Older women reclaim power through social media

'Women’s economic power is at an all-time high'

Do you remember the last time that you saw an advertisement featuring an older woman at its heart? The chances that you can recall such an ad at a moment’s notice are rather low — and don’t worry, it is not your fault. According to the recent Gender in Advertising 2024 report by CreativeX, older women remain ‘invisible’ in advertising, featuring in less than 2% of all ads in 2023. The findings in the report further revealed that spending on ads in which older people appear fell year on year, with only 1.2% of spend going towards ads featuring older men and women in 2023.

Disappointingly (and sadly, unsurprisingly), when they did appear in ads, both were cast in stereotypical roles, with women being almost twice as likely to be depicted in domestic roles.

Strong online presence, but no representation

With many ads appearing predominantly on social media today, one might argue that older people are less represented because they are less present on these platforms. Yet, a 2020 study by OFCOM examining adults’ media use found that 82% of those aged 45-54 have a social media profile. This percentage decreases (but remains significant) to 58% for 55-64s, 39% for 65-74s, and 21% for over 75s. Naturally, those present online would also like to see themselves represented there. Conducting research into older women’s visibility in media and their literate practices online, Professor of English and Professional Writing at Kennesaw State University, Laura McGrath, PhD, writes: ‘Women over fifty may not see themselves adequately, “represented” in “mainstream media,” and they may feel irrelevant or unsure of their place in youth-dominated popular visual culture’.

However, social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram are now making it possible for women to take matters into their own hands. While labels such as ‘influencer’ and ‘content creator’ are most commonly associated with young adults, many older women are challenging the status quo and amassing hundreds of thousands of followers.

Speaking to MediaCat Magazine, CEO and Co-Founder of Purple Goat Agency, Martyn Sibley said: ‘It’s truly inspiring to see how older influencers are harnessing platforms like Instagram and TikTok to redefine societal expectations and assert their visibility. These creators are not only engaging with a broader audience but are also highlighting the richness of diversity in content creation, which is often overlooked by mainstream media. At Purple Goat Agency we strongly believe in the power of inclusive marketing. It’s essential to represent the full spectrum of human experience in media and advertising. By doing so, we can foster a more inclusive society that values and recognises everyone, regardless of age.’

Here are three women captivating audiences and making waves online…

Grece Ghanem

One woman who refuses to be rendered invisible is Grece Ghanem (@greceghanem), a 59-year-old fashion influencer with 1.7 million followers on Instagram. While Ghanem is now well-known by millions online, she did not join Instagram with the goal of achieving this success. In fact, it was her daughter who convinced her to set up an Instagram account and share her outfits. What started as a hobby quickly turned into a source of income as Ghanem’s followers grew and brands took notice.

Becoming an icon in the fashion world, Ghanem attracted the attention of multiple fashion and beauty brands, including Mango, Mac Cosmetics, Sephora, Effy Jewelery, and Mint Velvet, amongst many more.

When asked whether she intentionally tries to dispel myths around older women in an interview with Glamour, Ghanem said: ‘Yes, it’s no secret that I strongly believe that women should remain visible no matter their age.’

Wendy Euler

While Ghanem’s online presence was prompted by a hobby, another woman turned to the internet with a clear goal in mind — that is, to respond to her exclusion. Known as a model, writer, podcaster, blogger, influencer and age activist, Wendy Euler (@goodbyecroptop) wears many hats.

Sharing what drove her to create Goodbye Crop Top, Euler writes: ‘I first created Goodbye Crop Top in response to a profound lack of women my age across the media landscape. I was 49 years old at the time and I noticed it was a rare thing to see women over 40 portrayed in a positive way in print, on television or across social media platforms. Even worse than stereotypical representation, it seemed to me that women over 50 — and even women over 40 — were largely erased out there, made irrelevant by the simple act of exclusion.’

Explaining that she had felt insulted by this lack of representation, Euler decided to ensure her own inclusion. Today, she has over 224,000 followers on Instagram and has formed partnerships with brands who not only feature her as a model but, more importantly, share her message.

Gym Tan

‘Who wants to listen to someone in her 60s?’

This is the question that today’s 62-year-old fashion influencer Gym Tan (@californiaistoocasual) asked her daughter Mya Miller when she tried to convince her to post her first TikTok video. Apparently, the answer to Tan’s question is over 263,000 people. After over two decades in the fashion industry, Tan posted her first OOTD video on TikTok in 2021. Three weeks later, she had over 10,000 followers and, much like Ghanem, quickly attracted the attention of fashion and beauty brands.


today’s outfit for a haircut! ootd momootd fashion ootn momsoftiktok cashapp13plus MyBrawlSuper SnowballFightAgainstHunger

♬ Doo Doo Doo (Unplugged) – LLUNR

In an interview with TODAY, Tan addressed the lack of representation and inclusion of older women in advertising: ‘The reality of the situation is that the older demographic has a lot of money to spend and there are very few brands that are talking to us.’

Here, it is important to highlight that older women are not the only ones following Tan, Euler, and Ghanem; all three content creators are followed by young women, who are inspired by more than just their style.

Going further than posting OOTD photos and videos, Tan will also feature on a panel hosted by a pharmaceutical company, talking about vibrant living. Speaking to Vogue, she revealed that she wants to use her influence to make a difference and show health executives that ‘this is what being in your sixties looks like now’.

The people want inclusive marketing

Social media has made it possible for older women — and all other under-represented or excluded groups — to take the reins and ensure their representation. Content creators such as Ghanem, Euler, and Tan are not only defying the status quo and fighting ageism; they are captivating the attention of millions of people of all ages. Considering their following, it is obvious that the people want to see more older women included.

Silverfox MGMT, Australia’s first modelling agency exclusively representing talent over 30, is responding to the growing demand for older content creators, launching a special division dedicated to representing ‘mature’ influencers. Commenting on this, CEO and Co-Founder Brigitte Warne told MediaCat Magazine:

‘Working with ‘mature’ influencers offers brands a unique opportunity to connect with a diverse, and often overlooked demographic. These influencers bring authenticity, experience, and a powerful relatability that resonates with mature audiences. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram enable women (and men) of all ages to showcase their style and stories, attracting engaged followers from all walks of life. We have seen first-hand the astronomical benefits (from both a sales and brand perception perspective) that brands are experiencing from this genuine engagement, in turn enhancing their image and broadening their reach within a growing market that highly values inclusivity and real-life representation.

With this in mind, brands must keep in step with the times and make room for older women. Rather than viewing their inclusion as a box-ticking exercise, they must ensure that they give them the representation they deserve. At a time when women’s economic power is at an all-time high and older content creators are attracting the attention of all ages, brands that stick to the status quo have much to lose.

Featured image: influencer Gym Tan with daughter Mya Miller

Svilena Keane, Content & Social Editor at MediaCat Magazine

Svilena is the Content & Social Media Editor at MediaCat Magazine. She has a joint bachelor’s degree from Royal Holloway University, where she studied Comparative Literature and Art History. During her time at Royal Holloway, she was also the Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper The Founder. Since then, she has worked at a number of digital and print publications in Bulgaria and the UK, covering a wide range of topics including arts, culture, business and politics. She is also the founder of the online blog Sip of Culture and a self-published poet.

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