Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Where are the old women bloggers?

We know everything that has ever happened, and there is no end to derision.--Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra


After turning 50 in September, I became somewhat obsessed with the age of bloggers. I discovered I could find a lot of male bloggers in the 50-and-older category. But where are the women?

I know, there are a few. And I am not talking about Arianna Huffington, who is 57 and a billionaire (and therefore looks 25), but about us ordinary bloggers, such as Raven, Jackie, Risa, JJ, Marion, Maitri and Shadocat. I try to find them and link them on my blog... they are like precious jewels.

I have wondered if the hyperventilating over WOMEN'S AGE might be the cause of this phenomenon; we might call it The Botox Effect. We cover up the "lines" in our writing, as we try to cover the lines in our face. We minimize that which makes us seem old. If there is something new we don't understand, such as contemporary slang, we don't dare ask for clarification and thereby give ourselves away. Perhaps, then, there are more of us than I realize? Many women pointedly do not provide their ages on their blogs, while men usually do; a silly, sexist and archaic cultural habit.

At times when I write about nostalgia, as I enjoy doing, I get replies from isolated people (who will not comment publicly, it is worth noting) thanking me for publicly remembering something that they agree needs recounting. But they say it in hushed, secretive emails, as if I have said something dirty out loud. THE PAST IS OLD, and therefore, not a good thing. NEW is good, new is revolutionary, new is a product that has been improved, reformulated, with all kinds of good shit added to it to make it a rockem-sockem, highly-evolved and BETTER thing... better car, better house, better suburb, better dishwashing liquid.

Various cultures throughout the world once prized the old, as those who had knowledge and wisdom. As American imperialism runs roughshod all over the world and into every nook and cranny of the globe, we see all that is old is shunned and shunted aside. Hatred of what is old is now invading hearts and minds and cultures everywhere. Universally, the belief that old age equals wisdom is fast disintegrating. NEW NEW NEW shall reign. The old is hidden or eliminated, and that includes old people.

On certain progressive blogs, when I try to comment about what we expected or thought in the past, it's a sure way to get beat up and left for dead. Yes, I am told, that just proves how fucked up everything was back then. Nietzsche's Last Man of History knows everything that has ever happened, and there is no end to derision.

The very idea that we may know something is laughed at. And yet writing "teh" is not considered laughable, for some reason. I guess because it's a "young" thing to do.


Left: A photograph of the back of my head, taken at a political rally 30 years ago. I was lying down with my head propped on my elbows--that's my blond hair, which looks virtually the same now as it did then. (Hey, it could be worse, I could look like the girl with the Farrah Fawcett hair!) Kent State, 1977.

When you get old enough, you find photos of yourself (and your head, and your feet, and your husbands, and your kids) all over the net, which is a scary thing.


When old women aren't laughed at, we are completely ignored.

I have tried very hard not to be petty about this. I have concentrated HARD on my new tattoo, and asked my various saints whether I am being self-centered or petty when I am ignored and patronized. I look around, though, and I see a DEARTH of women bloggers my age. Of course we are ignored, we do not even exist. We are not a DEMOGRAPHIC BLOCK and they don't have to deal with us as a GROUP, or maybe they would notice how shitty they talk (or don't talk) to us.

I am pretty tired of this, and I have nearly given up blogging twice over it. Being ignored or talked down to, hurts. How much of this is also sexism and elitism/classism is hard to say... perhaps taken altogether: an older, working-class woman in South Carolina is simply unimportant. Possibly, if I were from New York, London or someplace cool, that would be sufficient to allow me to be taken seriously. But I keep coming back to age: Menopausal gals ain't hawt, and subsequently, we don't say very hawt things. And on the internets, hawtness is a crucial selling point.

My rant was brought on by a particular blogger, who of course is oblivious to my existence. Thus, it makes no sense to link him here, it won't matter to him one way or the other. He may find it peripherally amusing. But I am curious as to how many people might read this, and wonder if I am talking about them?


I think about right-wing conservatives, and their continuous political appeals to old people. I wonder if much of their success is their promise not to forget about us, to honor our lives and experience? By contrast, the left (where I have spent my life), sends us off to the glue factory.

One last thing: Unless you die, you will all age. If you'd like that to be a pleasant experience, rather than an unpleasant one, it may behoove you to change the culture NOW. Otherwise, I daresay, you'll someday understand exactly what I mean by this post.

Yall come back now, ya hear?

Listening to: Etta James - Don't Lose Your Good Thing
via FoxyTunes