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The new vice president, at age 56, is hardly invisible or irrelevant

Kamala Harris is about to make history on Jan. 20, when she will be sworn in as vice president of the United States — the first woman, a Black woman, the first Asian American, the daughter of immigrants. What few if any will be talking about at the inauguration or likely the rest of her term is her age. Harris is 56, an age when women supposedly become invisible and irrelevant (women actually become invisible much earlier than that, according to researchers).

Clearly, Harris is not invisible and irrelevant.

Throughout her run for Democratic president and then as president-elect Joe Biden’s running mate, Harris has unfortunately faced numerous racist and sexist attacks, which are likely not to disappear once she is sworn in. But one thing she has been spared is ageist attacks, most of which have been directed at Biden who, at age 78, will be America’s oldest president, and the typical narratives most women start hearing at midlife. …

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While there’s much to be said about having a romantic partner, we all need more than one person to care about us and care for

How to Not Die Alone: The Surprising Science That Will Help You Find Love, the first book by behavioral scientist turned dating coach Logan Ury, will be published early in the month many of us associate with love — February.

I met Logan a few years ago, when she and her friend Hannah Hughes led a workshop using design concepts to create a more conscious way of coupling. …

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Sinitta Leunen/Pexels

In her new film, Emma Thompson plays a widow who hires a younger sex worker for her own pleasure — it’s not a bad idea

In her next film, Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, which begins filming this year, Emma Thompson plays a 55-year-old sexually inexperienced widow who hires a sex worker in his early 20s. As she describes her character, Nancy Stokes is looking for adventure, connection and sex. Not just any sex — really good sex. For the first time ever.

“Whilst her husband Robert provided a home, a family, something resembling a life, good sex was never on offer. But he’s gone now, and Nancy has a plan. As she says, ‘there are nuns with more sexual experience than me’. So, being the reasonable, practical woman she is, and as an ex-teacher she likes to be organized, she does some thorough research and hires the services of Leo Grande, a sex worker (or ‘sex therapist’ as he prefers it) in his early twenties for a night of bliss.” …

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All too often women stop doing things they enjoy because it’s perceived as diverting too much attention from their husband

George Clooney has a new movie out, The Midnight Sky, and so of course the beloved actor is all over the media promoting it in this highly unusual pandemic year.

While he was filming it, his wife, human rights attorney Amal Clooney, was months into co-writing her 1,000-page book, The Right to a Fair Trial in International Law, an important legal book that she hopes will be used to protect people from abuses of power as the world becomes more authoritarian.

As luck would have it, her book launch (virtual, of course) happened around the same time as his film came out. And while George sings Amal’s praises and jokes that while he was on Howard Stern’s show during her launch talking about whether he crapped in a cat box, he tells NPR that he could hear from their home offices “all these brilliant barristers and world leaders on Amal’s Zoom talking about, you know, how brilliant this book is and how it’s the game-changer and the book that the — that all of these people have been needing.” …

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Luis Machado/Unsplash

Many women see the end of their fertile years as liberating, like a ‘second youth’ — so why are we sold a different narrative?

Almost everything I learned about sex came from books on my parents’ bedroom bookshelf, among them the 1969 best-seller “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask).”

I’m pretty sure I flipped past the section on menopause — I was in the midst of puberty so I didn’t even have a concept of what menopause was. But while doing research for my book on changing the narratives about older women, I stumbled upon a passage in the book, later made into a Woody Allen movie, that floored me:

“To many women, the menopause marks the end of their useful life. They see it as the onset of old age, the beginning of the end. Having outlived their ovaries, they think they may have outlived their usefulness as human beings. They may fear that the remaining years will just be marking time until they follow their glands into oblivion.” …

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Roman Carey/Pexels

‘Tant’’ captures the bad-ass confidence and experience that comes with growing older

I recently referred to myself as middle-aged. My friends immediately shut that down: “You are not middle-aged after 60!”

Actually, the Miriam-Webster dictionary defines middle-age as “the period of life from about 45 to about 64,” so clearly I am middle-aged — at least for the next few months.

But I’m struggling with the names available to me as I leave midlife — senior citizen doesn’t quite capture me. Nor does being an elder (certainly not a wise elder) or a woman of a certain age. Anti-ageism activist Ashton Applewhite likes olders, but I’m not sure I love that. …

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Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

And please don’t leave the financial decisions to your spouse

When I was younger, I never cared about money. I mean, I knew it was important for some essentials — like eating, housing, not running around naked— but getting rich was never my focus.

Fast forward a few decades, after years of working part-time to raise my children during my 14-year marriage, throw in a divorce, which sent me back into the workforce full time, and believe me — I began to really care about money. Because I didn’t have any. And my new full-time position at a newspaper paid me basically what I was making in my 20s. …

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Both are proof that you can have an equal union if you have the right partner

During the early days of the presidential election, I was excited by how the female Democratic hopefuls — Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tulsi Gabbard and Marianne Williamson — had somewhat outside-the-box life stories beyond the traditional romantic script and could be inspirations for young women.

As I wrote at the time:

Some have spent most of their life single. Some married and had children in their mid- to late-30s, and are the breadwinners in their family. Some have no children of their own. Some have been single mothers. Some had starter marriages, divorced and are now in second marriages. …

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At 68, the actor, model, writer and farmer is embracing aging

Model, actor, writer, filmmaker, animal behaviorist and farmer Isabella Rossellini, is happy. In an article in The Guardian, Rossellini, 68 — the daughter of of two movie legends, actor Ingrid Bergman and director Roberto Rossellini —clearly is embracing being an older woman.

“This is the great thing about getting old: things that preoccupied you when you were young cease to preoccupy you. I would have loved to have had one Oscar. Well, too bad. I have six sheep, two dogs, two children.”

After two marriages, to director Martin Scorsese and former model Jonathan Wiedemann, a six-year relationship with David Lynch and a two-year engagement to Gary Oldman, what she doesn’t have anymore is a husband or life partner. …

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Lake Bell and Ed Helms are an unhappily married couple in Bell’s 2017 film ‘I Do … Until I Don’t.’ (Courtesy of the Film Arcade)

Unlike her pro-marriage movie ‘I Do … Until I Don’t,’ marriages that don’t last ‘until death’ can still have happy endings

Actor, director and screenwriter Lake Bell recently announced that she and her husband of seven years, Scott Campbell, are divorcing.

“After 9 years together, 7 years married, 2 sparkling children … Scott and I are ending our marriage, but continuing our loving family. With respect and thoughtful guidance, we will continue to be parental comrades in arms and best friends for all of our days.”

It isn’t unusual for couples to divorce, even if they have young children — daughter Nova is 6 and son Ozgood is 3. What is ironic in this case is that she is divorcing after seven years and just three years ago, Bell wrote, directed and starred in I Do … Until I Don’t, a pro-marriage film that explores the promise of a seven-year marital contract. …


Vicki Larson

Award-winning journalist, coauthor of “The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels,” mom, changing the narrative about older women

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