Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Hear Me Whisper

I turn 60 this year and whatever respect and recognition I would hope I have earned and in some ways deserve (and this we deserve whatever the age if we are living by the adage of the Golden Rule) has long passed.   I am very invisible and am at times Casper, the friendly Ghost who means no harm but just wants to be friends.  The pain of this reality has led me to question all my values, my failures and my past in ways that Dickens could only accomplish with a Ghost of a different kind.

When I read this article I busted out laughing. The women mentioned are all highly paid or accomplished white collar elites who have come of age in a time when the concept of Feminism was new and shiny and in ways enabled them to elbow, shove, sleep or marry into families that enabled and provided them with success.  Coupled with a brief moment of legislative action in the last decade which only within the last decade addressed the wage gap issue, the Lilly Ledbetter Act, be circumvented by the current occupant of the White House.  The hell we pay, literally.   There is no federally mandated family leave that covers women or men upon birth of a child or for caring for a family member, which largely falls to women. And yes the FMLA exists but few states follow the guidelines.    I wrote how the paragon of women, Planned Parenthood, fails to protect their own staff with regards to maternity leave and this is not unusual in the least.

And this is about fertile prime age working women but us old bitches, well we get to wear purple. The condescension and discrimination for women over 50 in the generic public is alive and well and you see it everywhere.   Women are not rising to the top like cream they are being whipped into a nice topping dusted with more chocolate to hide the flavor.   And ironic it has been 50 years since job ads went unisex.  How is that working out?

Women are still paid less than men. They have more struggles financially than men and in turn this follows them into retirement.
The retirement crisis affects women disproportionately

While a retirement shortfall isn’t news, few people recognize it does not affect everyone equally. Women are 80 percent more likely than men to be impoverished early in retirement, reported the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS). The likelihood of financial distress increases with age:

“For women age 65 and older, the data indicates that their typical income is 25 percent lower than men. As men and women age, men’s income advantage widens to 44 percent by age 80 and older. Consequently, women were 80 percent more likely than men to be impoverished at age 65 and older, while women age 75 to 79 were three times more likely to fall below the poverty level as compared to their male counterparts.”

One of the reasons older women’s incomes are lower than men’s during retirement is because women’s incomes were lower during their working years. According to WEF, women’s lower salaries, along with work interruptions, negatively affect their retirement savings:

“Lower salaries have a direct impact as individual contributions [to workplace retirement plans] are often by default a percentage of salaries, but lower salaries and lower contributions are compounded by women receiving lower employer-matching contributions than their male colleagues. On average, women also have longer life expectancies and will have to spread their savings across more years in retirement.”

In addition, women tend to have higher rates of part-time employment and shorter job tenure. As a result, it may be more difficult to meet a retirement plan’s eligibility requirements as reported by the NIRS.

 So white men you need a big dose of shut the fuck up with your endless whining.  Who brought you into the world?  Women.  Maybe that is why they hate us.

 This last week during my dental extraction the young male Dentist who did my intake informed me that they could not extract my teeth without the denture. Well not true I did not need it following surgery and I had an appointment with my Dentist Monday so she could have fitted it then as the swelling would have gone down on its own and upon the 24 hours mandated I removed it and took it out to avoid sore spots and agitating already healing wounds.  But aside from his rant during the problem with that I could easily resolve by crossing the street getting it and returning and this would take all of 15 minutes went into the patronizing condescension during the extraction as the intern had problems with some teeth and had to ask for his help and in that process his tone and manner turned me into a child where he had to "reassure" me that he liked me.  Really? He does not know me, I have never seen him before in my life will likely never see him again said, "I am here to help you and really like you so let's get this done." Hey fuckwit how about this: "I am here to assist and we are here together as a team so let me work with you to make this as painless and as easy as possible."  This crosses age, gender and all other types that during a difficult time is positive reinforcement.  This is not coming from my years in education but from years of living and being raised by a family that said you must always put forward a positive personal face regardless of how you feel, that can come later in the safety and security of one's own private place.  As a Woman who thought being direct and honest was the best and most useful way to let people know what I needed and in turn would help us be productive together to be successful I now realize that is utterly wrong.  People want bullshit and lies and that is very true here in the South.

This marks the end of the year of #MeToo and we have seen what exactly? Well nothing. The women's march organizers are divided over issues of anti-Semitism and other racial divisiveness and frankly folks we are never going to ever resolve that ever forever.  My pain is better than your pain, no it just has a different dimension and perspective.

We are so loud, we are so overwhelming that no one is listening.  All of this talking and discussion had done what? Get back to me.   I am still alive, still kicking and screaming. Is anyone out there?  I am the old bitch in the corner wearing purple. 

I Am (an Older) Woman. Hear Me Roar.

By Jessica Bennett
The New York Times
Jan. 8, 2019

When Susan Zirinsky takes over CBS News in March, she will be the first woman to hold the job. She will also be the oldest person to assume the role, at 66.

Her appointment was announced just days after Nancy Pelosi, 78, was re-elected Speaker of the House of Representatives — making her the most powerful elected woman in United States history — and Representative Maxine Waters became the first woman and African-American to lead the Financial Services Committee, at age 80.

News of Ms. Zirinsky’s ascension broke on the same evening that 71-year-old Glenn Close bested four younger women to win the Golden Globe for best actress.

It seems that older women, long invisible or shunted aside, are experiencing an unfamiliar sensation: power.

