I know more than a few men read my blogs and emails. For you, this post may make you scratch your head.
Perhaps not–I know this happens to men, too, but usually far later in life.
For women, it happens far, far earlier.
I’m talking about disappearing from view.
I remember when it began to happen to me.
I was never beautiful. Pretty, perhaps. But I got my share of speculative and appreciative glances from men when I walked into a room. I rarely failed to catch the attention of anyone I needed to speak to, regardless of gender.
By the time I reached my mid-forties, that started to change. At first, it was merely men who failed to register me. It wasn’t even a glance and then dismissal–they simply didn’t process beyond “middle-aged woman” and my presence was completely cancelled in their minds.
I was invisible.
Now I’m even older, and I’m growing out the dye in my hair and going au naturale. And now even women don’t process that I’m there.
It’s not a sexual thing, either. For example, I recently attended a meeting of local authors. Now, I’m a relatively successful author. I write full time, which many do not. I taught writing at university for a decade, I’ve won awards, had best sellers and more. While I’m not a mega star by any means, I am not a lightweight in the publishing world, either.
I walked into the big meeting room twenty minutes before the meeting started. The authors already there were standing in groups and clumps, talking to each other. I don’t like to horn into conversations as uber-networkers seem to be able to do without annoying people. Instead, I waited to catch someone’s eye. When I did, I could wave and smile and perhaps join their group. You know, social etiquette.
And I waited.
It occurred to me that I had been standing ten paces inside the door for long enough that at least a few of them must have seen me. I had seen the glances in my direction.
But for some reason, despite glancing at me and seeing me, no one had actually registered that I was there. I was invisible.
It was a bit of a cold shock. I remember moving over to the big conference table where the meeting would be held, and finding a chair and setting up my laptop. I didn’t get to speak to anyone until the president called the meeting to order, and someone sat next to me. It was someone I knew, and they were delighted to see me, but until that moment, they hadn’t realized I was in the room.
It’s not simply an age thing, either. It isn’t that the newer generations are keeping to themselves, for the author who sat next to me at the meeting, who knew me, is female, and about my age.
We, all of us, grow blind to older women. There’s no research out there, but a casual poll among my friends tells me this isn’t unique to me. It happens to all women of a certain age–they become invisible, and mentally dismissed as insignificant when they are noticed.
I have to wonder if this is a survival instinct. We are programmed to assess threats in our vicinity, which is why men–who are stronger and more aggressive (in general)–do not become invisible until they’re much older and take on an appearance that makes them seem less dangerous. While women who have (theoretically) moved beyond a useful reproductive age and are generally weaker and less aggressive in the first place, simply don’t register on anyone’s threat assessment radar.
In which case, this phenomenon is not simply cultural bias. It’s a genetic one.
Since I have become invisible, I have tried to train myself to register everyone around me and to value their worth no matter what their age or gender.
I have noticed that there are a lot of women around my age and older who are taking the freedom that invisibility gives them, and running with it. They dress how they want to (and it’s not in mommy jeans and sneakers, either), behave as they want to, and enjoy their life.
This invisibility phenomenon is also why I wrote Pendragon Rises.
The heroine, Anwen, has been invisible her entire life, because she is a plain woman among pretty maids in waiting, and is the daughter of no one special. As she grows older, the invisibility increases.
The one man who does see her is the blind hero, Steffan.
And because Anwen learns to take life with both hands and enjoy it, she is embroiled in the great events of her age: The crowning of Uther Pendragon, and his love affair with Igraine, which resulted in the birth of Arthur, who would be the Once and Future King.
She is invisible to everyone but the blind man…
Anwen is the least favored companion to Lady Igraine, the Duchess of Cornwall. No man will marry her, for she is old and plain. Instead, she teaches Igraine’s children to read.
Steffan of Durnovaria was once a celebrated warrior in the Duke of Cornwall’s army, a friend to Prince Uther, the High King’s brother, and destined for greatness, until a Saxon war hammer stole his sight and destroyed his life.
To deflect Steffan’s anger from the warriors around him, Igraine directs him to help Anwen teach her daughters. The assignment brings him no happiness and terrifies Anwen, who has never spoken to a man directly in her life.
When the new High King, Uther, meets Igraine for the first time and becomes obsessed with her, Anwen and Steffan are drawn into a web of lies and deceit that could destroy Britain’s fragile peace.
This novel is part of the ancient historical romance series, Once and Future Hearts, set in Britain during the time of King Arthur.
1.0 Born of No Man
2.0 Dragon Kin
3.0 Pendragon Rises
4.0 War Duke of Britain
5.0 High King of Britain
6.0 Battle of Mount Badon
7.0 Abduction of Guenivere
8.0 Downfall of Cornwall
9.0 Vengeance of Arthur
10.0 Grace of Lancelot
11.0 The Grail and Glory
Readers have described Tracy Cooper-Posey as “a superb story teller” and her ancient historical romances as “written art”. Get your copy of Pendragon Rises today!
Praise for the Once And Future Hearts series
It takes me back to the magic I felt when reading Mary Stewart’s stories of Merlin. Tracy Cooper-Posey has written another winner!
As a long time, self proclaimed Arthurian Legend junkie I couldn’t wait to dive into Tracy Cooper Posey’s new series. Tracy once again proves to be a master story teller as she weaves the delicate threads of this beloved legend into her own.
Oh my goodness. Of course I was not sure what to expect with this but what I got was a wonderful story set in the time just before King Arthur. Invading Saxons, Romans, Kings, princesses, mysteries, Merlin, and romance? Wonderful beginning to a new series and I cannot wait to read more.
I also love the fact that her female characters are definitely not boring, whiny or TSTL.
Tracy Cooper Posey is brilliant at weaving stories with individuals that are completely believable in their thoughts and dialogue.
Pendragon Rises was released last week.
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