Ageism Styling You's Nikki Parkinson discusses The Sunday Mail article

Ageism: Just because I’m over 50 doesn’t mean I’m a grandma

Nikki ParkinsonLife 24 Comments

It may have been the adrenaline of finishing the 10km Bridge To Brisbane fun run, a rush of blood to the head, if you like, but when I sat down inception-like in The Sunday Mail subscriber post-race hospitality area and opened The Sunday Mail to read a story about me, I completely overlooked the headline.

But my Instagram followers didn’t. The DMs started flooding in seconds after I posted an Insta Story about the feature … and they’ve kept flowing all day.

Rise of the Insta-Grans: The Sunday Mail August 25, 2019

The Sunday Mail August 25, 2019

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have no problem being labelled a Gran, Granny, Grandma or Nanna … when or if I become one. Last time I looked, you don’t qualify for such a status unless your kids have kids or step-kids. 🤷‍♀️

As I started to reply to each message, the 🤣 emoji was my immediate response. My second response was to check in with my adult kids to find out if they had something to tell me. HAH. Kidding. I can confirm neither are expecting.

Then … ever the person to think the best of people, I tried to explain to those messaging me that I’d been a journo and sub editor in a previous life and mistakes can and do happen. I know that the journalist did also talk to a friend of mine – Karen from @styleloving2 – for the story. And she IS a grandma. Her part of the story may have been cut to fit the space. Again, not unusual in newspaper land. So, maybe the headline and intro made sense when Karen’s bit was in the story?

Or maybe, as the hundreds of messages I received pointed out … the headline writer was trying to be a bit too clever with his or her play on words and, in doing so, missed the mark. Sloppy editing at best; ageism at worst.


I’ll let you think on that for a minute, shall I? If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ll know that my message couldn’t be further from the concept of ageism. I’ve long championed women of all ages – particularly through the #everydaystyle community I started on Instagram in 2103 and also through my fashion label.

It’s long been a mission of mine to flip on its head the idea that fashion should only be represented on one type of woman. Instagram has made that possible. Follow the right people and you’ll have a feed filled with diverse style inspiration. Yes, it’s alive, well and prospering in a sea of youth-focussed fashion marketing.

I believe reaching a certain age doesn’t mean we need to change how we show up in the world – unless you want to change. And I believe that every year on this planet is an absolute gift. Losing my mum suddenly when she was 51 underlined this for me … in the most heartbreaking way.

The reporter – Antonia O’Flaherty – was in no way ageist in her interview with me. She was thoughtful, interested and engaged. I’m grateful for the feature because, while the headline sucks and is mis-representative of who I am, it IS unusual for media to be even interested in featuring women over 40 and 50.

I’ve been in this online world since I was 41 and still maintain that the biggest positive experience I’ve had has been connecting with other women who I otherwise wouldn’t have met. Women, who don’t believe style has a use-by date. Women, who believe you’re only “invisible” if you choose to be. Women, who want to keep getting up each day and grabbing life by the horns. 

It’s about time that the rest of the media and marketing world caught up and opened their eyes. We’re a generation that refuses to be boxed away or hidden.  We’ve got more money to spend on ourselves than our 20 or 30-year-old counterparts. And we plan to be around for a good time AND a long time.

I’d love to hear your thoughts?

Ageism Styling You's Nikki Parkinson discusses The Sunday Mail article

PS. Below the the over-50 influencers I shared with The Sunday Mail for potentially part of the story. They’re all based in south-east Queensland/northern NSW because that’s the main reach of the Sunday Mail. If you’re not following them or the #everydaystyle hashtag, please do.


Comments 24

  1. Agree with the comments above – but I have a few friends who are in the 40-60 age range and they look much more fashion fabulous than I ever will!! Women are just hitting their stride at this age range (with or without grandchildren!) in all aspects of life. Time the rest of the world caught up!

  2. Journalists love the ‘catchy’ the ‘never let the truth get in the way of a good story’. We need positive stories from mature journalists. The SM and CM always love that kind of headline.
    Well said Nikki. Don’t become invisible.

  3. I’m 34 and never even consider your age or the age of the ladies you feature (or the other instagram ladies you’ve referred to). I’m in recovery for Anorexia, and I look to you and others for style inspiration and real body/ real life positivity and successful business woman motivation. I think the only one who cares about your age or labelling it is the journalist. Yes it’s nice that you’ve been featured, but to some the nature of the article isn’t ideal.

