Watch: Tips for Showing “Mature Female Friendships”

photo of 3 women

If you’re marketing to women over 40, take the time to understand what that looks like. Here’s some advice to get you started.

Welcome to Shutterstoop, a video series in which Shutterstock’s senior director of content marketing, Jennifer Braunschweiger (shown center), has a casual conversation with a colleague from her stoop in Brooklyn, New York.

In this installment, she sits down with contributor Didi Gluck (left) to discuss the right and wrong way to show “mature female friendships.” Stay tuned for the next episode, when she chats with executive producer Tanya Jones (right).

Finding More Accurate Portrayals of Mature Women

What does friendship among women over forty look like? That’s the question Shutterstock contributor Didi Gluck set out to answer in her recent essay about the visual representation of “mature female friendships.”

“What I found was there’s a lot of imagery out there about what people think women over forty do, versus what women over forty actually do—which is really not that different from what anybody else does,” Gluck tells Shutterstock’s Jennifer Braunschweiger. “It’s like, suddenly, when you’re looking for imagery of female friendships over forty, everybody [is] either doing something like water aerobics, which sort of projects old . . . [or they’re] holding mugs of tea.”

To learn more about Gluck’s findings—and get her tips on how to do right by women in their prime—watch her Shutterstoop appearance below.

3 Takeaway Tips

1. Don’t Put Women over Forty in the Corner

“There was a lot of ‘woman as not center of life anymore’ [in the photos I found online],” Gluck says. “In that the mature woman in the photo, the woman over forty, would be either shown in the background of the group or would be shown positioned next to her teenage daughter—suddenly second or third fiddle to everybody else.”

Instead of sidelining women over forty, make them the focus of your images.

Mature Female Friends
Drinking tea while gazing languidly through a rain-spattered window? Just no. Image via Monkey Business Images.

2. Capture Quiet Confidence

“This is a no-baloney woman,” Gluck says. “This is not somebody who’s amazed by things she’s never seen before . . . You’re not constantly trying to vamp for the camera—except for when you are. And, hello, women over forty absolutely do that. But, I do think that the thing to remember is this is a person who has lived longer, seen a little more, is a little more confident in what she knows.”

Try to capture that.

New Year Selfie
Selfies don’t just belong to the kids. Image via Olena Yakobchuk.

3. Ditch the Stereotypes

Women over forty do more than drink hot tea together. “What I encourage people to do when they’re trying to capture what female friendships look like over forty—or what women in general look like over forty—is maybe consider the activity they’re doing before you even consider what age they are,” Gluck says. “[That way], you haven’t already stuck them in a box, like, ‘This is a tea-drinker in yoga pants on her way to water aerobics.’”

Mature Friends Shopping
Water aerobics? Please. Image via Monkey Business Images.

“Mature female friends” go hiking, dancing, dining, shopping. They can even be found hanging out on a stoop.

Stay away from the cliché and those old worn-out tropes: