June 16, 2024

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Advocacy for 50-year-old women

Advocacy for 50-year-old women

With his test Stylish people, French psychologist Charlotte Montbessat is interested in the place of women over 50 in society. Women are often invisible, stigmatized, and stereotyped, while they live a period of their lives where they are more independent, available, and fulfilled than ever before.


On his 45th birthday, on his desk is a letter from the HR department informing him of his new “senior” status. In business. “senior”, Really? Is she already in the world of retirees? She is surprised. Has she suddenly aged without realizing it? “What a shock, and at the age of 45, you are in great shape, talented, creative, energy … senior, when the word cut my legs,” says Charlotte Montpezat, we contacted in Paris. “Because we use the word senior at 45, but we also use it at 85, but it’s not the same thing!”, she says.

He later discovered that the letter was related to the objectives of the Ministry of Labor and was part of the device senior chord order Prepare to cross the milestone of employees’ 50th birthday.

Photo courtesy of Charlotte Montbessot

Charlotte Montbessot, author of the book Stylish people

It starts with good intentions, but at 50, often, it’s a business guillotine. We are pushed aside and it is more difficult for women than for men.

Charlotte Montbessot

But why would you want to exclude women over 50? This is the big question that will be addressed in this article. Charlotte Montbessot starts from her own experience, but asks experts about the representation and employment of these women, a real problem. In France, there are 17 million women over 45 and 9 million women of working age.

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“We cannot ignore such an important part of society. We are the first generation of women in human history who have been lucky enough to be at full potential, physically and intellectually, between the ages of 45 and 65. We really need to shake the stereotypes and break the orders that limit us,” she says. Hence the title. Stylish peopleBecause these women are fuller than ever.

“I’m 57 years old and frankly, I’ve never been so fit and good in my sneakers! At 50, we are freed from family responsibilities and emotional burdens (as our children are grown), freed from the reproductive process, independent, strong, active, full of resources and experiences, to change the outdated view of society. A woman over 50 years of age. This new age, so to speak, we must discover,” says Charlotte Montbessot.

An age sucks

Many women fear the social identity of a 50-year-old woman. “Because it has to do with the body and biology. Philosopher Camille Froidevaux-Metterie writes that women’s existence is determined by their physicality. While men live and work, women are always relegated to it, as if they had no body or child,” the author analysed. Susan Sontag published it in 1972, she recalled The duality of old age, he points out that female and male aging are two different realities. Women wear more than men.

“We see that women over 50 are under-represented. We immediately think of a grandmother! Ironically, we see Martha Stewart on the cover of the magazine Game chart. It’s nice to have an 80-year-old woman on the cover, but she doesn’t look her age, she’s photoshopped a lot… and what we’re showing is not an 80-year-old woman! »

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The author believes that the less exposed women 50 and older are, the less they feel presentable.

We get a bad image of ourselves. Even today, we have to face a society that fears aging and concealing our bodies as obsolete, as women’s social value is inseparable from their aesthetics and their bodies.

Charlotte Montbessot

Another irritant is discrimination. According to the International Labor Organization, age and gender discrimination are the two biggest forms of discrimination ahead of ethnic origin and disability. According to a World Health Organization study conducted in 57 countries in 2021, one in two people have a moderate or strong ageist attitude. “These are prejudices that are expressed throughout society, businesses, media, cinema and social networks. I think we need to recognize the problem and fight. The will of women and companies facing such discrimination is not enough, public authorities must intervene and do things. »

Stylish people

Stylish people

Equatorial versions

208 pages