    1. Post
  4. I must then too be an Insta Gran, at 56 years of age. I recently gave up my 2000 follower profile ( ktloveslife16) after realising that so many of my followers were men looking for a ” grab a Grannie ” looking to hook up on Insta.
    So I created a new profile kt_sobinich_ 6. Now my following is tiny but growing. I am focusing a lot more on growing a story following, motivating women ( and men ) of all ages to be their best self. To add a little fitness in order to live a full life. To see food not as the enemy but simply to make some better choices. Healthy can be yummy. I use a lot less filters and a lot more “this is me and my world “. So bin ich, German for ” this is how I am “.
    Motivation, gentle encouragement and just a normal view away from the glitz and glam. Far more real life.
    I may be considered a Gran by age however I am still active, living, happy , healthy, productive and enjoying every day. Maybe more relaxed these days which is why I don’t stress about the label of Gran.
    kt_sobinich_6, this is me.
    Have a great day , Karin xx

  5. “… with a swagger that flaunts her age …” – absolutely ageist – this young lady sees women as having a cut-off function button. You can stop living now because you are over 50 (?).
    She will be there one day so I hope she remembers her own words.

    ” … refuting the trend that they are just “insta-grans” …” – excuse me? Just “insta-grans”?
    Just grandmothers? Just!?!? Are women diminished when they become grandparents? Over the hill and onto the garbage dump you go!!!
    Time and age will tell with this journalist.
    If she is lucky, she will become older and wiser

  6. I have a personal theory that the reflex to label women in their fifties and older as grandmas is responsible for some of the challenges those women have in entering or moving around in the workforce.

    No one wants to tell their mum or grandma what to do, and many will struggle with being told what to do (or with being managed) by their mum or grandma.

    Doesn’t matter that you can do more push-ups than the HR manager. Certainly doesn’t count that you can deal with a work crisis with grace and poise.

    Clients often prefer the older woman, which I think is why so many of us choose to work for ourselves if we’re fortunate enough to have that opportunity.

    HR managers and similar look at us and see mum or grandma. And no one wants to see that in the workplace.

  7. As you know, it probably isn’t the journalist’s fault at all, but some sub who didn’t get time to read the story properly – but it is wrong on so many levels. And many women find it very upsetting that they are NOT grandparents, for various reasons. It’s offensive and hurtful to assume a woman is a parent or grandparent just because they are of a certain age … But I agree that at least the story has raised awareness that women of all ages, shapes and sizes can be as classy, beautiful and stylish as they wish to be. I think most of us already knew that but some people have to catch up, clearly!

  8. While it’s great to see our demographic represented in the print media, the whole premise of this story is galling. “Look – people over 50 can harness social media. How remarkable!” The headline-writing sub took their cue from the opening par, presumably written by the ‘thoughtful, interested and engaged’ journalist. Sadly, the journalist demonstrated a complete lack of insight into her story’s target market.

  9. I think that the journalist has succumbed to the pressure to create a catchy heading and in doing so, has missed the mark entirely. Not that you need her endorsement, however I think that you have been quite generous in forgiving this one, Nikki. The term “Gran” should not be used to offset a word like “Instagram” – it’s like asking the question “How can a daggy grandma be using this modern technology so successfully?” So yes, it’s absolutely ageist.

  10. Over 50 or even 60 does not make us old, naming us as grans is a form of stereotyping which I reject . I am 62 would enjoy being a grandma (I am not) but only feel 25, not old not a granny. We can be stylish and do amazing things at any age.Sandy

  11. How sloppy is that headline? No connection with you even though others mentioned may be grandmothers. I was a young Grandma at 47 but I was also a young Mum at 21 when I had our daughter. Totally love my Grandma role to now 8 gkids aged 22 to 4. Totally not the “only life” I have either. Great post Nikki! Denyse x

  12. I’m 76, a proud grandma, and I don’t consider myself ‘elderly’, thank you very much!! (The perspective changes as one gets older, haha )

  13. No, it was not right. That cheeky headline felt condescending to me. I agree, the world needs to catch up and the journalist had an opportunity to showcase this but didn’t.
    Keep on keeping on. You’re fabulous!

  14. ‍♀️ That is soooo unbelievably bad and coming from a female Totally unacceptable Journalism Not a clever play on words I would say totally the opposite Not Very Clever At All ‍♀️

  15. Ugh. I find this sloppy, condescending and unnecessary. Why can’t they talk of your achievements, style and impact without labelling it in such a lazy way. And funny, but I don’t see over-50s men being labelled as Insta-Gramps or Twitter-Gramps. (And speaking of sloppy, Instagram didn’t even launch until 2010…).

    1. I was going to make the same point- no way a 52 year old man in business would be labelled a grandpa. It is not just ageist it is sexist.

  16. As you mention…one needs grandkids to be a Grandma! It’s a narrow minded headline to say the least. It seems the media needs to catch up with real life and see that having Grandkids or not, age has nothing to do with fashion/feeling good about yourself or the ability to use social media

  17. I’m 67 and a Grandma which is just fine, the thing that annoys me is when newspaper reporters will describe someone as elderly when they might only be 60. Eg “ an elderly grandmother was hurt blah blah. Why can’t they just say a 60 year old woman was blah blah or….
    a youthful 60 year old was blah blah.
    Anyway you get my drift and I don’t consider myself old at all.

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