Am I too old to hang?

A friend of mine, who is currently 29, had tagged me on FB for a girl’s getaway.  It would be a weekend in Utah full of MTBing, socializing, yoga, rock climbing and just plain good times! Sure, why not?  I follow this organization on Instagram and figured I would see what info they had for this particular weekend.  I noticed that all the member photos and individuals’ posts were of women in their 20’s, maybe very early 30’s (like 30 plus one month), and all held super fresh faced goodness in their twinkling, wrinkle-free eyes.  I’m not bitter, I’m just trying to get my point across.

It may be in the eye of the beholder, but what the hell do I have in common with these girls?  I will be turning 44 in December and the message I’m receiving is that I have to be of a certain demographic to participate.  Otherwise, I will be automatically placed in the role of girl scout troop leader or hall monitor.  I thought that it may just be this organization that had really good looking ambassadors, but as I searched my IG account for similar outdoor women’s organizations, the majority followed this same formula.  Young and cute = the world is your oyster.  If you’re not a millennial, then you need to be following Hiking Octogenarians.

I’m not opposed to businesses using sex as a weapon when it comes to selling their product.  I mean I always look twice when it’s Matthew McConnaughey promoting that car, whatever it is (sometimes advertisers do their job too well).  I’m not opposed to millennials, in fact, I feel they have it pretty tough in their upcoming futures.  What I’m saying is that this group that promotes women breaking into an outdoor man’s world is segregating people inadvertently.  Here’s a perfect example:

Me:  Is this argument legit or am I imagining this?

Cute Friend (let me reiterate by saying she’s 29…and resembles Kristen Bell):  I’m not sure all their followers and such are that way.  Maybe just their ambassadors…which still doesn’t leave a great taste in your mouth.

Me:  OMG, that’s so weird coming from you!  I feel you fit their status quo!

This is an age old survival of the fittest situation, or sexiest.  When I was in high school, there were two girls that were epic on the women’s varsity basketball team.  One was more talented than the other with scoring more points and capturing more rebounds.  Who do you think got more accolades?  The prettier one, of course.  She wasn’t as talented as the other girl, but she was more pleasing to the oculars.  One more example and then I’ll move on.  There was a post about a woman road cycling intergalactic superstar where a MTB pro athlete shared her last name.  In comparison, the road cyclist had achieved more medals than the MTB cyclist.  One follower tied into the MTB athlete because of the surname and then posted how he would now follow the MTB athlete because “she’s cuter than the other one who I thought was her older sister.”  Do organizations pick their ambassadors with that little voice in the back of their head saying, “she’s also cute, so we’ll get more followers.”?  Would they intentionally look over someone who is in their 40’s and sending cruxes regularly to bring on someone in their 20’s that looked great in yoga pants and a sports bra?

Now, coming full circle, I have no doubt I’ll still be accepted thanks to my extrovert ways and my natural tendency to make friends should I go to this aforementioned weekend.  However, how does that help in my passion to get other women, regardless of age, outside?  The laywomen that want to do things, but feel intimidated in one form or another?  How does this happen when some organizations tout their missions as: to empower and support women, bringing women together through the power of the outdoors, by and for women, and female participation, yet only a certain demographic gets targeted.  Maybe the owner is a millennial, maybe us older bad asses aren’t interested, or maybe you’re saying, “Mo, who really gives a fuck?”

Regardless, I have an opinion. My opinion is of the stance that maybe the founders of these organizations should try harder in incorporating women from all decades in life.    Maybe have older rabble-rousers that have gone through hell and now has the devil saying, “Oh, shit!  She’s up!!!”.  Have them be omnipresent on Instagram or other social media accounts alongside the Young and the Restless.  (I stole that off a mug, by the way.  The devil quote.)

Excuse my senior moment here, but I would love to hear your opinions on this.  Let them resound with your grievances or hail my genius.  Either way, let me know.

 

Much love and Aloha,

your still going to that women’s weekend! clueless wanderer

Originally published by WHOA December 13, 2016

 

27 thoughts on “Am I too old to hang?

  1. I can’t believe the issue is even an issue! Of course they take the younger, prettier chick for their ambassador! They do the same thing for guys (though we tend to get picked after we’ve matured a bit).

