Women over 40 have more power — at home, at work, in politics, in the world — than ever before.
That’s one of the key takeaways from a recent survey of 500 women over 40. We were already feeling confident about middle age women’s power — Jumble & Flow’s raison d’être — but what we didn’t know was just how good they feel about themselves.
Enter: Fancy, a New York–based creative agency that specializes in marketing to the 40-and-over demographic. In 2018, Fancy conducted a survey to ask American women ages 40 to about 60 how they feel about themselves and how brands market to them.
Here’s my favorite part: More than 80% of these women said they feel younger, sexier, or cooler than they predicted they would feel when they were younger. The vast majority feel quite powerful and fulfilled.
If you’re wondering about the diversity of the women surveyed, it was pretty diverse. The Fancy team interviewed women across demographics — women in cities, suburbs, and the country. Women who are home with the kids and women who are the primary earners. Women of all ethnicities and salary levels. Women who are married, unmarried, with children and without.
“We interviewed women in lots of different life circumstances, and not surprisingly, they all had a lot to say,” explains Erica Fite, Fancy’s founding partner. “The vast majority of women feel misunderstood by the very same companies that want her to buy their goods and services.”
Fite and the Fancy team say that women over 40 have definitely evolved — yet the advertising that tries to reach her is largely missing the mark. “Despite changing life experiences and attitudes, marketers continue to pigeon-hole her into spaces that grow more and more inaccurate by the day, missing the mark.”
What’s more, folks tend to think of the over-40 crowd as Gen X, but guess what? The oldest of the Millennial generation are rapidly approaching 40. In other words, brands should probably start rethinking their assumptions of what makes 40-plus women tick.
What exactly are brands getting wrong? Here’s a summary of some of the most interesting stats.
7 out of 10 women over 40 in the Fancy survey say yes.
Should brands play a role in advancing gender equality?
8 out of 10 say yes.
Should brands play a positive role debunking gender stereotypes?
9 out of 10 say yes.
“Women [are] often portrayed as overly emotional, weaker and concerned with looks only.”
“Brands don’t seem to have captured the ‘ageless’ feeling that a lot of us feel. Ads for women 40-plus are about slowing down… not living incredible lives that we’ve earned and can afford.”
“I think they don’t even think about us if we don’t belong on either Girls or The Golden Girls. They don’t value women 40-plus or even see us as people.”
“I feel as sexy as I did in my 20s but more influential, stronger, and wiser.”
“[We] are just getting started with life…are more confident and achieving things [we] never thought [we] could have done.”
“I realize we are young, sexy, and beautiful.”
Amy Cuevas Schroeder is the founder and CEO of Jumble & Flow and The Midst. By day, she works as the director of educational content for Unusual Ventures. She started her first business, Venus Zine, in her dorm room at Michigan State University, and later sold the company. She now lives in the Chicago area, and is raising twin girls with her husband, Martin, a therapist.
Between Venus and The Midst, she’s worked as a content leader for Etsy, Minted, and Abstract, and has written for NYLON, Pitchfork, The Startup, West Elm, and more.
Subscribe to The Midst here.
Amy Cuevas Schroeder
ON THE BLOG
In My Prime: interviews with women thriving in midlife
Pregnancy test and pregnancy over 40
Pelvic health: Everything women need to know
Adventures in Perimenopause, essays by women in perimenopause and menopause
What is perimenopause? An empowering guide to everything you need to know
Jumble & Flow art prints, home decor,
and apparel on Society 6
36 gift ideas for every Zodiac sign and horoscope-loving friends
Women's Health Glossary of Terms
6 of the best self-care techniques you’ll never find on Instagram
Ageism in the workplace
What are the best blenders according to ratings and experts?
What is middle age, and what age is officially old?
We're building The Midst
Because over the hill is so over and done with