I’d Give This a Title, But You Can’t See it Anyway

Friday morning in downtown Nashville, a woman got off the bus, walked in front of the bus to cross the street, and was hit by that same bus and drug “a short distance.” That short distance was a city block. According to the police and news media, the woman’s actions are to blame for the accident because she sought to cross the street when the Don’t Walk sign was lit.

So how did the driver of the bus she just exited not see her right in front of that bus?

I guess because she’s invisible. 

photo found at quotesgram.com

I am too. It’s what keeps clerks from seeing me in stores. It stops others from looking at me as I walk downtown. It’s the reason why women my age are not seen.

But how could a woman who just got off a bus not be noticed by the driver of said bus?

Well, invisibility is rather expected.

Like when I stopped in PetSmart yesterday and the smart-ass clerk that rang me up gave me the passive-aggressive treatment when I didn’t say thank you. You acted like a turd, and you think I’m supposed to say thank you for putting up with your attitude? Well of course I should, because that’s what invisible people do.

Or the many times I’ve been in the check-out line at a store and watched the store clerk be very friendly to the person in front of me and then hardly say a word to me.

And then there’s the time when my mom and I ate at Ruby Tuesday we waited over an hour for two veggie plates. The server just kinda forgot we were there. When mom asked where our food was, the manager was all apologetic and comped the meals. She also offered a free meal our next trip, but who wants to go back to someplace where you are ignored the first time?

I guess by now some of you are tuning me out. Geez, why does she have turn everything into a rant about gender bias? Why can’t she just go back to talking about dogs?

Why can’t she just be invisible? 

photo by Laura Williams 

Yesterday on my way to the car I walked behind two young women. They were just what society tells us women should be: young, pretty, stylishly dressed, and each had a thigh gap. I wanted to tell them to enjoy all that attention while they can, because one day they, too, will have that heavy cloak of invisibility thrust upon them. .

But they didn’t notice me because I was invisible. 


(The woman hit by the bus is a 60+ year old state employee. She will live, but her arm was badly injured and may be amputated. Please keep her in your thoughts.)






32 thoughts on “I’d Give This a Title, But You Can’t See it Anyway

  1. Regardless if it is an uncomfortable subject, female invisibility needs to be talked about in the open. Women’s rights may have ventured into the spotlight in the 70’s but, we still have a very long way to go. Enjoyed the read!

  2. men become “interesting” and “distingué” when they get older and they get an endorsement deal with the worst polluter who sells dolce-DISgusto, women become invisibe and can climb on a giant shelf to pick a 30lbs bucket with wallcolor while the store guy cleans his teeth with a plastic color chart what lands in the sample box after he finished his job… great.

  3. It isn’t just women of a certain age, though. Many people are invisible – people of colour, people with disabilities, homeless people. Thanks for sharing, love to the gang x.

    1. They don’t see the vibrant woman. They see someone who isn’t fertile. That’s sad, because it means all women are judged by what they can give and not by what they are.

  4. Yes, yes, yes I am invisible, too. It is just like you told. We live in a small municipality, and some people have started to see me, I hear their thoughts when they see me, Oh, there comes that difficult old woman. During this fall I have been forgotten twice in a hospital. I was waiting a letter for lab tests and a doctor, it never came, so I phoned and they were so sorry…so we are invisible that way too.
    Fight, sisters, we are old, but not invisible, we are not praying to be seen, we demand it!!!

    1. It’s why I dress in flashy clothing. It’s why I speak to people and force them to speak back because they were taught that’s the polite thing to do. It’s why I write. And write. And write some more.

      But the sad truth is if it wasn’t for the fact I have a gorgeous dog, many people would never have visited this blog in the first place. He has far more friends than I. And many of those friends stopped coming around once I started letting my voice be heard.

  5. My introduction to this was when I started my last job quite a while ago. I was in my early 50s, blonde and perky for my age. My boss was introducing me to the 75 year old CEO. I put my hand out to shake at the same time a much more perky 30 year old woman came by. He ignored my hand and turned to her to greet her and had a quick conversation. I turned to my boss (a 40 year old male) and said, “I guess I’m too old for him.” He hung his head and nodded. The CEO got dementia and died. Karma sucks. And that was my introduction to invisibility. It does exist. I have learned to be more aggressive (why do I have to do that?) It’s why I like animals better. They see me clearly.

  6. This is a very thought provoking post. I think as women, we all have our moments of visibility and invisibility. It’s up to us to not care if people see us. To live as ourselves and be completely happy with that. Nothing else matters.

  7. Dear Jen: I SEE you!!! I can relate to what you wrote….I am now 60 I am ‘expected’ to be invisible. But I am a fighter like you! I will not be ignored or put down! I have lived 120 yrs in these short 60 yrs & I have value & merit.
    I have been thrown out of 3 Vet practices because I ‘dared to disagree’ with what I was told. I am NOT non-complaint nor am I a pushover & people pleaser! The last Vet told me to Euthanize Siddhartha Henry. I blogged about it. Someone showed him my blog (I did not use his last name or Practice). I got a nasty phone call & told I am no longer welcome….
    Astounding! I have never received such disrespect in all my Life…..
    Am I going to shrink into the wallpaper?? Not on your Life!!!
    Let’s go out into the world & remind them of our existence & value!
    Sure Rumpy dog is beautiful & I love reading Rumpy blogs, but I also love reading your blogs too!
    ((((hugs)))) Sherri-Ellen

  8. I guess the same thing can be said about men. In fact, many people aged 40+ feel like they’re invisible in society. As far as gender is concerned, plenty of men feel they’re invisible to women. Some 25 years ago I visited a comedy club with some friends where a 40-something, bespectacled male comic mentioned he’d read an article that stated, when women are interested in a man, they ignore them. Whereupon he said, “Women must be lusting all over me.”

    That got a good laugh from the crowd, but any male over the age of 13 knows exactly what he’s talking about. It’s curious how women tire easily of boorish men (I don’t blame them), but yet, still expect men to make the first move. Therefore many men feel they have to resort to kindergarten-teacher-type antics to get the attention of women; because women are often so self-centered (like children) things have to be loud and colorful to make them take notice. After a while, some men just say to hell with it and end up single and maybe celibate.

    Women, on the other hand, often feel they have to dress up like cute little dolls and pretend they enjoy being pursued like wild animals in a safari hunt.

    Everyone seems to be talking about respect for women, but what about respect for men? Respect is mutual and it’s earned.

  9. Sadly, agism isn’t exclusive to the female gender. Until our society stops worshipping at the alter of ‘the young’ we all become invisible though I think women have an especially heavy load to carry. Sending ‘pawsitive’ thoughts to the injured state employee.

  10. This is heartbreaking and infuriating, all rolled up into one. For such an “advanced” society, we have a long, long way to go. Hugs to you, Jen.

  11. With so much emphasis on selfies – it seems a good number of people don’t see anyone other than themselves.
    Yep, women become even more invisible with age – but that allows a bit of freedom, too – so I don’t mind. It is what it is. I will make my own existence, make noise when I need to, and be thrilled “society” leaves me alone/ignores me.
    Paw waves to all

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