What Breaking the Bias means to me | Tricia Cusden

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Article by Tricia Cusden, Look Fabulous Forever

As a lifelong feminist I find being an older woman interesting.

At 74 years old, our ageist society expects me to be retired, it expects me to be lonely as I don’t have a partner, and it expects me to be thrifty, saving money perhaps to better contribute to my grandchildren’s future. Oh, and it also expects me to be invisible and, preferably mute.

In fact, I am still working in a very successful business that I launched at the age of 65 and have never been happier in my single state which I see as the true expression of who I am rather than the default consequence of my long-ago divorce. As to thrift, I am just about to book another one of four overseas trips which I intend to take this year, pandemic permitting. And as to invisibility – I wear bright red lipstick most days as an act of defiance!

So how can we break the bias that expects me to conform to an old-fashioned stereotype of what it means to be an older woman?

Here are my thoughts:

  1. Reframe the outdated conversation about what it means to age. We are a very different generation from our parents and grandparents – fitter, healthier, more affluent and living longer.
  2. We need more role models! Let’s celebrate a very diverse range of older women to show what they are capable of achieving. 
  3. Let’s see older women everywhere! What if it was the norm to see women like me In advertisements (and not just for incontinence pads), in fashion shoots, in magazine articles, on discussion programmes? 
  4. And finally, how about restoring the concept of the ‘wise woman’ – someone who has lived a long life, learnt much, and to whom we turn for her insight and wisdom?
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I wonder what ‘breaking the bias’ means to most people when they hear it in the context of IWD?  I am fairly confident that first thoughts will be of race, gender, misogyny and sexist working practices. So, please spare a thought for the double whammy of being both female and older. I’d also like to be Included as part of the conversation – after all – if you’re lucky enough, you too will be an old woman one day! 

About the author

Tricia CusdenAt the age of 65, Tricia Cusden spotted a gap in the market for a new approach to cosmetics for older women. She invested her own savings in a range of specific makeup suitable for more mature eyes, faces and lips. In October 2013, Look Fabulous Forever was launched to 80 friends and family at a party in London.

In November 2015, she was awarded CEW’s Digital Achiever of the Year Award and in 2016 LFF was shortlisted for Amazon Digital Business of the Year part of the Lloyds National Business Awards. Tricia also won Nectar Small Business Awards Entrepreneur of the Year and SME Emerging Businesswoman 2016 awarded by HSBC’s National Women in Business Awards.

Tricia’s book, Living the Life More Fabulous – a Handbook to Beauty, Style and Empowerment was published by Orion Spring in February 2018 and has been on the Amazon Fashion and Beauty best seller list ever since.

Tricia has two daughters, Anna and Suzy, who both work in the business, and five grandchildren. She lives in London.

www.lookfabulousforever.com

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