Opinion: Carole Simpson on the truth about being old and female
Carole Simpson says it is great that Betty White has been embraced, but that is not the reality for most older women.
January 27th, 2012
04:07 PM ET

Opinion: Carole Simpson on the truth about being old and female

Editor's note: Carole Simpson is the leader-in-residence at Emerson College’s School of Communication in Boston, where she teaches journalism and communications classes. She is the first woman or minority to be the sole moderator of a presidential debate, and chronicled her 40 years as a broadcast journalist in her memoir, "Newslady."

By Carole Simpson, Special to CNN

(CNN) - It was suggested to me that older women are finally coming into their own.

Who would have thought that almost 14  million viewers would tune in to NBC’s broadcast special celebrating actress Betty White’s 90th birthday?

The endearing “Golden Girl” was feted by some of the most popular stars of the day, and even the president of the United States.

Actress Cloris Leachman was 82 when she danced the light fantastic on “Dancing With the Stars.”

Barbara Walters, also in her 80s, continues to land the big interviews for her ABC specials and act as a co-host on “The View," a show she co-owns.

Diane Sawyer, ABC’s “World News “ anchor,  is in her late 60s, and Lesley Stahl, long time “60 Minutes” correspondent,  is 70.

This all sounds pretty good considering women in television were once warned - by men of course - that our careers would be over at 40.

Does that mean elder females are gaining acceptance in our society?

Absolutely not.

Betty White can attract an audience because people love her. She’s warm and funny and a little raunchy. The other women are exceptional at their jobs.

Most older women say they fear being invisible as they get older.

They are often widowed, divorced and living alone on meager incomes, and among the poorest in the population.

Their children are grown and gone.

They suffer ailments of old age, are fearful of being attacked, and slowly and quietly await death.

Old ladies long for the days gone by when men turned their heads to steal a glance at them. Then, their bodies were firm and curvaceous; their hair thick and lustrous; their faces smooth and free from imperfections.

How do I know, you ask?

Because I am a septuagenarian.

But, unlike many of us at this age, I am an exception.

I continue to work and have a full-time job teaching college journalism. One of the courses I teach is reporting on minority and diverse groups, including the aged.

I told my senior and graduate students I was going to write a piece for CNN about older women, and asked: “When you think of old women, what comes to mind?”

The answers from the 20-somethings were what I expected. Here are just a few: “Wrinkles, whiskers on their face, too much makeup, smelly, tacky clothes, ugly shoes, walkers, lonely, repeat themselves, lots of cats, hot flashes, shrinking bodies, go to the bathroom all the time, knick-knacks, don’t have sex, always complaining.”

If that’s what young people think of older women, is there any wonder they don’t respect, or want to spend time with them?

My sister passed away last summer at age 78. She lived in California, so I didn’t see her often.

I am sorry to say she was “Exhibit A” of this plight of older women. She was a widow who never got over the death of her husband. She became clinically depressed.

She lived alone with her four cats and lamented that her children and grandchildren, who lived nearby, did not call or visit. She “let herself go” and often needed money.

I remember her telling me how rude people were to her and how a teenage girl pushed her out of the way and snarled, “Move it, grandma. You’re in the way.”

My sister was so unhappy, death was probably a blessing.

Our outlooks on age were vastly different. While she succumbed to it, I have been fighting it all my life.

As a broadcast journalist, I had to work hard, sound good and look great. I watched my weight and struggled to manage stress.

I even had plastic surgery when the chin and eyes began to sag on camera.

Now that I am teaching, I am trying to change young people’s perception of what it is to be an older woman.

I don’t leave the house without being dressed appropriately, made-up and hair groomed.

I laugh heartily at my students’ jokes and the YouTube videos they share.

I seek out fun and look for all the little joys in life, like popcorn and Junior Mints at the movies.

I try not to complain about every ache and pain that strikes.

I mentor my students and now they seek me out for advice on matters professional and private.

I think there are growing numbers of older women of my generation who are turning outward instead of inward and showing society that we have value, wisdom and a love of life.

Maybe we will make the difference and achieve what has eluded elder females for way too long:  R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Carole Simpson.

Posted by
Filed under: Age • Gender • What we think • Women
soundoff (391 Responses)
  1. Hap

    This blog articles offers just about nothing worthwhile; it just goes over very well known territory in a cliched way.

    I think the answer to the question of being happy when one becomes an old woman is simply this: If you haven't yet learned to be yourself and to pursue what you were designed to do and be, you'd better start now. If you are so indoctrinated to obey cultural and commercial propaganda edicts that you feel you cannot do so, then you had better "empty your cup" cognitively and start over, now, this moment.

    January 28, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jayla

    I would have enjoyed this article a lot more if you'd said something inspiring about how you reached out to your sister and helped her make decisions that would've helped her have a better quality lifestyle. As a journalist who researches things, did you help her contact Senior Citizens service agencies who could've helped her out with groceries, utilities, and social activities to help keep her mind alert and active? Did you occasionally send her $20 so she COULD go to a movie and enjoy a small box of popcorn? Did you send her boxes of your cast-off designer clothes so she could enjoy wearing something nice once in a while? Nope, sounds like mainly concentrated on yourself. Nice job, "sister".

    February 8, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shirley

      I knew there was some reason I never liked Carol Simpson as a newscaster. She's all about Carole Simpson. Shallow, self-centered, and not one twit of understanding for the "old" women who make up the other 99 percent. Since I've had cats since I was in grammar school, lots of them, since when does that make you an old woman?

      February 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. GR8LegsNJ

    I just read this article with interest. I am a plus sized 58 year young woman. I am fortunate in that genetics and lifestyle are on my side. I never smoked or spent gads of time out in the sun, hence my face is wrinkle free. I am often told I don't look anywhere near my age. I suppose my ego is fed buy the 20, 30 somethings who want to date me. I prefer a gentleman who is age contemporary. I dress in younger styles because I can. I enjoy the male attention I get, it is also an ego feeder. I lost my husband 15 years ago because of a drunk driver. God gave me two assets, my gams, legs for those younger folks. I do show them off and my current beau truly appreciates how I dress. I still wear high heels to work each day, or high heeled boots in winter. At 58 I am enjoying life to the fullest, and can't understand those who don't. I work out at the gym, I bike ride, I walk, I have many interests and now have the time to enjoy them. I am am empty nester and love it. Would I like to be married again? Yes I would. I miss having a husband to care for, but maybe one day it will happen. Meanwhile I live a very full life balanced between work and play. I drive a very sporty bright red car, I listen to my music loud, my neighbors complain,I am a teenager in a mature body; but I have the experience to not do stupid things. As I tell others, I may be getting older, but I will never grow up.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • buggabreathes

      You are almost sixty and yet you say men in their twenties and thirties are attracted to you? I'd say that a little bit of dimensia is kicking in. You're a nasty, nasty old lady. There's no way around it. Just accept it. Stop dressing like you're young. I'm sure people make fun of you behind your back.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  4. Marcela Medeiros

    I don´t know if anyone has already written this, but I think it is important for elders to respect the fact that younger ones are in a hurry because they still have LOTS to do.

    February 8, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  5. Diana

    I AM turning 70 in May this year and after reading some of what some people had to say disrespectfully about old ladies, It is time ALL PEOPLE respect the elders, We have more to give than most of the younger one have time for, MOMS get old and when we ask for help we expect our children to come forth with what ever, a visit to the doctors office, a meal fixed by mom, a drive on a sunny day, A conversation with an elder, listen to us we have a lot of information to share, But with the way the world is today NONE OF THE YOUNGER PEOPLE WANT TO LISTEN, I AM my youngest son's caregiver he is 41yo in a wheelchair, not able to do much for himself except feed himself, we do the rest my oldest son lives with me as well he picks his brother up out of bed puts him in his chair, bathtub,car,ect. I change his cloths, his dipper, wash him up fix his meals take care all his needs, i am his servant and do this every day out of love and respect for both of my son's. WE ARE BLESSED, FOR THIS TIME WE SHARE TOGETHER, Still think old ladies are not worth your respect???

    February 7, 2012 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
  6. Gram of 6

    WOW! How have you gals misspent your lives? If you tried to use your looks to get by, You are in trouble. If you sought out people and occupations you liked, and continue to do just that, life will be good, no matter how old you are. Just poor health should slow you down.

    February 1, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Debbie Jordan

    I can top this: How about being old and female–and finally almost entirely housebound from a lifetime progressive illness that everyone made me deny and hide from them for most of my life?!

    The antidote: Screw the bigots, which is most people in the world! Don't think about what I no longer have–or never hadin the first place–because of my medical condition! I focus on what I do have, which is a brilliant mind and a superb writing skill that most people envy!

    When I meet someone the rare times I can go out or meet someone via some electronic connection, I don't mention my illness unless it's necessary. Instead, I discuss everything from politics and religion to cats and baseball, and usually astound them with my knowledge, understanding, and enjoyment of the mental aspect of my existence. Sooner or later, they always ask me to do something for them, and that's when I have to tell them I have to focus my limited energy on writing about creative ideas for ending poverty and war and building a world where everyone enjoys prosperity and peace, even people with disabilities–who only want to be allowed the tools they need to be useful, productive, contributing citizens of the world!

    January 31, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  8. teaclock

    57, married a long time...he left and I got happy. I miss being married but I dont dwell on it. I wouldnt get married again for anything, no need to at my age. I would love to have someone to go to the movies with, share a meal at a nice restaurant, etc but my life wont be dismal if this doesnt happen. Iam not looking for a man, if it happened I would welcome it but I have no intention of wishing my years away waiting for a man that may or may not exist.

    January 30, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Docsan56

      Kudos to you. I am 62 and have the same story. Viagra made a fool of him and my life is good. Thank God for good friends and family.

      February 8, 2012 at 7:08 am | Report abuse |
  9. HerbH

    Ego abounds. This is ALL about her.

    Cr ap

    January 30, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      What the heck. I thought this was supposed to be about Betty White ... NOT

      January 31, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. jps

    Also, remember - no one can make you feel bad about yourself without your permission. Not even "society." Screw society, and have a margarita.

    January 30, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jps

    If your life is all about yourself, your looks, what people think of you and how people treat you, then you are setting yourself up for unhappiness. Try finding purpose and meaning in life, and reaching out to others to meet their needs instead of your own - and instead of obsessing about yourself and how to make yourself happy. Also, just because someone has cats, likes to read and doesn't have a man in her life, don't assume that person is miserable. She may be having the time of her life, doing things she didn't have time for when she was younger and busier.

    January 30, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. I Love Young Chicks

    Yo, old ladies. Sorry about the looks. You should have married the suger daddy when you had the chance. hahaha

    January 30, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • asterik

      Because obviously women can only make money off of their looks or a rich husband. Women never pursue careers in areas that aren't appearance dependent. /sarcasm

      January 30, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. John

    This is the first time I found the comments more interesting, enlightening, amusing, and educational than the actual article they followed. Bravo, people, bravo!

    January 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Epidi

    I'm 52 and want to be just like my Mom when I grow up. She's 86, full of life, inner strength, & a sense of humor, and still a man magnet.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. victor

    As a man, who has known many women and has daughters and sons and has seen the dfiference first hand, it is fascinating to me that so many girls, young women and women constantly define themselve by their looks, clothes, make-up etc...heck, these are multi-billion dollar industries and it's not the men buying them – and they are happy as can be defining themselves this way when they are young and attractive. However, when they starting getting older they complain that life is so unfair. Did they not realize that you live by the sword and you die by the sword. If a human being (man or woman) wants respect they need to be something worth respecting and if all a woman has is fading looks, there is nothing there to respect. So I would just ask that women not look at this as something unfair, but a problem of their own making. Take responsibility for who you are and be a complete person. People may or not notice you, but, it won't matter because you will have so many other things going on. Be good!

    January 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Moi

    Total change of thread –

    I'm 58 years old, fat and creaky. Guess what? I'VE GOT YOUNGER, HANDSOME, SLIM AND FIT MEN LINING UP TO BE WITH ME!! There are MANY men out there who not only love and desire older women but bigger women, too.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fat Jeff

      Keep dreaming honey. Look at Demi Moore was only good for a couple of romps before reality sat in and got dumped like the rest of 'em.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
      • jps

        Yeah, right... and all the Hollywood marriages between people of the same age last SOOO much longer. Why would anyone look to Demi and Ashton for anything besides entertainment? They are so far removed from the rest of us, it's ridiculous.

