Being Older In The Blogosphere
If you read more than one blog, I’m sure you’ll be able to tell that bloggers are never under more pressure than right now. Every blog has its own individual take on things, which is why readers have their favourites – something about a certain blog will just resonate with you. It’s what all bloggers hope for – that their words will make a connection between you and them and in some way you establish a relationship that keeps us respectful and mindful that we’re lucky to have you, and you actively want to read what we have to say. It’s a completely symbiotic relationship.
On BBB, I truly believe that beauty is for everyone; age, tone, race, religion – you name it, a lipstick is a leveller. A very simple pleasure that most women can connect on some level with. I have my other site, TheBeauty+, that was designed specifically for older women who feel that many blogs are youth oriented, but I’m really in a quandary about what to do with it now. I’ve brought it over to BBB rather than keep it a separate site – numbers wise, it was doing far better than I expected it to – but it sat at odds with my belief that all phases of beauty deserve the same respect and treatment. So, it didn’t make sense suddenly to push older women elsewhere when I believe the same thing on both sites. I still don’t know what I’m going to do with it.
If you’re older in the beauty industry, everything is different. The beauty industry is built on the fact that beauty = youth. There is a huge trend for brands to target the older demographic (because, to put it bluntly, that’s where the money is), but it’s clear that using older women – and real older women – in campaigns still doesn’t sit that comfortably with them.
When I first started blogging, I didn’t consider my age at all…it just didn’t seem relevant somehow. As time goes on though, I am more and more aware that I’m being defined by the industry by my age. Ironically, at a time when being older should be an advantage, commercially. I’ve turned down plenty of work that’s been age specific, not because I don’t want to work, but because I don’t really want to collude with the hard line youth=beauty message (so how a brand words their promotional material is very important to me, for example). I think every phase of beauty is different and should be treated with equal respect. Some anti-ageing products really are stellar and do iron out creases and wrinkles, firm and brighten and so on and on that level, there is nothing wrong at all with product that help you feel you look your best. I’m the first for a bit of Botox, after all. More glowy skin? Yes, I’m all over that one! Smooth and poreless complexion? Yes, please! Those are the things that all women would like, not just older women.
But when it feels like the whole industry is pointed towards young women rather than older women, it’s almost impossible not to be defined by others because of your age. Most PRs are young, so of course they’re going to have more in common with younger bloggers, and far less with someone my age – it must be a bit like taking their (least favourite!) auntie out to tea for them. There are, of course, PRs my age, and I have a much easier connection with them.
When I was writing more for print, and pre-blog, I didn’t even think twice about assuming that women would prefer to look far younger (and thinner, for that matter, now I think about it) than they actually are; I didn’t really question the message or how constantly mentally debilitating it can be to have everyone assume that your life would be so much better if only you looked younger. I don’t see myself as older, I just see myself as me, but as time has gone on, I’m starting to realise that other people have put me in a category and I have no choice in the matter. With older beauty journalists, and there are plenty, their path is slightly more defined, in that they have a title or position that might reflect their age and or status.. the word blogger doesn’t mean anything at all, age wise.
I do not have a single personal issue being the age I am – I love my life on the whole, absolutely love it. I feel lucky every day, and that’s no exaggeration, despite feeling that most days I’m trying to push water uphill with an industry that wants someone like me to promote continuous anti-ageing messages. I’ve never felt for a moment that readers of all ages see age as a negative; quite the opposite, actually, and I take seriously my responsibility to be respectful to all age groups.
I often see Twitter comments where women say they wish there were more blogs for older women; I saw one blogger being asked if she thought she was too old to blog – at 31! I guess what I’m saying is that beauty and age aren’t mutually exclusive and it’s going to take the older bloggers to really push that message home.
Do you feel a blogger’s age is relevant? I’m interested to know what you think on this one.
*all products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated. Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.