For Boomer women, midlife means the freedom to get real and be her authentic self. She won’t respond to marketing tactics that seem contrived or fake-marketing strategies need to “get real” with her. Let’s explore some of the psychology behind this transition.
Up until midlife, the individual is developing the “social” self, which is defined by the need to fit in, belong, and be accepted by others. Authenticity is a matter of finding one’s “real” self and involves integrating the internal, or “secret,” self with the external, or “social” self.
Interestingly, finding what Carl Jung calls the “real self” is about letting go of the ego. Boomer women are not as compelled to make social statements by their brand choices, and they are no longer controlled by the need to have perfect looks and perfect behavior.
Looking for the long-submerged “secret self” is also about listening to one’s own counsel rather than listening to others. Boomer women are more individuated, more autonomous and less influenced by peers and celebrity endorsements. As Lynda shared in our Girlfriends Group:
“You learn with age. You listen to yourself.” – Lynda, 57
With apologies for playing a bit fast and loose with serious concepts of psychology, the youthful focus on one’s “social self” basically means that young people feel it’s more important to be seen as the “right” sort of person, however that is defined-successful, rebellious, winning and so on. Older people have been there, done that, seen through it a billion times.
In midlife, you want more. You want people to know you for who you really are, and to like the real you, not the “pretend” you that you built in your younger days. You want to be your real self all the time. You want to be dealing with other “real selves” and don’t have a lot of patience with contrived personalities (as in perky TV people extolling their fascination and enthusiasm for a product).
Without this merging of the social self and the secret self into the real self, the disconnect between the internal and external selves makes people feel like a fraud and created anxiety about being revealed for who they really are. When people are successful in the merger, they achieve a state of integrity, of wholeness. They feel strong, complete, uncorrupted and more confident.
Boomers-men and women-know themselves, accept themselves, want to be themselves and express themselves and, importantly for marketing to them, want to be seen accurately for who they really are.
This article is part of the Freedom series: