Women in Business: Is There a Way to Age Gracefully?
I thought the era was gone, but I’m seeing it more and more lately: Women depicting a confident business image in the media (especially in certain industries) are again starting to look like . . . men. Picture women in dark suits, crossed-arms and feet propped up on their desk wearing 4-inch heels. Throw a little Botox in there for those over 50-types and you’ve got the picture. Angry looking (albeit well-dressed) women.
But wait a minute. Powerful women are still women, aren’t they? They’re not men. I once read a blog post about a woman who attended a business lunch in dangly earrings, a non-traditional business outfit and untamed hair. An older, well-respected businessman complimented her on how poised and confident she looked because she wasn’t afraid to be who she was. Yet I’ve had mentors insist that the external packaging is more important than what is on the inside.
Many of the women that I respect and who indeed are powerful business women also break the dress code – they don’t look like they’ve spent a gazillion dollars and hours with a Nordstrom personal shopper to put themselves together. Instead, their confidence emanates from within. Confidence is their greatest accessory, more than a purse or pair of Jimmy Choos. It puts a light in their eyes and a spring in their steps. But for some women, if you take away their power suit, you take away their power.
I know in today’s marketing world it doesn’t help that 32-year old models are representing 45+ women in ads. But why is it so hard for marketers to celebrate women getting wiser, more mature, experienced and seasoned – in the business arena or otherwise? Even Nicole Kidman has admitted that she’s tossing her Botox.
Which marketers do you see helping women age beautifully and gracefully? Is your confidence hiding in your closet?