        January 30, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Kathy

    Another situation that I think adds to the rapid "aging" of both men and women are "over 55 communities". At first blush I'm sure they seem attractive to retirees, but what i have seen happen in more than one instance is that people tend to wall themselves off from any other age group after they move in. Living with old people, IMHO, makes you feel even older and tends to foster a sense of isolation.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Epidi

      If more people lived in multi generational households like in the 18 & early 1900's, there would not be a need for these 55+ communities. The grandparent/s take care of the kids while the younger ones earn a living and the kids learn alot from them. Kinda sad that families don't stay together like that anymore.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • asterik

        I've lived in a household like that, it's torturous. The old people are senile and out of touch with reality, but still think they should have a right to tell you, a grown person, how to live your life. I much prefer living on my own, under my own roof, without some nosy old lady telling me what I should be doing with my free time.

        January 30, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  18. jps

    I'm pushing 50 but so far I've found that people take me more seriously than they did when I was young, skinny and cute. I think a lot of it is your frame of mind. Also, if you're getting your validation from what other people think and how they treat you, you're setting yourself up for unhappiness.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      Thankyou for being mature and rational.

      January 30, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Red

    At 49, I find that the best thing to wear is a Smile... People ALWAYS respond in kind!

    January 30, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julie

      True...my best asset is my smile – lets hope I don't lose my two front teeth!

      January 31, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Rich Mc

    I've always had a major crush on you, Ms. Simpson; and always will. And this piece didn't help. Keep being beautiful. Now where do I register for your class?

    January 30, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  21. lotsahelp

    I too find this article depressing and I know the author didn't mean it to be. She tells us that in order to be "accepted" plastic surgery, staying updated on the newest stupid fads(and really fads were boring to me when I was 20), and not complaining. Well- complaining is never attractive no matter what your age- I have a few twentysomethings working for me that I have to keep reminding. And I won't have the money for plastic surgery. It is true that as you get older(and are a normal woman) the looks get fewer but hopefully most of us are smart enough to have not defined ourselves by the views of others. I agree that people seem to look through you once you get into 45 and beyond- but so what? in my opinion those who are grumpy and ornery when they are old were probably a bit like that when they were young. And in America the young have always looked askance at the old. It is just hard for those baby boomers to realize they are old now.

    January 30, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • madamelaverite

      Well, you have to realize she' worked in an extremely look-centered profession of Broadcasting. Next, her story actually gave me hope. Putting the plastic surgery issue aside, if you take care of yourself, keep active, engage the world and look after your health instead of withdrawing from life just because you're x number of years old – you will age more successfully. She didn't say anything about following every little fad, etc. She did mention making an effort. When I'm 50 and beyond I will still be a "girl" and I imagine I will still enjoy fashion, makeup, jewelry and stuff I do now. Once I'm 40 I'm not going to start thinking about how I'm so old and my best years are behind me, blah blah blah. That's the best way to ensure that my best years will be behind me. It's not over until they nail the coffin shut.

      February 1, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Chef Sun

    It's not just old ladies who have numerous cats. Even the younger gals seem to hoard felines, at least that is true here in New York. Most men I know don't like cats and many are allergic to them as I am. Women seem to keep cats as a subtle but effective way to keep men away. Of course they then complain about it.

    January 30, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • asterik

      There are plenty of men who love cats. My father loved cats. My brothers bought special, expensive, hypoallergenic cats just to be able to have them as pets. My husband loves animals of all kinds, cats included. In the past, if a guy I was interested in disliked cats I would drop him immediately. People who like cats seem to, in general,, be more sensitive and have better relationships with women.

      January 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • madamelaverite

      I have one cat and that is more than enough.

      February 1, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  23. maxine

    being an old woman beats the alternative, a dead one. Bring it!!!

    January 30, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fat Jeff

      Great line sweetie.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • jps

      I hope I can borrow this without being sued! Priceless.

      January 30, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Julie

    I found what you wrote very very sad. I can't believe you described and used your sister as such an example. You mean the value of a woman is in how well she keeps herself up? After reading this I felt sad about society and sad for you for the pressure you must be under.

