I’m not into the super-heroes genre, but with all the super-hero movies out, I couldn’t help but compare some of the female super-heroes to the traits I see in the women I know. I looked at four of the more familiar super-women and their their powers. Wonder Woman has superhuman strength, speed, agility, durability, endurance and reflexes. She’s agelessness, compassionate, fearless and independent. The Invisible Woman is a single mom of two children who is strong, intelligent and able to use invisible fields of energy. Then you have Supergirl with all the same powers as superman, but the balance of girlish glee and emotional exploration with confidence and physical power. Then there’s Cat-Woman, described as a woman with feline empathy, intelligence, agility and super strength.
I know many women who have super-powers and have used them in their lives for the good of others. Most women don’t even realize they have super-powers, so let me share with you seven of the super powers I’ve seen:
1.Invisibility. In our youth-obsessed culture, often women over 40 become invisible. We see it in marketing, movies, and the media. Although some progress is being made–for example Diane Keaton, at age 70, is the spokes-model for L’Oreal. Goldie Hawn, also 70, is the spokes-model along with her daughter Kate Hudson, for Almay, and Iris Apfel at 92 for MAC Cosmetics. Unfortunately, I struggled to find older women speaking out for other non-beauty products, like life insurance, financial services, automobiles, and other major brands.
In a fun book about invisibility, The Murderous Urges of Ordinary Women, Lois Meltzer, a San Francisco writer tells of the comic adventures of four 50-ish friends who take up vengeance as their mid-life hobby the way other women might take up the flower arranging. They get away with it because no one “sees them” or suspects them…they are the Book Group from Hell!
I think it is our invisibility that makes us all that much for powerful since not only doesn’t the competition or unwitting see us coming, if they do, they generally completely under-estimate us. We can choose to be seen or not…now that’s really a super-power if you think about it. I believe that even if the world may not always see us as we are, we see ourselves with greater clarity at this time of life. We’re better at acknowledging our strengths, the cards we’ve been dealt in life, and better able to laugh at our weaknesses and mistakes. What a gift!
2. Creativity. As many of us have more time since our children are raised and other demands on our time are lessening, our creative juices start flowing. Creativity, coupled with the intelligence we all have, is a powerful combination. I’ve noticed that my friends and I want to explore our creative side….writing, painting, photography, quilting, scrap-booking, etc. We seek new ways of expressing ourselves and are more daring.
3.Courage. We show up to life every day and take on the challenges of life. We have fought for injustices, dealt with problem people and crazy difficult situations over the years, overcome our fears, protected our loved ones, and challenged ourselves by starting businesses, and exploring new relationships. At midlife we courageously tell ourselves and others the truth, even when it’s difficult.
4.Resilience. We’ve all gone through decades of adapting to the roles we’ve needed to play—daughter, mom, wife, career woman, leaders, chauffeurs, party planners, chefs, etc….and we are all still standing. That’s resilience. We have overcome giving birth, deaths of loved ones, personal and global tragedies, and brought joy and comfort to others, often at our own expense. We are more agile and more durable now…..dancing freely to the varied music life brings!
5.Intuition. We all seem to know things, but not at all sure how we know it. There is scientific research which proves that women do become more intuitive as we get older. Marian Diamond, a Berkeley neuroscientist found that as women age, our brain patterns change (the right cerebral cortex), and this increases our intuition, we become more imaginative, and it increases our interdependent thinking. We know intuitively what pleases us and coupled with courage, we are more willing to ask for it than ever before and get what we want—in life, in business, and even in the bedroom! Albert Einstein stated, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is its servant.”
6.Relatedness. Women naturally relate with other women and build communities. I was recently with a group of women who didn’t know each other when we entered the room. Very soon, everyone was chatting, connecting and sharing with one another. Women get together and they seem to immediately bond, as compared with a group of men. It is our social skills which help women to live longer, have richer lives, and less depression in later years.
7. Sense of Humor. One of my favorite secret weapons, I’ve learned that humor can disarm people, cool off difficult situations, connect with someone easily, and help me relax in tense situations. Feminine humor and a smile bring light to a dreary room, tough situations, and dull conversation. It also can increase joy and help reduce pain of others, when used carefully. At this time of life, women seem to laugh more from a deeper place inside. And we can readily laugh at ourselves more often as we look for ways to have fun with our friends, partners, and our families.
I hope this helps you to identify your super-powers, own them and use them in your life. Now, if someone would please tell me how to fly off tall buildings and soar through the sky, let me know…..that’s a power I really wish I had!