At age 55 I was suddenly faced with the fact that I was now an older woman. I looked around at the general vision of older people in the community and I was far from impressed. it seemed to me that older people had been sidelined and were creeping about trying to stay out of the way. I wanted more, so I decided to do something to try and raise the profile of an older woman, something which as it turned out, inspired some and shocked others. I announced I was going to compete in Natural Bodybuilding. At this time there were hardly any females competing over 40. The immediate response was: “You’re too old to be a bodybuilder,” You’re over 55, you can’t build muscle,” You’re too old to wear a bikini,” It’s not fit and proper for a lady your age to be on stage in public in a bikini,” “You’re too small to be a bodybuilder.”
But I went ahead anyway and worked very hard to improve my body shape and strength. There were those who treated my eforts with disdain and there were those who were inspired by my achievements but one night I had a most validating and wonderful experience.
It was the occaision of the 2007 INBA (International Natural Bodybuilding Association) Australian Championships and I was aged 65. I was walking through the auditorium at the end of the evening and two girls aged about 20 came running up to me all excited.
“We love you,” they said. This took me by surprise. Then they said, “Until we saw you on stage tonight we didn’t know that a woman 60+ could be muscular and in-shape, and wear bikini!” They then added with absolute joy, “We don’t have to be like our grandparents, we can be like you!”
The girls were genuinely in raptures about their new found vision for their older age. I wafted home that night on a dream. I was over the moon. Out of the blue these girls had verified for me that I was actually succeeding in my quest to present a more posiitve vision of the older age female.