    January 30, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      Agreed Julie! I think she must not have liked her sister to well to cast her in that light, espeically after she is gone.

      January 30, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • NC

      She speaks the truth for a lot of women, in general.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Julie

    This article is depressing the heck out of me and I am only 38 years old! I guess the lesson is to enjoy each day regardless. My kids are young. They want me now so I should enjoy that, even when I want my own time because in a decade, it will be me who want them. My husband wants me now and I don't have time. But again, in a decade, his eyes will wander so I guess I should enjoy that also. I need to stop reading articles on how to live longer and start reading articles on how to live happier.

    January 30, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • DN

      I turn 38 in a couple of weeks and am in a similar situation with young kids and husband. What you said is almost exactly what I was thinking after reading this article! : )

      January 30, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      Living in the moment and enjoying it is where it's at! I am nearly 50 and have been widowed for more than 15 yrs. I was busy finishing to raise my 4 young children when my husband died. Now they are all grown and staritng families of their own and I am finding myself alone without the "market" value I had in my 20's and 30's. Enjoy IT (yourself) while you have it. Each day as if it were your last 🙂

      January 30, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julie

      Thanks for the confirmation ladies!

      January 31, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  26. DC

    Feminists like Carole Simpson believe that the only way for women to 'gain' is for men to 'lose'. It's certainly implied by the subtle jibes and dismissive tone in the article above. I'm all for equal opportunity, but when you approach life, work, and relationships as little more than a 'power grab' you'll eventually find yourself alone and invisible anyways.

    January 30, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Margaret

    As an old woman, I find it fascinating that many of my friends still define themselves by what others think of them. I say "Who cares if younger people find me invisible, tacky, etc." To be honest, as a group, I don't think much of them, either. I've always tried to look at each person as an individual, regardless of their age, gender, race, etc. If someone doesn't judge me by that same individualized set of criteria, they aren't worth much of my time.

    I have found old age to be a wonderful time, full of discovery, peace of mind, and a new found joy in facing each day. I truly don't understand the problem.

    January 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • mp

      Exactly! At my age, I have no time to worry about what other people think. I'd rather spend my remaining time pleasing my self than pleasing others. It is liberating to live for yourself and great freedom in not anchoring your self esteem in other people's opinion. They don't even know your name.

      If you like to look like you've been dipped in makeup, Fine. Do as you please. If you like to look like you just walked out of a plastic surgeon's office. Great. If you want to look chic and fashionable. Fantastic. If you like color coordinated warm up suite, Excellent. People were not watching you 50 years ago. They certainly are not now. Who gives a rat's rear.

      January 30, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • emma

      The problem[s], as she mentioned, is poverty, fear of violence and being ignored and not taken seriously. These women are not imagining it: the world treats older women pretty badly. I am not even 50 and already feel a great difference in how I am treated when in stores or restaurants, many younger people are hostile or dismissive. The problem is bullies and criminals prey on those they perceive to be weaker [and always have] and older women are percived as weak and yet try to tell anyone, even the police, that and you are smirked at. Really there needs to be a network of older women for support: cats just don't cut it.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • NC

        Well said Emma.

        January 30, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • imagonner

        I always luv the look on their face when they notice my 38 between their eyes. Come on ladies grow a pair, walk tall and carry a gun, just in case !

        January 30, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • J

        emma..I agree...it's worse where I live, Southern California...

        January 30, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Hypatia

    It's hell being invisible.

    January 30, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  29. John1Galt

    Do you think that the women in Congress, the Supreme Court, or the Cabinet are "invisible?" How about the some of the Governors or members of state legislatures and CEOs? I'd say they all get some serious respect and none of them are under 40. How about the septegenarians and octogenarians who participate in masters division sports – including swimming and weightlifting? We are what we make ourselves and what we let ourselves become.

    January 30, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hypatia

      Be quiet. This isn't about men.

      January 30, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • John1Galt

        I'm REFERRING to women. There are many women in each of the occupations and activities I described. In last year's Masters Weightlifting in Savannah, ten women over 60 competed. Four of them were in the 70-74 years old age group. Three of those women weighed less than 140 lbs – and they look great.

