Power Surge Chat
July 20, 1997
Host: Dearest (Alice Stamm)
Guest: Nancy Friday

  Read more about Nancy Friday
  Read About Nancy Friday
Order Nancy Friday's books

"The Power of Beauty:
Men, Women and Sex Appeal Since Feminism"

OnlineHost:     FridayFile has entered the room.

Dearest:        I was so pleased when tonight's guest agreed to help me kick off the 
new Power Surge Series about midlife sexuality and intimacy, that I named the
series, "My Menopause, My Sexual Self," fashioned after her bestselling,  
"My Mother, Myself: The Daughter's Search for Identity."  Not only is she an 
international media personality, who has appeared on countless TV and radio 
talk-shows, participated in women's health, sexuality and literary symposiums, 
written for, and been written about in numerous national publications, BUT, she 
is also the author of seven best- selling books on the relationships between men 
and women, as well as the family . . .

My Secret Garden, Forbidden Flowers,   My Mother, Myself, Men In Love, Jealousy . . .
Women On Top, and her most recent book, "The Power Of Beauty: Men, Women and 
Sex Appeal Since Feminism", (Harper-Collins, 1996).

She's bright, she's sassy..she's articulate,  and possesses the courage of her 
convictions and the talent to both verbalize and write about them.
I am pleased to introduce my special guest tonight  . . .

                                  N A N C Y     F R I D A Y 

"The Power Of Beauty" points the way to a new era of social and sexual 
liberation, and healthy self-esteem -- a subject of particular importance as women 
age, and go through the rigors of menopause.

We still want to feel sexy as we embark upon our midlife changes. However, many 
of us don't and aren't certain why we don't. Where has the sexual desire gone? Is 
it physical? Is it emotional? Why do some of us worry about losing our libido during 
and after menopause?  We know we're still physically attractive, but we wonder if 
our partners find us as desirable with the daily hot flashes, the few extra pounds, 
the fact that we're not the young whipper-snappers we once were.

Nancy, a very warm welcome back to Power Surge :)  Would you please share your 
immediate thoughts when you hear the words "women" and "over 40" spoken in the 
same breath?

FridayFile:     Expectation, excitement, thrill of the unknown, a new century, women 
beginning to talk -- women are one another's best permission  givers and worst jailers. 
Now, we need to talk. 

Dearest:        Wonderful, Nancy.. thanks :)  Jesu, go ahead.

JESU8:  Why do I feel like I always want to be alone?  I never was like that.

FridayFile:     But I think that is part of what comes with being free of the 
reproductive years, meaning today we are the first generation of women to create 
a new look for what it means to be over 50.  And look, if you want to be alone and 
that's how you feel, today you have the freedom to do just that, and that may indeed 
be who you really are.

Dearest:        Lindlde, go ahead, please.

Linda Ide:      Explain how women can be the worst jailers  for ourselves and other 

FridayFile:     1 - Women are the permission givers, beginning with mother and because, 
beginning with modern feminism, women were dependent on men we had to be sure no 
one girl got more than any other girl.  We were one another's best friends and we were 
one another's worst jailers.  

Today, women are beginning to feel that they don't have to be like every other woman.  
We are in the Era of Invention and we are inventing ourselves. The women we now 
become will be models of women over 50 that they can believe in and out their weight on...
put their weight on.

Dearest:        Thanks, Nancy. Areukiddn, go ahead, please :)

Areukiddn:      My emotions are on a teeter tooter why do I lose control so easily?

Dearest:        There ya go, an exciting teeter-totter :)

FridayFile:     Because your body is going through changes and so is your mind, your 
emotions. You are on uncharted waters -- relax and get a hold.

Dearest:        Nancy, some ideas about how to "relax and get a hold"  :)

FridayFile:     Take a warm bath, let your mind go think of "uncharted waters." Your 
only memory of a woman over 50 that you liked was your mother. Well, you're all 
alone now. It's an era of invention, hot flashes or not. 

Dearest:        GenEle, please go ahead.

