“Advertising is legalized lying.” H. G. Wells

Hollywood movies rarely feature women over forty, and the older women we do see represented in the media, from movie stars to news anchors and even politicians, look much younger, thanks to plastic surgery. As a result, those of us who choose to age naturally, without the aid of plastic surgery, are sometimes seen as “letting ourselves go.”

The image of “perfection” we see in the media also excludes women with disabilities. Disabled women are often portrayed as helpless victims who need protection, or as heroines who have beaten the odds. Because women with bodies that are disabled, fat, or old are seen as deviating from what is “normal” and desirable, we are often presented as stereotypes, rather than as real people. The crotchety old woman, the loudmouthed fat woman, and the disabled woman with a heart of gold are widespread clichés in the media. Rarely is our beauty recognized or acknowledged, and we are almost never portrayed as sexual beings.