        January 30, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  30. ab

    I sometimes wonder what I'll be like when I'm old. My mom is in her 60's and she doesn't have many wrinkles, hopefully I'll take after her that way. She doesn't use any wrinkle creams or had any work done. I'm in my late thirties and my son already thinks I'm old but what does he know? He's just a young whippersnapper! lol! I'd like to think I'll be a cute, little old lady.

    January 30, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  31. Sharline Nabulime

    Carole Simpson is what legends are made of and I'm so blessed to glean from such wisdom in her classes at Emerson. But that's not why I'm commenting here. I'm so glad she wrote this because as a society we are forgetting the value and wisdom of the elderly. We need to go back to basics and respect the elderly; not just those in our lives but those we meet along the way. In my Ugandan culture, we kneel down to greet our elders and what a sight to behold when my daughter kneels down to greet my mother. She's doesn't have to do it and doesn't all the time, but when she does, she's telling her grandmother, "I love and respect you even though I'm American and this 'kneeling' thing feels rather odd."

    January 30, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  32. SoTrue2710

    I don't understand why there are so many critical, nasty, insulting and self-serving comments. Talk about not aging gracefully! The women who are putting down their own gender should have learned acceptance and live and let live many, many years ago. The men who are putting us down sound as bitter and lonely as they're accusing women of being. People who make comments like some of you have are the reason old people are thought of as grouchy, petty, self-absorbed, etc. Chill out! Put a smile on your face! And most of all, resist the urge to be bitter.

    January 30, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      So you respond by shaming everyone else into how they should live and behave.

      January 30, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Honesty

    The ultimate truth about being older is it means you're just that much closer to kicking the bucket. And if you're a female, your chesticles may be dragging on the floor.

    January 30, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • J

      All I can say to you, is KARMA for making that remark! NO one knows the day, or hour they will pass, even young people die early, so watch what you say. ; )

      January 30, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Vander

    There are only two things in life that are certain, death and taxes!

    January 30, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      not the taxes. Especially if you're Romney.

      January 30, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • KC_CA

        Ah... yes... Paying 35% of your salary in taxes and 15% of any income from investments is indeed "not paying any taxes."
        If the news media told you the sky was green would you believe it or would you go look for yourself? This is the same thing – go look for yourself and stop believing the sound bites and general trash spread on the internet. Oh – and while you are at it, why don't you compare the tax returns of everyone in DC. You'll find they are all pretty much the same, regardless of party, regardless of public stance. DC is a "do as I say, not as I do" type of place.

        January 30, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Steve

    As a comparison, it would've been interesting if the students had also been asked what they thought of old MEN. Do they see them as wise and dignified, or do they see them the same way they see old women?

    January 30, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Candace

      Very good question. Is it aging people or aging women? I would be very interested in the perceived difference.

      January 30, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Yes, I'd like to see another poorly written article about aging (this time about men), so I can read all the comments. As I said in an earlier post, this is the first time I thought the comments were better than the article they followed. Most of the comments anyway; even here, there are the occasional mean-spirited buffoons who need a forum to spew their ignorance and hate.

      January 30, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Evelyn

    I live in Arizona where no one thinks you're old until you die. All of the men here love women, all women, young or old, so we don't feel invisible, and have to have all of the plastic surgery that the rest of the aging population in the US thinks they need. Really, who are we going to impress centenarians. Anyway, it's so obvious when someone here has had some work done, they just looks like a 60 year old with a face lift, we all know that we can't look 20 forever.

    January 30, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  37. mp

    "The other women are exceptional at their jobs."

    I am a woman "past my prime" so to speak as well. But never in a million years I want others to respect me because I look younger or act like a college kid. The only respect I want is the kind I earned. If you are exceptional at your job (jounalist, teacher, nurse, engineer, lawyer,...), you will get respect. Just because you spent more days on this earth breathing and eating will not. That is true for males and females just the same. If you did not spend your youth honing your skills to remain exceptional, you can't blame others for looking right through you. A good outfit, nice hair and makeup can only fool people so long. It is what's inside that can make a real difference. Work on that while you are still young.

    January 30, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Valerie

      AMEN! Finally! A woman here with more that 2 brain cells!