There are more women over 50 in this country today than at any other point in history, according to data from the United States Census Bureau. Those women are healthier, are working longer and have more income than previous generations.

That is creating modest but real progress in their visibility and stature.

“Age — don’t worry about it. It’s a state of mind,” Ms. Zirinsky said on Tuesday when asked about the effect of her age on her new job. “I have so much energy that my staff did an intervention when I tried a Red Bull.

Men, of course, have led major organizations well into their seventh and even eighth decades, retaining their power and prominence. But the #MeToo movement has toppled some high-profile males, from 77-year-old Charlie Rose to Les Moonves, 69, who was ousted as head of CBS after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, creating unexpected openings for the elevation of women.

And Susan Douglas, a professor of communication studies at the University of Michigan who is writing a book on the power of older women, said “a demographic revolution” was occurring — both in the number of women who are working into their 60s and 70s and in the perception, in the wake of #MeToo, of their expertise and value.

“Older women are now saying ‘No, I’m still vibrant, I still have a lot to offer, and I’m not going to be consigned to invisibility,’ ” she said. “These women are reinventing what it means to be an older woman.”

In 2016, the average life span of women in the United States was 81.1, compared with men’s 76.1. Nearly a third of women aged 65 to 69 are now working, up from 15 percent in the late 1980s, according to recent analyses by the Harvard economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz. Some 18 percent of women aged 70 to 74 work, up from 8 percent.

Interestingly, working longer is more common among women with higher education and savings — while those who are not working are more likely to have poor health and low savings and to be dependent on Social Security.

“I can assure you I did not like — in fact I flinched — when The Times wrote about my new company, and there it was in black and white, ‘Christiane Amanpour, 60,’” said Ms. Amanpour, who replaced Mr. Rose on PBS last year and turns 61 this week. “But then I thought, no, this is cool! I’m 60 and a whole other chapter of my life is opening.’”

Despite the excitement, it is still rare to find women in their 60s leading major institutions or taking center stage in other industries.

In cinema, for example, a 2017 study from the University of Southern California found that just 2.6 percent of the speaking roles in 25 films nominated for best picture were women older than 60 — and those women were far less likely to be depicted in powerful jobs.

“I think this notion of who can lead and who can’t is being completely upended,” said Katie Couric, the longtime news anchor, who celebrated her 62nd birthday this week. “So to see someone like Glenn Close give the most moving speech of the night, and her experience and wisdom respected, or when you see Susan Zirinsky be elevated, I say, ‘Bring it on. Let’s have more of this.’”

“Z should have gotten this job 10 years ago,” Ms. Couric added, using Ms. Zirinsky’s nickname.

There is a joke often repeated among women of a certain age: You can walk into a grocery store and shoplift whatever you want, because nobody will notice that you’re even there.

Older women have long been expected to “fade into the background,” as the scholar Joan C. Williams put it — considered so far past their sexual prime that they were almost invisible. (Lest you think that notion is outdated, look no further than the French author Yann Moix, who told Marie Claire magazine last week that he doesn’t notice women over 50.)

And while men’s value has long been perceived as rising with age, women’s has often fallen. In her book, “The Beauty Bias,” Deborah Rhode, a Stanford law professor, explained that while silver hair and furrowed brows made aging men look “distinguished,” aging women risked marginalization or ridicule for their efforts to pass as young.

It’s no surprise, then, that according to one analysis, by Time, male actors hit their professional peak at 46, while female actors top out at 30. (As the actor Helen Mirren recently put it, responding to a report that, at 37, Maggie Gyllenhaal had been told she was “too old” for a role opposite a 55-year-old man: “As James Bond got more and more geriatric, his girlfriends got younger and younger. It’s so annoying.”)

In another survey, compiled a few years ago by Newsweek, 84 percent of corporate hiring managers said they believed a “qualified but visibly older” candidate would make some employers hesitate — particularly if those candidates were women.

And while more people over 65 — almost 20 percent — are still working than at any other point since the 1960s, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, even when America’s jobless rate was close to full employment it was women over 50 who were having the hardest time finding work.

“Ageism is one of the last acceptable biases in our culture, but it powerfully intersects with sexism,” Professor Douglas said.

But the arc of women’s working lives is changing, as is the broader perception of them. Many older women like to work, demographers say, a reality they first experienced decades ago, when opportunities began to open to them in the 1970s and 1980s.

“What the women’s movement did was develop generations of strong women,” said Representative Donna Shalala, Democrat of Florida, who became the oldest freshman in her House class when she took office a little over a month before her 78th birthday. “We had professional careers, we were achievers in our fields, and you’re seeing the result of that now. And we’re comfortable in our own skin, and we don’t put up with nonsense, and we have a sisterhood.”

Zerlina Maxwell, a former media director for Hillary Clinton, echoed that idea.

“I think older women are stepping forward in part because they just don’t have any craps to give,” Ms. Maxwell said. “Black women of a certain age especially, they have lived through a lot.”

Others say that the culture is slowly catching up to the reality of a broader, graying population that is not eager to step back from civic or public life.

“I’ve embraced every birthday … what’s the alternative, bitch and moan?” Gayle King, 64, a co-anchor of “CBS This Morning,” said in an email. “I believe if your body and brain are healthy and you love what you do and the people in your life, what’s the downside of THAT?! So I’ll say it loud, I’m 64 and (oh so) proud!”

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