No 'Well-Behaved Women' Here
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich wrote those words in 1976; in 2007, inspired by their popularity, she wrote a book using them as her title. In it, she described women who did not adhere to the expectations of society, but rather 'disrupted' it. Women who spoke up and showed up for what they wanted and what they believed.
This weekend I had the honor of attending BAM (Bloggers at Midlife), a one-day gathering of female bloggers who write what's on their minds, advocate for issues and brands, and basically share their lives with their readers. They also happen to be women over 40. Many of them, in fact, are over 50 and 60. They are lovely, kind, talented and strong women. Women with voices. Women with followers. Women with power.
While this may come as a surprise to our youth-obsessed culture, these women represent one of the largest and most rapidly growing consumer groups. They are known for their affluence and intelligence. They are proactive about their health, live active lives and make thoughtful purchases. They are knowledgeable about research and trends and open to new products, services and experiences.
The women I met this weekend were teachers and journalists, lawyers and caregivers. They created their blogs to address issues they were dealing with, wondering if anyone was out there who cared. There was and there is.
I started my blog to address my empty nest. When I moved my blog to this new platform, I began to wonder if there were other women addressing these traditional 'midlife' issues. I was stunned at the number who were. I somehow (luckily) found Sharon Hodor Greenthal and, through her, learned about Midlife Boulevard and BAM.
My blog is sporadic. It was semi-anonymous until three months ago. I have spent my entire career in PR--I work with bloggers. I had many excuses not to go to the conference (mostly fear), but I went anyway. And I am so very happy that I did! I found a wonderful group of women who were excited to share what they knew with others. I found a community that believes the same tide can, indeed, lift all ships. I found a tribe.
What I did not find were any 'well-behaved women.' And for that, I am grateful.