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Is the midlife conversation about to stall?

I thought we were starting to take back the narrative. This week two things happened that made me think I was wrong

Kristin Scott Thomas, taboo-busting as post-menopausal Belinda in Fleabag

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I thought we were there. Or if not there, then well on the way to being somewhere better. The change that has happened in the conversation about midlife/middle-age/whatever you want to call it in just the last three years since I pitched the proposal for The Shift to publishers has been exponential. I mean, we’ve gone from “who’s going to buy a book about middle aged women and menopause?” (Yes, that is a real quote from a real sales director at a publishing house) to the bookshelves being awash with them. So, progress. Of sorts.

I thought older women – by which I mean women who are past the “why haven’t you had babies yet, tick tock tick tock” stage of life – had started to move into the public domain and have a greater presence in our workplaces, on our screens and in our daily conversations. I thought that women had started to be visible in the chasm that previously existed between Jennifer Lawrence and Judi Dench. And we had. There was Kristin Scott Thomas still unsurpassed as Belinda in Fleabag, the post-menopausal woman who launched a thousand memes. There’s Sharon Horgan, Abi Morgan, Sally Wainwright and a host of other screenwriters putting middle-aged women front and centre. There are actresses suddenly finding their careers blooming in their 40s and beyond. Stand up Keeley Hawes, Sarah Lancashire, Adjoa Andoh, Viola Davis, Olivia Coleman, Sandra Oh... There’s barely a day that passes without a national paper running an article about menopause. (These past ten days excepted.) Who could have foreseen that even two years ago?

And then two things happened that made me realise that two steps forward is on the way to being replaced by at least one step back.

That's it for now...

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