So it's no wonder I was beyond excited when I heard about Maximum Middle Age, the new site launched by writer Eve Vawter and celebrating women over 35 -- an age group often forgotten in our Twitter generation of hashtags and sound bytes. Seeing as how I'll be a member of the over-35 set in no time, I could really identify with their mission statement...
What we all have in common is the sense we're under-represented online, and that's why we started MaxMA. We may be old, but we ain't dead yet.
There is some much ageist BS directed towards us women of a certain age. Just because you live past the age of 30 doesn't mean you stop caring about pop culture and beauty and style and women's issues. Plus, there's a whole other host of things that affect us as we age, our own parents getting older, our careers, our own kids starting high school and college and even getting married and having kids of their own.I had the pleasure of interviewing Vawter last week about Maximum Middle Age, life post-Millennial and being your true self! Read on for all the inspiration from one truly inspiring lady!!
Tell me a bit about Maximum Middle Age. Where did the inspiration come from?
I'm 47, and I've worked in online media for about 10 years for various outlets. One day, I was so frustrated by getting another idea shot down because it "didn't speak to the demographic we were trying to reach" (usually 30 and under) that I made a frustrated post on Facebook saying that I was going to start a website for women over the age of 35. A lot of my friends loved the idea and said they wanted to contribute. We have amazing editors like Avital Norman Nathman, Karen Miner, Asha Rajan, Deesha Philyaw and Jennifer Cumby. Jenny Poore is this incredible Web designer and she made the site look like an old-school riot girl 'zine from the 1980s.
Why do you think the over-35 set is so underrepresented these days?
Because youth is where it's at, baby! We're a youth-obsessed culture, everything is geared towards younger people, and that's who advertisers want to reach. The irony is, most people who are younger and just starting out don't have the same buying power as people who are older and more established in their careers do. How many times have we read about an actress being "too old" to be considered a love interest for a movie role or about an older woman getting Botox or fillers in order to look younger? How many articles have we seen where headlines read "X Steps To Looking Younger" or "X Things You Should Never Wear Over Age 40"? Ashton Applewhite calls ageism "prejudice against our future selves." The reality is, we are all pretty lucky if we get to the point where we can call ourselves middle-aged or older.
In your view, what is the biggest misconception about this age group?
That we stop caring about social issues and politics and feminism and pop culture as we age. Just because we reach a certain age doesn't mean we stop caring about the world or even nail polish colors.
What can people do to change those misconceptions?
Make their voices heard, which is what we are trying to do with Maximum Middle Age.
What are some of your favorite pieces from the site so far?
So many! I'm floored by the stories that are being shared and the types of content coming in... Victoria Barrett wrote this beautifully sad piece on suffering a huge loss and Nina Bargiel wrote about the correct response when your family and friends ask why you are childfree.
What are your plans for the future? Any exciting posts/series coming up on the site?
We have been playing with the idea of doing a podcast, and we are going to have some fun video features and lots more celebrities answering our Maximum... questions!
Is there anything else you think I should know?
Because we are new and we have zero backing, we still can't pay contributors, but we love hearing your stories and anyone interested in contributing should email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.