Why are middle-aged women these days subject to so much rage and hatred? Why are they so often portrayed as entitled, selfish and morally inferior – frequently by people who see themselves as progressive and kind?
As writer Victoria Smith approached middle age, she made her peace with her sagging neckline and having to cope with ageing parents. But the disdain and vitriol she experienced as a woman in mid-life came as a shock. In her new book Hags: The Demonisation of Middle-Aged Women she traces the ageism and misogyny that have been directed towards older women throughout history and explores why these attitudes have become increasingly prevalent in recent years.
In conversation with The Sunday Times’s Hadley Freeman Smith dissected the popularity of the Karen meme, which references a stereotypically privileged white woman; she explored why women who have the temerity to exist beyond the age at which they are desirable to men are seen as superfluous to society; and she suggested potential solutions which can benefit all women – whether they are hags or hags-in-waiting.
‘My polemic of the year … a book that could not be more necessary (a sword and a shield) in the current climate.’ – Rachel Cooke, The Observer