GenEle5612:     What's your advice for women over 40 who need to unplug from the 
negative images of women in the media. It seems I often give away my power to the 
beautiful women in movies and TV. 

FridayFile:     But so do the women 25 and younger. You are not alone in being 
dominated by these  images of impossibly anorexic people.  The trouble is, that 
we who are 40 and 50 don't have  expectation of being 25.  We must invent a look 
that we like and since there are so many of us, if we believe in that look and enjoy 
it it will become a new image.

We are not empty packages, you and I.  We have lived a fascinating life because our 
lives incorporated the most dramatic years of this century.  This is why we have to 
invent that image.  We have to feel easy in our skins.  Everybody wants to be around 
people who are relaxed, at ease, in touch with themselves.

Dearest:        Excellent answer, Nancy. Thanks. PFWLJ, go ahead.

PFWLJ:  How can we educate the media to promote aging women of wisdom in articles 
and ads,  etc.?

FridayFile:     Talk to the people you know who are in the media.  Most of the powerful 
women in the media are over 40 and 50.  How do we get to them?  I'm a writer and I 
try every day. I know many of these women.  Only women can change the societal 
image of women over 50 and part of that image must be sexual.

Dearest:     Nancy, define "sexual" in that context, please?  "Part of that image must 
be sexual"

FridayFile:     Sexual in that context means feeling sexual so that people around you 
recognize it. We all recognize people who feel sexual inside. It is part of how they see 

Dearest:        Thank you, Nancy.  Lani, go ahead now :)

Lani alii:      Will my libido come back after menopause?   

FridayFile:     It never went away.  We have no idea how much we limit ourselves 
about such things as the duration of our so-called sexual years, in response to the 
media. Your body is as sexual now, if you would just recognize this, as it was in your 
pre-adolescent years.  By which I mean that part of our sexual span that includes the  
years of reproduction has a beginning and an end.  That does not mean that our 
sexuality begins and ends with our reproductive years.  We're born sexual and we 
die sexual.

Dearest:        So, we fulfill the media's prophecy about middle aged women?  Do 
some of us become less sexual because we're *supposed* to? 

FridayFile:     Only if you let yourself believe in the media message.  I wish I could 
impress upon women how significant we who are in our 40s, 50s and 60s today, are 
to the culture.  We are the first generation of women to know the 40s and the 50s, to 
have lived through the birth of feminism and now have an empty blackboard on which 
to write how we pioneers are going to invent and age of sexually powerful menopausal 

Dearest:        BLSH, go ahead.

BLSHNANGEL:     THE EXTREMES seems to define my whole life. I find myself wanting 
more for ME of things that were once unimportant.  How can i get myself back on track 
with priorities?

FridayFile:     My opinion is that in these years we are perhaps in a position to be truer 
to ourselves than ever before.  I don't think women realize how much from the time we 
are born. we are programmed to be mothers, good girls.  Remember when you were 
little and played with dolls?

Dearest:    (I can see everyone smiling at that question)

FridayFile:     You were only 3 or 4 and your play with your doll was in reaction to your 
relationship to your mother. You were not yet reproductive.  But you were already 
channeling yourself both in imitation of your mother and in angry reaction to how 
she was.  She was not you.  Now you are 45 or 55 and your life is not programmed 
around motherhood.  Of course you are running to extremes.  Take that energy. And 
also ride it as if you were on a fast, seemingly uncontrollable horse, which in fact you 
can control.        

We women have to buck the so-called wisdom of society that once felt unreproductive
women were useless.  We are the witches, but remember witches were once the most 
beautiful women in the  community.  They were thought to possess too much power  
because of their beauty.

BLSHNANGEL:     Mine is still centered on motherhood, I have a 5 and 6 year old but 
still am in menopause.  (I like that reference to witches)

Dearest:    Areukiddn, go ahead.

Areukiddn:      How do we get the media to change  the image of older women, that we 
are still alive. 