      You are SO right! Most of the older women here posting OBVIOUSLY spent their youth using their "looks" or whatever they thought they had because here they all are, over 60 trying to look 30 and thinking they are "fooling" anyone. Ridiculous! Not a one is talking about ANYTHING of any real substance, having lived over 60 years, you'd think SOME of them would!

      January 30, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  38. PJ

    I can't believe she said that people like Betty White because she is warm and the other women are good at their jobs. Betty White is also good at her job. She is a comedic actress. That is a job. Just watch her in SNL. She was funny as hell. She stole the show.

    January 30, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • LW

      How true! Betty is a talented woman, who wouldn't have gotten this far without that talent, especially in show business. Part of her appeal is that she is lacking in trashy, exploitive experiences (e.g., Lohan-type). She is classy, kind, and philanthropic.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • ab

      Yes, absolutely!

      January 30, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  39. TRACK

    Sorry to say I stay away from them also and I am a female! So many are boring...My grandmother was before her time, she worked until 80, kept up with city life NYC, then her stroke but what a woman. Her n my aunt I want to be like them when I grow up, I'm 63, hahaha...

    January 30, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  40. Charlotte

    Some people, myself counted are blessed with aging gracefully with fewer wrinkes and maintaining muscle tone longer. It's purely genetics but the rest self maintenance. Just lke you change oil in the car, get your hair done, a pedicure and use minimal make up....stay away from bright red lipstick. Dress like you care about the person you are and others will too. My mother is 84 and looks 70, I'm 64 and look 50. Come on girls...We are like fine brandy....better the older it gets.

    January 30, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Valerie

      64 years old and you are bragging that you THINK you look 50. 50 is old too.

      I hope and pray I have more important things to offer society when I am 64, that's for sure! I don't mean to sound like a cruel jerk, but seriously, do you think ANYONE is noticing your "looks"? Life isn't all about looking HOT you know! It isn't. All these posts, and most of them are from old ladies trying to be 30 years old.....some woman actually posted that she "looks better and younger than women who are 30+ years YOUNGER than SHE IS!" Talk about DELUSIONAL!!! I can't get over the SHALLOWNESS of these older women's comments, I really can't. Looking "hot" and being noticed and all that crap is a situation for YOUNG women. It's a biological thing to be s3xually attracted to young, fertile women so that the species is propagated. Get over it. There is a time in one's life for everything and not all at the same time..........

      January 30, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
      • John

        50 is old? Where? What country do you live in?

        January 30, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
      • SoTrue2710

        Valerie, you say you don't mean to be mean...the heck you don't. If you feel that the world is going to fall off it's axis if you don't volunteer your opinion, you might want to consider using tact. Seriously, I'd rather be an old "has been" than a bit** any day of the week!

        January 30, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
      • Liutgard

        John, the way she reads, Valerie is 25, spends her time clubbing, and has no clue that women have any worth beyond their reproductive potential. When she is 64, she'll be over because she sees no value beyond her vacuous head. Women who do something with their lives remain vibrant as they age. I know a woman who is an English professor, one of the most brilliant women I have ever known, and one of the most beautiful. And for celebrities who are aging well, there's always Helen Mirren. I'm pretty sure that she has a portrait stashed in a closet somewhere!

        In interest of full disclosure, I'm 47, a grandmother, don't look my age, and my spouse claims that he fell in love with me for my library- both hardware and wetware. And Valerie can bite me.

        January 30, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
      • Valerie


        How quant. "clubbing"......You got my age WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY wrong, and you know what? I haven't been "clubbing" in my entire life. I stand by all I wrote and YES these comments from these older women ARE shallow and I am 41 years old! And no, I am not interested in "biting you"

        January 30, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • Chris

        Interesting...why do you equate someone's attempt to 'look presentable when they leave their house' with 'trying to look hot'? I would think that,at any age,male or female,that one would try to paint themself in the best possible light (and if someone happens to find it 'hot',hey that's great!),but at the end of the day,you're just trying to look the best that you can. I'm in my 40s and people routinely assume I am in my 30's,but it isn't something I strive to look like-it just is what it is.

