Influencers Over 40 are Teaching Young People to Embrace Aging

We typically expect social media personalities to be in their 20s or younger, and though many of them are, older content creators are also carving out dedicated followings online.

Studies show that people who are older are often portrayed as inept with technology and out of touch. In reality, according to CBS, influencers who are grandparents or in that age bracket are making a killing online, challenging ageist stereotypes, and inspiring others to get more creative. Older content creators provide better representation of their demographic—and younger fans are paying attention too.

Women especially face harsher consequences for aging, despite the fact that it is simply a natural aspect of life. Media representation of successful, happy older women is scant, and youthfulness is often emphasized. Ageism also presents itself at work and in personal relationships, where women are judged for their appearances or life choices. The message is clear: women should fear aging. However, older female influencers are challenging this notion.

Salina Williams is a 51-year-old influencer who began taking Instagram more seriously in 2021 after using the app for seven years. Williams still works a day job at the Department of Mental Health in New York, where she’s been an employee for the past 21 years, and posts pictures of her fashionable outfits on a daily basis. Recently, she began posting YouTube videos of her staycations, shopping hauls, and fun content in hopes of showing women in her demographic in a positive light.

A mother of three, Williams’ eldest daughter encouraged her to put more effort into growing her following. Williams started to post mostly pictures of her outfits with a focus on things she enjoys. She’s a major fan of brands such as Zara, and her Instagram feed displays bold colors, jumpsuits in fun prints, and silhouette experiments such as using corsets over airy blouses.

“I wear things that are relatable, I think to any age, and I think that’s what comes across,” Williams says. “I always liked fashion, and I just wear what I want to wear.”

Ageism is certainly something Williams has thought about. “After a while you become like an invisible group,” she says. Thankfully, her posts have inspired younger women as they prepare for life after their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. In fact, some of her younger followers are inspired by her work because of her age. Williams often gets messages saying, “I want to be like that when I’m 50” and “I want to dress like that.”

“I think that is the reason that I’m having success right now,” she says. “Women are taught to fear aging. We’re taught after a certain time that life is kind of over. That whatever you were going to do or wanted to be, you should have done it already. And so now that I’m very much in menopause, that I’m supposed to basically like sit in a corner and grow a beard. This is what we’ve been taught growing up that you are no longer in your prime. And so for the younger ladies that are coming of age, they’re like ‘this is amazing.’”

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