Midlife Has Been “Gray Washed” from Media

Vanessa Torre
8 min readApr 20

We’re not just imagining it. We don’t exist. But, I have receipts.

Last year, BetterMe Health Coaching created a “walking program” for women over 45, and midlife women absolutely burst into flames.

In the ad, women over 45 were depicted as frail old biddies that could only walk for 15 minutes a day and would be required to re-evalutate our strength and endurance each day to see whether we could even feasibly continue to exert ourselves in such an overwhelming manner.

Not only was the exercise program insulting in and of itself, but the images that went along with the campaign showed women over 45 in frumpy outfits, carrying canes and cats, and wearing nothing more interesting than reading glasses and cardigan sweaters. See below and come back when you stop laughing.

Oh, you bet I screenshot this before someone got fired and they took it down.

I have had a serious problem with how media depicts people over 45 for quite some time. This extends to movies and TV shows.

Once actresses hit a certain age, which is excruciating young, no one is seen as a viable love interest but rather as the crazy spinster aunt, aging mother, or even a grandmother far earlier than would ever happen to men.

As I have gotten older, I’ve realized the proliferation of ads thrown my way that focus on anything and everything I could buy to erase the sand of time that had cleared blown across my face.

If you know anything about me, doing extensive research to fuel my hate fire is my jam. So here we are.

Recently, I picked up a book by author, researcher, and activist Betty Friedan whose pivotal 1963 book The Feminine Mystique is credited as the pilot of the second wave of feminism.

In The Feminine Mystique, Friedan examined the media influence over women in the 50s and 60s and how shame and fear were piled upon women to move them back into a place of submission following the second world war.

Vanessa Torre

Top 10 feminist writer. Writing, coaching, and relentlessly hyping women in midilfe. linktr.ee/Vanessaltorre Email: vanessa@vanessatorre.com