met the love of his life when they were both 77. Don't buy into this line of BS because if you believe it, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Look around you and expect to be seen!" wrote Paula Love.
4) "I have men my age eyeing me at 55. Gives me an ego boost especially when I hate the wrinkles," said Deb Hancock Tullos.
5) "I never feel invisible because I dress in vibrant colors the whole year… can't miss me… LOL! I even get compliments on the street, especially on grey rainy days, and that's from men and women!" wrote Cheryl Ann LaValais.
6) "I'm not that interested in male attention now, but I have a girlfriend who still has it going on. She always wears flowing clothes that are just a little low, but classy and stylish -- it's her style and men take notice. She understands men. She used to say, 'Men like dangle earrings, high heels, perfume, makeup -- but not too obvious, pretty lipstick, a becoming hair style (it doesn't have to be long) and they like it when you give them your full attention when you talk to them.' Now you are probably thinking that I am talking about a younger woman. No, she is about 68 and has been married for years. She is a little overweight, has never had a facelift, but she has an attitude and style that attracts men. She has salt and pepper hair but she was blessed with a beautiful face and sapphire blue eyes. and a lovely soft voice. My point is that she really likes and enjoys men and they appreciate all the qualities that make her sexy and feminine without wearing lots of makeup and short tight clothes. She leaves a lot to their imagination and men are captivated by her," wrote Jane Thompson.
9) "I don't see why this is a problem. I'm a 55-year-old straight female and I would love to be invisible to men. I'm pretty sure I am as it's my breasts that they seem to follow. Even at my age... it's ridiculous! Find happiness alone!!! It's easier that way," wrote Destiny Awaits.
10) "If Sophia Loren can get men to look, so can you> Remake yourself to be awesome," wrote Kate Blake.
11) "I have had no problem with this and I am 55. Now, I do notice that people in their 70s and older tend to be ignored by society itself. My husband of 30 years is older than I am. He and my dad, who is 90, both have problems with being ignored by wait staff and checkers if we are with them. The men will give them the credit card to pay for the meal or whatever, yet the ticket and card are almost always given to me or my mom. I never take it and tell them to give it to the person who gave it to them. I also tell them it was rude not to do that in the first place," wrote Deb Hancock Tullos.
13) "I get more attention from way younger men than anyone my age," wrote Sherrill Cochran Hubbard.
15) "I'm married but should anything happen and my circumstance changes, I have a desire NOT to concern myself with 'dating'. There is so much more in life to be concerned with and about, to accomplish, be involved in, and be special in my own right. Far too much in life than I have time to express here," wrote Kim Machado Fernandez.