        January 30, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • cacdb83

        Valerie, You're the kind of young woman that all of us "older" women find totally disrespectful and oblivious to the fact that you too, will one day be an older woman. I agree that some older women try too hard to look 30 but older women can still look nice on a day-to-day basis without looking tacky. There's something to be said for an older woman who acts and dresses in a very tasteful, classy manner. A lot of older women have lived very fullfulling lives and are proud of their accomplishments. And they don't always do it with bleach blond hair, cantelopes implanted into their chests and tattoos.

        January 30, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Lynda

    Carole, you look great, I remember you from reporting the nightly news in New York. CCraig.....I don't even have to see you to know that by the time you're 30...if not before...because of genetics, you will have either a seriously receeding hairline or one big ass bald spot on the top of your head....thanks to daddy. Your "pair" would have shifted to one side and your teeth will have food particles in it (you won't realize it). You'll be sitting on your ratty tatty sofa with the remote where your "rod" used to be...thinking. "boy was I stupid when I was young".

    January 30, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  42. gwoman

    should be "pitiful"

    January 29, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Grandpa RD

    Standing Ovation for you, Ms. Simpson! Pardon me, but I'm calling my 88 year old Mom. THANKS!

    January 29, 2012 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  44. Jim Olson

    Carole Simpson, your every bit as exceptional as those other exceptional women you cite. Bravo!

    January 28, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  45. G. Vernon Boggs

    Truth will always prevail. Tell it like it is, inspire those lovely elderly ladies that they are wanted and needed by the elderly, not so lovely, gentlemen. We are only as beautiful as we want to be.

    January 28, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  46. choby

    Betty White love her golden girlfriends so much she didn't even attend their funerals. She is a bioch. Just out for herself and money. She is a fake

    January 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marion

      Asinine post, Choby. She didn't attend their funerals because it was too emotional for her. What a colossal jerk you are.

      January 29, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  47. craig

    women are where they belong!
    they are their own problems
    stop blaming men for your problems and failures
    i have never seen a more pathetic bunch than a group of women trashing men for all their failures
    get a grip and grow a pair!
    you are your own worst problem!

    January 28, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ohsotired

      @craig – I read through this piece twice and didn't see anyone blaming men for anything. It is an opinion piece encouraging women to continue to live an active, independent, inclusive life for as long as they are able. By the way – we don't want to "grow a pair" – why would we, they are soft and very easily injured. Oh and just for clarity sake, just where is it we belong?

      January 28, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • Hannah

        " read through this piece twice and didn't see anyone blaming men for anything." Oh, yeah?

        "This all sounds pretty good considering women in television were once warned – by men of course – that our careers would be over at 40." That sounds sorta like a pointed finger...

        January 29, 2012 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
      • MarkinFL

        Hannah, reading comprehension issues? The article squarely puts the onus on the women to make themselves relevant. The one point made about men's att.itudes was simply showing that times are a changing and that a talented, active older woman CAN still have a career.

        Craig is simply a fool that clearly has lady issues. What's wrong? World leave you behind? Can't handle independent women? Great, leaves more for the intelligent men.

        January 30, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • cerena

      you don't get laid much do you

      January 29, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • gwoman

      what a patiful piece of humanity you are. It would probably be better if you just left the planet.

      January 29, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      What an ass you are.

      January 30, 2012 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Gaby

      Craig, you are absolutely correct. We are our own worst enemy. We constantly worry about how men see us. Who cares what they think? Live your life and do what makes you happy. You are in control of your life. If the only thing you value in life are your looks, then of course, when you get older there is nothing left to live for. Stupid women.

      January 30, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
      • SoTrue2710

        Gaby, by "we" I hope you're talking about the mouse in your pocket because you can only speak for yourself. I live in a senior community and out of the dozens of women I've become acquainted with, only two are looking for another relationship. The women you spoke of that were/are concerned with their looks are to be pitied, not lambasted. You obviously don't realize it but you're superficial on a whole new level....I pity you.

        January 30, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • SoTrue2710

      The tone of your post leads me to believe that women have put you in your place a LOT. Hoeny catches more bees than vinegar...try it and you won't be so darned lonely.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
      • Gaby

        Thanks for your reply. I didn't realize my post sounded so aggressive. I apologize. Why are only two woman looking for another relationship? That is really scary.

        January 30, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
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