Health & beauty

Depressing Study Reveals That Women Feel "Invisible" By Age 51

Confidence plummets and feelings of "being ignored" increase

"We are simultaneously caring for young children and old parents, while still being expected to be fit, dewy and Botoxed as we stare into the abyss."
A. Vogel, an herbal supplement company specializing in -- among other things -- menopause remedies, conducted a study of 2,000 women over the age of 45 to gauge their feelings on aging. To say the results were disheartening would be a gross understatement.

Here's a snapshot of what was revealed:

• More than two-thirds of the women feel wholly ignored by men when they walk into a crowded room.

• More than half feel they've been "left on the shelf" and have been "judged negatively" because of their age.

• Only 15 percent say they are confident in any area of their lives.

• Six in ten feel that life is geared toward young women and 46 percent think that no one understands or addresses what aging and older women go through.

• Graying hair, having to wear glasses and an inability to find fashionable clothing were cited as contributing factors to lack of confidence.

READ: 5 Surprising Uses for Botox

These statistics, while depressing, would probably not come as a shock to author Annabelle Gurwitch who's written a (very funny) new book about aging. "I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories From the Edge of 50," is a collection of wildly amusing self-deprecating essays that examine the very things the Vogel study reveals; how women "of a certain age" (hate that phrase) are supposed to feel. And act. And look.

As the similarly funny Judith Newman writes in The New York Times, "At the center of the book is a serious question: How are we supposed to age? [Gurwitch] convincingly argues that there is no longer a template. Recalling that her own mother became a grandmother at 50, she says: "She was very proud to be a grandmother. You could call her matronly, and she was happy. Now, if someone called me matronly. Oh my God!"

QUIZ: 10 Myths and Facts About Aging

Of course, this isn't a new topic, but it's one that continues (and will always continue) to get people talking. In fact, Oprah and Cameron Diaz got into it last Sunday night on "Oprah Prime" while discussing Diaz's new book, the controversial, New York Times best-selling "The Body Book."

"I get so mad when I hear commercials on television where [they say] 'anti-aging,' we don't honor the journey and who we are and how much we have to offer," Diaz says.

"It's almost as if we have failed if we don't remain 25 for the rest of our lives. Like we are failures. Oh, I'm sorry, I apologize," she says rolling her eyes. "I wasn't able to defy nature."


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