I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like we are a little bit of the lucky generation. Not lucky in that we have more money or more opportunity, but that we are considered in society and marketing, that we are a force to be reckoned with. Don’t mess with those 40 year olds! Bear with me, I have a few examples.
My mum was 35 when I was born, so by the time I realised what she was wearing she was in her 40’s and 50’s and wearing REALLY mumsy clothes. This was the 80’s and when she wasn’t wearing her “house coat” she was wearing stretchy leggings with open toe sandals and stretchy t-shirts. When she went out, she would wear a knee-length A line skirt of some sort, a very old long-sleeved blouse and boring brown court shoes. To me as a teenager she looked such a mummy. Soooooo embarrassing. So old-fashioned. Mums weren’t expected to be wearing the latest trends. That was for the 20 year olds.
Then it got me thinking. Where did she go for her fashion advice? No internet, no bloggers. Movie stars were glamorous but their styles were often out of reach to ordinary women. Her magazines were Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own. Jeez, no wonder she had no inspiration.
On the other hand we’re the target audience for magazine companies. In fact I think we are referred to as “Middle Youth”. As a teen I grew up on English “Girl” magazine, then the Australian title “Dolly” and then dabbled in Cosmopolitan and Vogue. All of them perfect for me. As I got older I wondered if there would be magazines to cater for me or whether I would have to be old before my time, take my magazine out of my pinny and read about how to make my weekly grocery money stretch further. Thankfully by the time I got to my late 20’s RED magazine had appeared on the scene and contains everything I could possibly want for the complex 30-50 year old. We all have very similar likes and dislikes but we have a lot of varying lifestyles and Red Magazine caters for that.
Fashion, Latest Trends, money, cooking, articles on relationships, sex, dealing with emotional issues, raising children or just how to start your own business. Perfect.
So how are we represented out there?
We are the “Friends” Generation. We had a whole show dedicated to being in your late 20’s and early 30’s. From the age of around 24 there were people just like me having conversations just like me on tv. We got to see them grow up, have babies, deal with death, self-esteem, family problems and relationships. I don’t know about you, but I think you can pretty much live your life by episodes of that tv series. As they got older, I did too, they were still good looking, had good hair, made mistakes and I loved that I was growing up with them all.
Then around 1998 whilst I was in my late 20’s Sex and the City started. I started watching properly in my 30’s. These were 30 something women who did glamorous things, negotiated men, love, sex and friendships. This followed on through to their 40’s (Samantha was in her 40’s at the start of the series) and I was there, watching this gorgeous creatures who still “had it” despite being older.
Not forgetting that in the UK, we also had the delight of “Cold Feet”. A later 20’s early 30’s series, again, with the trials and tribulations of relationships, marriages and children. These people hadn’t been chucked in the dustbin for being married, having kids or getting old. They were out there, living their lives, enjoying life. A whole series was written about them!
We must be a pretty important generation that we spawned all of these shows. I can’t think of one that did that back when my mum was in her 30’s. The Good life? Hardly aspirational. (great show though, I should add).
When I was 30, 30 was the new 20. Now 40 is the new 30. We’ve all gained 10 years. HOORAY.
Although seriously, I feel quite buoyant about all of this. Our generation appears to be pushing things through. TV shows, fashion for the 40 year olds (see Emma Forbes new Saluting Style venture) and it keeps happening. Clothing companies are opening up aimed at our age range and why not? We still want to look fab AND we have the money to spend. Win win for everyone involved.
Some of us 40 year olds have kids and we quite fancy a bit of cake making Voila! They create “Great British Bake Off”.
I quite fancy going back to basics you know, perhaps a bit of sewing. Voila “Great Sewing Bee”.
Be nice to learn to love our wobbly bodies, wouldn’t it? Take pride in our mummy tummy’s. Voila “How to look good Naked”. It’s all for us you know. They are pushing it all for us.
By the time I get into my 50’s (the new 40) We’ll be reading about how to change careers whilst still managing to meet up with the girls. Our 60’s? Pah. No problem. They’ll be a mag for us, giving us tips on how walk the red carpet without our corns or bunions causing us any pain. How to wear our grey hair with pride, which Cath Kidston pillowcase fits a orthepeadic pillow. Care homes will be setup and run by fit, healthy older people who are working later because they need to top up their pension pots, but ensure we are taken care of in a manner that suits us. New policies will be in place to ensure we get to do more of what we want. Old people will be the biggest demographic. By the time I’m in my 80’s, the over 65’s will account for nearly 30% of the population. Don’t piss the oldies off — they are your biggest customers.
We’ll be ok. I have a good feeling about this.