We’re not gonna take it

Immortalised by Glam Rock band “Twisted Sister”, “We’re not gonna take it” is the perfect war cry of the Menopausal woman. So I’m adopting it as our theme-song. It’s our fight song for this new club we find ourselves in – our club, our squad of middle-aged beauties, rocking a change in life.

It’s so important to remember that peri-menopause or menopause is not a full stop – it’s not even a pause. It is a change, yes. But it doesn’t have to be an ending. Try looking it as a new avenue to explore, a new way of seeing the world and yourself.

Yep, I’m back with Part Two of The Menopause Diaries. You can read Part One – Rocking Menopause in Style here.

This time ’round, I’m talking about not sitting back and taking it quietly.

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Why should we have to settle into a period of anonymity, just as shit’s getting good?! Well, not always good, those mood swings and night sweats are a total bitch. But on the other hand, our sense of self is often at an all time high, we know who we are in midlife, more than ever before, and what we want, so shit’s kind of good. Right?

So back to why should we settle? I say no way to that thank-you very much. Mostly, I want to rage against the machine, the beast of advertising and the mighty dollar that essentially ignore us as over 45’s and don’t acknowledge that we exist. Or we become a bit player, an amuse-bouche in a 5-course meal of younger delights?

We have fallen prey or been discarded in favour of the new Instagram reality – fresh young things doing fresh young things. But while they visit Bali and show off impressive tans, in the same breath, they’re also modelling anti-ageing creams (whilst looking like a picture perfect painting) and wearing items they wouldn’t normally wear, only to advertise for a brand that is suited to a much older audience. I don’t get it.

Why not use age appropriate people to sell to the age appropriate people who will buy the damn things.

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Don’t get me wrong, I actually do get it – my Dad’s an Ad-man. So I know why. I just don’t like it. Hence the blog. Some might say rant. I don’t care. Because, damn, it’s likely in midlife and by menopause, you have some spare money every now and then to throw around on the beauty treatments, the clothes, the things that advertisers are trying to get you to buy. With much younger models.

Secondly, where are all the references to Menopause I ask you ? Why do we not see it in mainstream media and advertising? Why is it (I discuss this in Part 1. too) that it’s still so much of a taboo subject? And yet, when I raise the subject with other women, there are so many, crawling over themselves to discuss it, happy they’ve found another to walk together, the long road of night sweats, mood swings, mental and physical fogginess. Why must we have to seek out the right things to read? Menopause is not a conspiracy theory. Why does mainstream media not talk about the scary lady hiding in the bedroom except as a listicle on how to help a hot flash or as an anecdote in a joke or as a murdering, scorned or troubled woman?

Let’s celebrate that scared and scary lady. She’s likely taking a hit right now to her confidence and sense or worth and purpose. Let’s instead bow down to her wisdom and her new truth. She’s lived half a life, let her live out Act II in all her glory. She’s not going down without a fight.

Worth noting, I do still see some advertising aimed at me. Do you know what that is? Weight loss for menopause ads. Hormones, the right way, for Menopause Ads. Occasionally a shoe ad will pop up AFTER I’ve bought the damn things, so that’s beside the point.

It’s a hard road being a menopausal woman, so why is it made harder, by not see us reflected in advertising, real examples of our generation? However, I don’t want to add to the stress of this crazy period in human history or the fact that you’re already negotiating a hot flush that could roast a pig. So while I can bemoan it all I like, I’m not a pessimist.

Therefore, I’ve compiled some ideas on ways to combat this advertising and media youthful-wash and help us dance to our own menopausal drum. Celebrate our midlife sisterhood and bloody yell from the rooftops “We’re not gonna take it”.

  1. Curate your feed – when on social media, ensure you’re following brands and media and people that nourish your mind, lift your spirits, and share examples of real-life midlife and menopause. You don’t have to block everyone else, but it will help to normalise how you feel by what you see every day.

2. Read and listen to podcasts (like this one from Michelle Obama) as much as you can about Menopause. From the silly to the absurd to helpful and back again. Laugh as much as you can. Never take Menopause advice from a man. They limit their knowledge to menopause being ONLY about mood swings and hot flushes. But when you lift the hood, there’s so much more.

3. If you’re an advertiser or in charge of hiring models, please can you use age-appropriate people? Check out the glorious Silverfox Management – run by my friend Rebecca Swaney. Like it says on its tin – she runs the over-35 modeling agency, Silverfox. The average age of a Silverfox Model is 52. Yass Queen!!! Love her work. Hire her models 🙂

4. Follow Caitlin Moran for some funny essays. She recently wrote one for The Times in London about Menopause being exactly like coming down off a high. It was very funny. Sadly I read it as a cut and paste on a Facebook post, as it’s locked behind a media paywall. But if you do a bit of googling, you may find a copy of it.

5. Don’t forget about yourself. Avoid fading into middle age. I recommend rolling up to it, with a hand on your hip, full of gumption, attitude and fabulousness. We have a whole life to live yet, midlife is not the stopping point. It may be a blip, it may send you into a spin, but it doesn’t mean the end of fun or style. Let’s never forget that Iris Apfel is in her 90’s and she has the most wicked sense of style.

6. Remind yourself & others around you, that you don’t have to be in a good mood all the time. It’s not your job to be the upbeat one all the time or forever. Hormones are a savage beast and during menopause, you can find that they greatly affect your mood and vibrancy. While you get to grips with the new you, you may channel a different kind of vibe. Allow yourself this, don’t apologise for it constantly.

So here’s to you, you wonderous Menopausal Queen. May you rise, rise, rise and say to the room “we’re not gonna take it, anymore”.

Mmmmmmwah, in style confidence and menopausal hot flashes, Love EJ, the Mother of the Sisterhood of Style x

Find out more about Sisterhood of Style by visiting my website www.sisterhoodofstyle.com

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