    Now this’ll get really offensive, so hang on to your butt… They throw a few token ambassadorships at the overweight, slow or homely, maybe a free kit or something, just to keep the appearance of being for “all [insert gender or sport here]” so the imperfect masses will continue to support them.

    It is, as they say, the way of things. I was a model for about ten minutes when I was a young man. First thing they told me was “Come back in 20 years”.

    At 44, with a little piss and vinegar, you’ll be able to show those younger, hipper kids a thing or two though. Go, have a good time, and let the world spin on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would say I feel “under-represented” when I look at “ads” but I get it. I usually have to stop and think about my age but I am mid-40’s, I’m not in great shape, I don’t have tons of outdoor experience and at this “advanced” age I am learning new things. That is why I’m glad there are bloggers and Instagram accounts like yours that can be an inspiration to those in our demographic. I am surrounded by women in my life who are my same age and are looking to get started on these outdoor adventures. Advertisers will either catch up just miss the mark entirely.

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  3. I often wrestle with this same dilemma, and I’m 10 years older than you are. Did they invite me to be kind, will it be awkward because I’m more like their mom…will I feel awkward because I feel like I’m everyone’s mom? I think in reality if they didn’t truly want me to go they wouldn’t have invited me, and it’s my own fears and insecurity that are holding me back. Go and have fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Heck -I’ll go with you. πŸ˜‰ I’m 46 and looking for an active women’s getaway. I don’t care about mine or others ages. Who’s putting it on? Do tell. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Jennifer! I don’t want to “name names” as this outfit is a legitimate outdoors Women inspiring group. Unfortunately, it’s the one that piqued my realization of the lack of age diversity. Check out Adventure Some Women on FB and maybe you can connect with some rad ladies. I started this group back in June in order to meet more active women and we have grown. All ages, all interests, and all welcoming. Hope to see you there and maybe meet up with you in the future! 😁

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      • Thank you, I’ll check it out. πŸ™‚ There is also outessa.com It is a weekend getaway for women. I believe REI plays a big part in the event. It had its first year last year. If you scroll through the pics, it looks like all ages and backgrounds. It’s on my list. 2017 dates to be scheduled soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I saw that last year! Unfortunately, the dates they had didn’t work out for me. I’ll see what they have for 2017. Although, I just returned from Asia and I have an Iceland and Peru trip coming up within the next 5 months. I may be done except for road trips for the rest of the year, lol.

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  5. You think it is awkward when you are 40. Wait until you are70. I kayak. I can hike for 10 or 12 miles but I certainly don’t feel included in local/national outdoor activities.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie, you are so bad ass! My goal is to remain mobile and be as active as you when I’m in my 70s. That’s such BS that you would feel alienated. I would love to see things like Outdoor magazine have older people on their cover because we all matter and we all share the same love for the outdoors. Keep doing what you’re doing, Bonnie because I’m sure you don’t even realize whom you’re inspiring. ❀❀❀

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  6. I am a just a bit older than you and I see it too. I am fortunate to have a local group of “Outdoor Women” that is diverse and doesn’t care. What we have in common is just that – doing stuff outdoors. There are some in their late 20’s all the way to some in their 70’s. We have some that like to cook outdoors or go to outdoor concerts and some that will throw their tent and backpack in the car and camp out in the winter with me. It amazes me sometimes when I stop to think about backpacking with a group of women who range from 30-70 and I am somewhere in the middle and we can all get along, share the work and enjoy each other. I hope the group you go with is like that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is amazing that you have that camaraderie! My two best friends are about 14 years younger than me and I also feel that age isn’t a factor. It just saddens me that awesome women in their middle age aren’t highlighted as they should be.

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  7. To the world, I may be a 45ish grandma that is overweight and out of shape. I huff and puff and am slow. But let it be known that I am a barely legal badass that loves getting outdoors and challenging myself. I will push myself to my limits and wear myself out. I will get up the next morning and repeat so look out world! So here’s to the Bonnies of the world – I wanna be her too! Chins up always so you don’t miss the scenery ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I can totally relate, being way older than you Mo, I feel I can’t hang sometimes but I keep going because I love the outdoors. I try not to think of my age but rather of my ability, that’s why I do my best to stay fit so when I’m in my 70’s I can still hang even if it is by myself.

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