As we move to launching our first range of powders for the 3 stages of menopause, we have spent ALOT of time discussing how we responsibly and respectfully represent the life-stage.
One of our founder’s motivations for sharing the recipes she had developed was the desire to put something on the shelves that felt reflective of real women. Too often menopause products feel apologetic. Imagery on-pack perpetuates the myth that this is something that hits you in your late 50’s rather than from around 43. And there is ALOT OF PURPLE out there people (not that we don’t love purple).
Last year, Campaign, the advertising industry’s bible, penned a rallying call to the sector’s creative directors and brand owners; challenging them to shift their representation of older women in advertising and, specifically, to break the taboo that is the menopause;
‘The menopause appears to be one of the last female taboos to be tackled by anyone – let alone marketers and advertisers.’
Bridget Angear, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Results into how our age group responds to marketing is telling. Research by UM London and Crudos paints a stark picture:
59% of women going through the menopause feel there is negative stereotyping around how they are depicted and represented.
46% believe women are not depicted authentically.
44% feel patronised by the messages promoted.
A natural life-stage that is taboo, along with our age at the point of menopause, means women are prejudiced against twice. A study by Mumsnet and Gransnet highlights this reality and the opportunity for engagement being lost by brands;
78% of those aged 50 or over feel under-represented or misrepresented by advertising.
49% say they actively avoid brands who ignore them.
69% suggest they would be more receptive to brands if their advertising represented over-50’s more accurately.
The reality is the output from the advertising industry is largely a product of minds under 30. Just 6% of the industry is over 50 according to the IPA.
But this industry, at its best, can be an amazing catalyst for change. Marketeers and brand owners need to urgently take stock of the undeniably poor feedback from a critical ‘audience segment’. It will be a win-win. British Vogue and L’Oreal proved it last year with the Non-Issue which received greater coverage than all its other editions by focusing the publication on: ‘the women who feel left behind by the beauty and fashion industries because of their age,’ (quote: Edward Enninful, editor of British Vogue). We are hungry for brands that both see us and celebrate us.
Luckily, we don’t need to wait for ad-land to wake up. We can change how we let the world frame us by seeking different inputs. Here are a few changes you can make to inject more positivity into your day:
Shake up your feed: Make a conscious effort to find positive voices and brands that celebrate real women online. Check out: @and.bloom for unfiltered stories of beautiful older women full of wisdom and optimism about ageing. Follow @themiddleagedgoddess and @alternativeageing for lessons on lives lived vibrantly. Inject a little humour into the every day through the brilliant duo that is @themidult. Oh and make sure you look at any post by @iris.apfel at least once a day. Just, because.
Arm yourself with insight: We’ve written before about using the ‘second spring as a springboard’ - the menopause can be a fantastic catalyst for positive change - but it is so much easier when you know what to expect. Check out the work by Diane Danzebrink who is moving mountains in the menopause space and stays focused on the facts! Read ‘The Hot Topic’ for a thought-provoking and funny history of the life-stage - and Flash Count Diaries for a searingly honest personal story of transition.
Read the books that might feel right for your mindset now: If you’re feeling anxious and less confident in your abilities, ’The Introvert Entrepreneur’ is worth a scan - it’s full of practical advice on how to harness introvert tendencies for success. Read ‘Bolder’ by Carl Honore - a manifesto on how to make ageing a bonus for ourselves and society rather than a bore.
Share your stories: The more we talk about the menopause - with each other, with our younger peers, with our partners, with our kids - the better placed, and better supported, the next generation of women will be to handle the natural changes that occur in their bodies. Start by DM-ing us @mpowderstore or completing our anonymous survey (link on homepage).
And we promise to make sure that MPowder keeps things real; powered by your stories, standing on the shoulders of voices making menopause matter, and celebrating the stuff that works.