FridayFile:     We must catch the media's eye.  Don't laugh, it is doable. Try writing, try 
doing whatever it is that will get you attention.  Form a group, cause a sleep-in. I don't 
care what you do...I write books about women and sexuality for this very reason. 

The last chapter in my book The Power Of Beauty is titled "Changing the Double 
Standard of Aging."  I love this subject because I am living it. And I will do my 
damndest to make these absolutely the best years of my life.

Dearest:        Wonderful, Nancy.  FlaGrits, go ahead, please :)

FlaGrits:       Maybe we should all be embracing those "extremes" -- run to them, 
instead. Get rid of the guilt.

FridayFile:     Absolutely, yes!  Think, where did you get that guilt and do you believe it 
is justified, knowing what you know today.

Dearest:        Nancy, isn't it possible that during menopause there are so many extremes 
of physical, emotional and spiritual change, that it's not quite that easy to run with 
extremes in other areas? 

FridayFile:     What I would do, regarding extremes, is ask yourself, Is it really so extreme, 
how I feel, what I want to do?  Maybe it's only extreme in terms of how your mother lived.  
Maybe, today calls for extremes.

Dearest:    Thank you, Nancy. Deb, go ahead.

Debbreak:       Nancy, I'm only 42 & have terrible memory lapses, is this an early symptom 
of menopause? 

FridayFile:  LOL.  I think that in menopause our memory becomes very selective.  For 
instance, when I'm writing I remember everything but when I'm speaking I find that the 
next word disappears. I'm curious about this.  Maybe we aren't using our memory correctly?

Dearest:        PhDTorie, go ahead.

PhDTorie:       Having a hard time accepting these changes that it really calls home to my 
aging process.

FridayFile:     I don't know how old PhDTorie is, but I think that all of us have been 
programmed to begin thinking of ourselves as old when menstruation stops.  It is an 
artificial timing for the aging process.

We are going to live longer than any generation of menopausal women before us.
We have to learn how to use this Third Act of our lives productively.  We should not 
accept what previous generations said about menopause carte blanche. Question 
everything.  Invent yourselves

Gaeagirl:       Joycelyn Elders was fired for her powerful thoughts on sexuality. How 
can we help??

FridayFile:     Elders was a heroine and still is.  We must in every instance repeat what 
she said and elaborate on it. One of the greatest problems today is that young people 
grow up in a time when sex can be death.  How can we not educate our children to 
understand how their bodies work, and what better exercise is there than masturbation?

Dearest:        GlenEle, please go ahead.

GenEle5612:     How much responsibility do men have when it comes to our sexual 
feelings about ourselves?  I want my husband to say "you're beautiful," and when he 
doesn't, I too easily blame him. But then, don't we have a responsibility to each other, 
especially at this tenuous time?

FridayFile:     I think men grow weary after a time because we do not believe them when 
they tell us we are beautiful.  We say, 'But do you really think I look good?'  And he knows 
after a few years that it's no good trying to change our own opinion of ourselves.
We believe women much more than we believe men regarding how we look. Men come 
too late in our lives. If a man, a father, helped raise us, bathed us and toilet-trained and we 
grew to believe his opinion, this man who'd seen every part of our bodies, and having 
believed him we would later perhaps believe lovers and husbands.

Dearest:   Excellent, Nancy.  Moss, please go ahead.

LMossholde:     Since we were "programmed" to be caregivers, how do you suggest 
we change this focus?

FridayFile:     Turn it on yourself. You don't have to be responsible at this point in your 
life for anyone but yourself.  I don't mean that in a selfish sense but instead if during 
these years you can focus on creating yourself out of all the years you've already lived, 
knowing what you know, then you will be a font of interesting fascination for others or, 
you will decide that you are the most interesting person you know and you'll spend more 
happy hours alone.  I can't tell you how important I think it is that those of us who lived 
the past 50 years now have the opportunity post-feminism to create a new idea of what 
a woman our age is capable of.

Dearest:    Nancy, how did not having your father around when you were growing up 
affect your feelings about men and sexuality? 

