Do You Ever Feel Like the Invisible Woman?

“Fifty is about when women start to disappear,” said WHOA! co-founder Darryle Pollack in her Voices of the Year speech at BlogHer ’11. “Harry Potter’s Invisibility cloak is imaginary, but the invisible woman is not.” Ouch. Watch this powerful video and tell us about your experiences of feeling invisible, or the opposite – how you stay up front and center.




  1. thank you for the reminder. Sadly, here in Los Angeles, it is when I turned 40 that I noticed that I was no longer being noticed.

    • Darryle Pollack says:

      LA is a tough place to get older. Still, knowing you, Jessica, it’s hard to imagine you NOT being noticed anywhere.

  2. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    So true. It’s one of the many changes we have to face in this brave new world of midlife.

    • Darryle Pollack says:

      I agree it’s something we have to face, but I truly believe we can shift how people think; and we can make ourselves be noticed, especially the more we unite as as group. Thanks, Helene.

  3. I agree that companies don’t recognize the opportunity to offer products and services to those of us past our “Mommy” years but not ready for “frail elderly.” But I am NOT invisible.

    When I hit 40, I found my voice. At 50, I was ready to raise it. I ask for what I want. If I don’t get it, I don’t give up. I speak to management. I write letters. I post my criticism and praise on Facebook.

    At 60, I went further. I’m launching a new business directly aimed at women like me, because no one else is addressing the need.

    We’re only invisible if we let someone else decide that for us.

    • Darryle Pollack says:

      I LOVE hearing this! I too have felt myself getting “louder” as I get older. Would love to hear about the new business you’re launching! Thanks so much and we look forward to hearing more from you, Debbie.

  4. I realized this was happening (or had happened) to me when I was about 55; it was at a time when everything in my life was changing. I settled into it for a few years, allowing the transitions to take place, and then I simply ignored the invisibility. Simple to do? No. Not when being visible is the norm. But certainly possible. I’m far more happier about the supposed “invisibility” now at 61 than I was at 55, and that’s all that matters.

    Our “invisibility” only matters if we let it. We are visible if we want to be.

    • Lynn Forbes says:

      So true, Lois. We buy into a lot of the norms – “it just must be so, sigh” – but it doesn’t have to be that way! – Lynn

  5. In the older years in the past, the older people were the ones tribes and societies looked to for wisdom. We have the wisdom and so it seems we are forging a new path as older wiser women here online. Count me in.

    • Darryle Pollack says:

      Yes! I think our society, country and world would be so much better off if people listened more to their “elders.” And we look forward to you being part of WHOA!

  6. I noticed the invisibility factor when I was in my ’40s. At first, it troubled me. Then the liberation of being unseen crept in. My delusion when younger was that I was being noticed and paid attention to based on my innate worth. Not so. When I became invisible, I realized that the lion’s share of prior attention was about my looks and youth, not my worth as a human being. To be completely honest, that attention drove me crazy. All I wanted to do was walk down the street without comment, have coffee without some dude sidling up to me and chatting me up, etc. Now I have my wish in spades… and I now love it!! If I want attention, I get it. But I know it’s because I’m saying or doing something worth noticing…and how I look is no longer clouding the picture.

  7. great post, Maybe as a group, women over 50 are fading, but I feel more empowered than ever. I hope this continues until I’m saying the same thing about turning 60! Virginia-FirstClassWoman

  8. I rail against being invisible. Having two, loud older brothers I was rarely heard growing up. Now having a disability, I am making damn sure I am being heard.

    Needs must be met during midlife and we have to make sure our voices are heard. Boy, oh boy, what we have to go through to do so!!

    • Darryle Pollack says:

      Railing, roaring, anything we have to do to remain visible works. And the more we do it, the easier it will be for each of us and for all of us. Thanks so much, Cathy.

  9. Lisa Williamson says:

    I’m 45 and although I have yet to have this experience – perhaps because I live in an area of Arizona where there are many retirees, and I work for an acupuncture school whose students and patients span the generations.

    I really loved this talk; I only wish it was even longer, because this is such a relevant subject. The lack of compassion for middle-aged women which I unconsciously had when I was younger has now become a wealth of compassion for women of all ages, but particularly for younger women who may someday judge me in their own naïveté.

    The comment above from SWoita is so spot-on. I also thought I was special when I was younger, and frequently had experiences in social situations (in spiritual groups I associated with) where I was the youngest person there, and I was definitely celebrated – especially by men – for this unique status.

    Thanks so much for this site! I am really enjoying it.

    • Darryle Pollack says:

      Lisa, thanks so much for your words and such a thoughtful comment. Yes there’s a lot more to say, that I could have said; but the talk was supposed to be 5 minutes long! I wish I’d been smart enough when I was younger to look at older women with the respect and reverence they deserved. I too was often the youngest person in my social groups; and now I’m finding myself often the oldest person! And it sure looks and feels different from both perspectives. But I don’t feel invisible now because I don’t expect it, or accept it. Thanks again and we’re so glad you’re enjoying WHOA!


  1. […] Are women over 50 invisible? That’s a question posed by Darryle Pollack, co-founder of WHOA! Network (Women Honoring Our Age.) (See Darryle’s video.) […]

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