Brainstorming a new series celebrating women ages 40 and over jumped started some truly intense self-exploration. Why had I always feared aging? Was the lack of representation of women over 40 shown as anything other than moms, grandmothers, or AARP members shaping my negative view?
I thought about the women I did get starry-eyed over, like Madonna, who were all well under 40. I remembered as a teenager putting up posters of her and other teen idols all over my wall, the same as many other kids my age.
As I examined this childhood ritual through my lens of a now-older woman, I realized that you never see a poster in a teenager’s room that celebrates older women. I wanted to disrupt that traditional thinking with the photos for #Goals. So I invited women age 40 and older to sit before my camera, unabashed and courageous to create their very own poster!
I told them, “Think of this image as one you would show to your younger self and say, ‘Look at what you have forward to: This! This is nothing to be afraid of. You’re going to be awesome when you're older! You’re going to be gorgeous and strong; you’re going to have all this knowledge and confidence. This is the picture that’s going to embody that and show who you are, right now.’”
Working with these women helped me erase the fear of aging, because in each picture, they absolutely became someone that some teenage kid wants to put up on their wall and go, “That’s who I want to be when I’m 50 or 60.”
Artist Statement Throughout history, women have been deemed the weaker sex, and that could not be further from the truth. The strength of a woman is more than a physical attribute, and the strength inside of a woman is immeasurable. Women have triumphed over hardships of inequality. We have climbed the ranks, breaking the glass ceiling to become CEOs and leaders, workers toiling in the trenches wearing construction boots and hard hats, and soldiers marching shoulder to shoulder with fellows in arms to protect the country. Through Machisma, Covington illustrates the dichotomy of women, exposing the beauty that lies not only in the feminine but also in the masculine. Machisma is a visualized indictment of the antiquated gender norms society has yet to cast aside.