23 Comments
May 22, 2023Liked by Ramona Grigg

I think a woman is at her most beautiful when she is older and full of wisdom and life. Looks don’t make a woman beautiful, it’s her confidence, maturity and the life lessons she has learned that make her beautiful despite how many years she has behind her.

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Yes, that's so true. But even old women want to decide what they can wear and how they should look. There seems to be some disagreement about that. ;)

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May 22, 2023Liked by Ramona Grigg

Brava! I am just coming to understand this about me - 75 will be my 50. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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Good for you! I'll be your witness.

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Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And Martha Stewart, you go girl.

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Thank you, thank you, thank YOU!

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May 22, 2023Liked by Ramona Grigg

Right on Mona. I didn't comment on the first writing and will now. I choose to keep my comments simple. We already know all of the marketing manipulations to make women feel less than based upon appearances. I'm not a fan of Martha Stewart. That has nothing to do with the fact that she is a very pretty human being. They come in all ages and genders. There are beautiful sunsets, flowers, paintings, animals, lakes, rivers, oceans, skies, forests, etc., on our beloved planet. There are physically beautiful people too and I choose to appreciate the beauty. Now, if we want to comment on inner beauty, that's another subject all together. For now, she's simply a pretty human.

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I agree that beauty from within beats them all. That constant quest for outer beauty is a billion-dollar business, and that's kind of sad. Still, I'm all for wanting women to feel comfortable, no matter what it takes.

I'm not a Martha fan, either, but I see her as a catalyst for a conversation that's long overdue. Older women don't get the same respect as younger women when it comes to getting all dolled up. They're made to feel silly, or 'ludicrous', as I said above. That needs to be re-examined.

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May 22, 2023Liked by Ramona Grigg

I agree wholeheartedly.

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May 22, 2023Liked by Ramona Grigg

Maybe this is part of the reason that so many younger women were so negative and aghast with Martha. This is what my 50 yr. old second cousin posted on her FB page.

" I had Martha Stewart shoved at me for many years as the ideal of a “homemaker” that I cannot and did not choose to live up to, so I have pretty strong feelings about her and her choice to show up as a highly processed version of an 81 year old woman. She is beautiful, and good for her but I prefer authenticity."

Her grandmother, who loved Martha, died a few years ago at 99. Second cousin's mother and 2 aunts range from early 60's to the late 70's, and all 3 have followed in the ideal homemaker tradition in their own ways. (I happen to be 79 but have never been a Martha fan.)

Personally, I don't think the young women of today who are critical of Martha could handle it if they suddenly aged 20-30years.

Keep on shouting BS!

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May 22, 2023·edited May 22, 2023Author

I never much took to Martha's industry, either. I didn't buy her magazines and only watched her show now and then. I never thought I would be writing anything about her, but this touched a nerve. It could have been any 81-year-old on the cover of SI and I would have reacted in the same way.

It just happened to be Martha Stewart.

Thanks for your thoughts here!

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Ms. Stewart has been a lifestyle influencer for over half a century. From catering weddings in her 20s, she's expanded her influence to include entertaining, china, glassware, furniture, floral design, indoor plants, gardening, and all things upscale housewifery: the best ways to care for linens, polish silver, raise chickens, preserve fruits.

As her businesses and wealth grew, her homes and gardens multiplied, and we all knew she wasn't trimming those hedges and collecting those eggs and shining that floor herself, no matter what impression her magazine and TV shows gave. We all knew a paid staff probably numbering in the hundreds making it all look effortless and serenely beautiful, just as we all know a crew of 6 or 7 people were behind that camera, fixing her hair, lighting her so the shadows enhanced the illusion of youthfulness, posing her so the substantial belly curves nicely, airbrushing the cellulite.

The effect was dazzling. Was it fakery? Or was it the swan metaphor- a lovely being gliding along in a peaceful lake, paddling furiously below the surface? That woman has worked hard, decade after decade, to make her lifestyle (if not her life) LOOK easy. Appearance is the product she has been selling her whole life. The swimsuit photo is not an aberration, it's just a part of her product line, and as usual, it looks great.

Ms. Stewart performs womanhood the way Hemingway performed manliness. Their lives became their product and they sold what they had to sell. You don't have to buy it, or emulate it. I personally prefer Martha's work to Ernest's. She seems to be having a great time these days, and I say good for her.

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And, oh, by the way, she’s eighty damn ONE.

I love this! Makes me think I would have liked your blog a whole lot better than mine!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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I'm happy to respond to your thoughts, but there's no way I'm walking back into the productivity trap. Thirty years and ca. a million published words is eNUFF. I even resisted writing a comment on The Photo. My first response was "You do you, girl," until I understood the parallel between Stewart and Hemingway. The beauty of old age in my experience is the end of culturally demanded performance. Now my hero is Popeye: I yam what I yam.

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That said, I did decide to repost my comment on my Facebook page! Hemingway fans will probably be furious...

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Talk to old people?!?! To hear what they think?!?!? As if they can speak for themselves and have their own opinions?!?!

You know, that makes total sense.

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I've just come back from my senior classical ballet class where we all have lines, aches, droopy boobs, and sundry other age-related issues. We danced up a storm today - even learned the first steps in a new choreography for a set piece - the Spanish Dance from Swan Lake.

I'm sure the younger women out there would be aghast that we are even daring to put our bodies in leotards and floating skirts or that we are outrageous to think we can do what we do.

I would say to them quite simply that we're living our best life and my hope is that when they reach their mid-70's they get to live theirs too. Without criticism or fetishist attitudes toward bodies and faces.

PS: I agree with Linda. 70's are my new 50's!

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I don't mind being old when I consider the alternative (ha, ha).

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May 23, 2023Liked by Ramona Grigg

Loved the post today! I totally agree with you. Why can't we celebrate instead of tear down?

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Thanks! Yes, why can't we? Maybe with enough reminders things can change.

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I enjoyed your piece and I agree with you.

I took a different tack in my article posted on Substack, if you'd care to take a look. https://substack.com/inbox/post/123999693 I'd be interested in knowing what you think.

Like you, I'm writing about my own transformation from who I was to who I am now, and find it encouraging to be part of a community that can respectfully differ.

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Hi Fran, thanks for weighing in, and thanks for your link. I agree with most of what you say, especially that we never honor real achievements by women as much as we do outward appearances. The female astronaut is a good example.

But I have to disagree a bit about the importance of Sports Illustrated and what it says about women and beauty. You could say the same about the airbrushed images at People Magazine. Or Vogue. They're not presenting women as we really are, they're latching onto the superficial parts, and it does women no favors.

I would love to see a complete societal turnaround when it comes to glorifying youth and beauty over what women are really all about. It won't happen in my lifetime but I'm happy whenever I see that women are finally getting it that beauty is fleeting and isn't all that satisfying forever.

But I'm still calling ageism when it comes to Martha Stewart and Sports Illustrated. Because the prevailing argument is about her choice to do this, and not about beauty standards or female exploitation as a whole. It truly is about her age. All the rest, as I see it, is noise.

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Well said. Thanks for your reply.

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