Skip to Content

Don’t Call Us Invisible!

Writer Lucia Paul from the blog, Dysfunctional Scrapbooking had a conversation with a much, much, much younger woman that left her feeling invisible. Is it true for women over forty, or is it an attitude that needs correcting? Can someone make you feel invisible without your consent? 

Friendship has been on my mind, and on my keyboard, a lot lately.

The older I get, the more strongly I believe in having women friends of all ages. Even if they think I’m invisible.

Let me explain. It has always meant a lot to me, at the various times in my life, when an older neighbor, social acquaintance, or work mentor, became a friend. So, it seemed certain that eventually I would be the cool neighbor and form excellent bonds with younger women. Or would I?

When I was in my early forties, we had a fantastic babysitter who was just wonderful: smart, funny, and serene. She was delightful to have around. She was probably 22 to my 42.

One night, I was pretty sure we were on “the same level” as we talked about the perils of dating.

“It’s got to be hard when you become invisible.” She said calmly.

invisible-woman-feeling invisible

I looked at my hands. Good God! I was invisible! What on earth? Did the Perricone Promise take me back too many years and now it was the time before I was born?

No. I could see my feet. What was she…wait a minute…Did she mean…invisible to men? But she and I were both part of the greater sisterhood! I felt we were headed to a place where traveling pants might even be involved.

Clearly she didn’t. Now before you think, “That whippersnapper! Her and her boy-cut underwear and laser hair removal! She was intentionally being hurtful,” I can assure you she wasn’t.

Believe me, no one loves to get on the paranoia bandwagon more than I do, but she said it with such sincerity and innocence, I realized she truly thought that was how things were for a woman over 40.

While I thought we were breezily sharing insights and stories, she was thinking it was “cute” that I still had opinions about such things.

What would happen if women over 40 banded together and declared that say, men under 35, were invisible?

How do you think they would react if headlines reading “Feeling Like You Don’t Matter? 25 Tips for Bro-heims Feeling Like No-Heims,” began to appear in GQ?

Or if we declared that women under 30 couldn’t be seen?

“All that hot yoga has really made your stomach extra concave, Skylar. Such a bummer no one can see you!”

They wouldn’t accept it. You know they wouldn’t. So we shouldn’t either.

I say, “Just Say No To Invisibility!” Maybe we should have a rubber bracelet.

I haven’t given up on having younger friends. I still believe that I have something to offer, and they have something to offer me. Like a cloak and a hat, so I don’t get run over in traffic. Maybe white gloves like The Invisible Man had.

“Live Non-Invisibly” will be the new “Live Strong”

Our bracelet could be neon orange. So you could see it better.

All our friends will want one.

Lucia Paul

Lucia Paul is a writer who has contributed to numerous online publications including the Erma Bombeck Writer’s website and, on topics ranging from the financial crisis to parenting teens. Her writing is in multiple anthologies including That’s Paris: Life, Love, and Sarcasm in the City of Light (2015), Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness-Stories by Sleepy Moms (2014), Not Your Mother's Book...on Home Improvement (2013), Not Your Mother's Book...on Being a Mom (2014). She blogs at Dysfunctional Scrapbooking. Find her on Twitter: @DFscrapbook

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:

Elizabeth Flora Ross

Wednesday 21st of May 2014

I would have had to sit down and have a little chat with that babysitter. I remember when you are young you have no concept of age, and what seems "old" definitely changes as you yourself age. But it is never cool to refer to anyone, any human being, as 'invisible." How dismissive! I would have been furious.


Wednesday 21st of May 2014

Thanks for commenting, Elizabeth. I think I was more sincerely perplexed. I do recall myself in my teens and twenties thinking that 40 plus was pretty old. My own arrival near that age changed my perspective and I'm glad it did. I will admit I didn't go so far as to think anyone was actually invisible, though.

Amy Mullis

Wednesday 21st of May 2014

I know the invisible feeling. I find a little bit of neon spandex with sparkles goes a long way toward fixing that! (And I enjoy seeing my kids roll their eyes like a gutter ball at the Star Lanes!) Insightful, well-done piece, Lucia.


Wednesday 21st of May 2014

Thanks, Amy. As with all confusing things in life, I try and find the humor in the situation. I know you do too. Hence the neon spandex.

Carol Cassara

Wednesday 21st of May 2014

I think it's a strange comment for someone that age to make. I'd want to know morea bout what she meant by that.


Wednesday 21st of May 2014

I wanted to know more too Carol. But I clearly wanted to head out the door more!

Comments are closed.
Read previous post:
My Mother Was Hiding Chronic Illness

We've published several beautiful posts from Claudia Schmidt of about dealing with her diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer....