Thursday, March 6, 2008

What Not to Wear

Liz Smith, Leslie Stahl, Mary Wells, and some friends including Lily Tomlin and Candace Bergen are starting a website for women over 40, wowowow.com. It launches Saturday. Apparently it will feature items they believe will be of interest to their demographic such as horoscopes, posts about love and marriage, health and fashion, political commentary. Oh, and conversations among the site's famous principles on such burning topics as their personal memories of Halston.

I'm over 40, but I'm clearly not in whatever their demographic might be. Wowowow will be competing with other popular sites for women heading towards menopause such as iVillage and More. I decided to visit these sites to see what women my age are thinking about. Turns out they're thinking about horoscopes, love and marriage, and how not to dress "old." Both sites look and read like a cross between Cosmo and Better Homes and Gardens. Neither site contains anything that I find to be remotely of interest.

I know myself well enough to know that I'm not a typical woman in her 40s. I'm not married, I don't have kids, home and gardening tips put me to sleep. I'm never on a diet. I don't care what my horoscope says, or about what's new in handbags for spring. I don't expect these kinds of sites to carry the sort of content found on Slate, for example. What I find disturbing is the fact that demographic research has evidently led to the determination that this sort of fluff is what women my age and older crave. This isn't just true on the web; spend a few minutes watching Lifetime, or Oxygen, or even the Hallmark Channel, and you'll see that women in their 40s are believed to care above all about their skin, shop at Chico's, and diet relentlessly. At least that's according to the advertisers. According to the programmers, women over 40 are either in constant peril due to evil men or are about to lose their daughters to evil men. And they're all played by Tracy Gold.

The women behind Wowowow are extremely successful businesspeople who shattered gender barriers in their respective fields. I was just hoping for more from this particular brain trust than horoscopes and gossip.

With that rant, I leave you for a few days. I'll be in LA, the land of women who never turn 40. Have a good weekend, and I'll be back Tuesday morning, undoubtedly with plenty to say.

4 comments:

TW said...

OK...I agree with you for the most part. People get intellectually lazy and complacent, or just plain tired out, unfortunately. But I don't think that issues relating to love, family, or one's home are fluff. Just my opinion.

Have a good weekend.

tunsie said...

i don't understand how people can be married multiple times or have many relationships,maybe these people have trouble liking the person in the mirror,and therefore it is hard 4 them 2 love other people.my father told me that u should treat a women as u wish someone would treat your daughter,if u had 1. i think men think about marriage and children the same amount of time. I disagree with people who r separated who try 2 use the children against their spouse,they r not weapons people,they r human beings.and if u don't like someone don't use your children.use a big baseball bat,just kidding,i am going 2 miss u profusely this weekend.who is going 2 protect me.hurry back.tunsie.tunsie.tunsie

tunsie said...

i work with a number of young women who r very successful.they don't have time for or wish 2 be bothered with gossip or horoscopes.recently they were thrown into a joint babysitter position.2 year old boy,4 year old girl.3 or 4 days a week.they spoil these children 2 the point of no return.how can u look at small children and not be moved. they r not concerned about their diets or impressing anyone with any fad diets,they get their exercise and they don't over eat they take care of themselves VERY WELL.they talk about marriage all the time but i don't think they will jump into anything they r not sure of.tunsie.tunsie.tunsie

Beth said...

wowowo treats women as consumers in a capitalist society; how 19th century. They are boring!