FridayFile:     In a big way.

Dearest:        Share with us, please . . .

FridayFile:     I've gone not full-throttle but a good part of the circle in changing my 
earliest feelings about men.  The first half, no more than that, I felt men were the mystery, 
the answer to everything and then, mostly through writing my books, I discovered that 
yes, I have a tremendous need of a man in my life but I am complete unto myself.

Not having a father was the biggest influence on my life and of that I am sure.  But it 
accounts for my inclination to be easier on men than a lot of other feminists.  I think 
men are only half to blame for where the world is and I'm convinced that only women 
can change women's future.  I am tired unto death of women who blame men for 
all the ills in our lives.

Dearest:  Thank you, Nancy.  Gaeagirl, go ahead.

Gaeagirl:       Do you have a "mentor" workshop? I have read and loved everything
you've written. 

FridayFile:     Wow, thanks!  I don't have any workshops, alas.

Gaeagirl:       :(

FridayFile:     Incidentally, I just got back from Hong Kong, a place I've never been.  And 
you should see and listen to Asian women on the subject of men.  The week I left China 
there was a cover story titled "Staying Single" in a magazine called "Asia Week"  [Who 
can believe magazines, right?]  But these women in a male-dominated society sounded 
like they were having a fascinating time not marrying, not having children, but pursuing 
their work.  If Asia can change, why can't we?

Dearest:  Indeed. Lizzie, go ahead.

MsLizzieB:      I work in a technical corporate environment--any suggestions on how to 
break through that still operating phalanx of the "good ole boy network"?

FridayFile:     Tough question.  I work at home and don't have your experience.  

MsLizzieB:      You can be competent and smart but still not totally included - -very 

FridayFile:     But of one thing I am sure and that is that women's lack of expertise in 
competition leaves us at a terrible disadvantage.  We are most of us not good at competing 
flat out.  

MsLizzieB:      Very true!

FridayFile:     And that is what the work place and the old boy network is about.  It is one 
of the biggest issues for women today.  And nothing is going to help women more than the 
image of women and competitive sports.  Coaches on women's teams tell me that the 
hardest piece of business with young women is convincing them that it is okay to play their 
hardest against their friends during practice.  They are afraid that if they play tough with 
their friends they will lose them. It isn't men we're afraid of beating, it's other women.  We 
are afraid either that we will kill them or that they will kill us.  We have to learn to win and 
lose and shake hands and believe that the other girls will still talk to us tomorrow.  The work 
place, as regards competition, is no different than the playing field.  Either play the game 
to win or don't play.  

Dearest:        Men aren't afraid of losing friends through competition? Is it all one big ball 
game to them? 

FridayFile:     Because they learn to compete as boys time has taught them that there's 
always another game tomorrow.  If boys don't learn to shake hands, win or lose, they 
are as the British say, unclubbable.  Not all men compete well but they have to put a 
good face on it.

Dearest:        Do they look upon love, romance and marriage in the same way? As a 

FridayFile:     I think that competition over a woman is very different for a man.  For 
instance, think of the chastity belt.  Men never liked to lose a woman because they would 
lose face, they would be cuckolded.  This isn't just losing in love, romance, marriage, it 
is losing one's balls.

Dearest:        Interesting... GenEle, go ahead.

GenEle5612:     On the back cover of your book "The Power of Beauty" you exude confidence,
strength and sensuality.  What were you thinking?! I'd like some of that..

Dearest:        Excellent question :)

FridayFile:     LOL

Dearest:        For those who don't know,  LOL = laughing out loud.

FridayFile:     I was thinking, I've just completed the best work of my life and these are, 
no bull, my best years.  I have confidence that I've never had before.  And if I die 
tomorrow remember, girls, I died confident.  I believe wholeheartedly in this idea of 

That picture of me that you liked was real.  What you felt was what I felt and 
that is how this new idea of women over 50 will move across the world.  Reaction by 
reaction by reaction, until people change their minds about us.  

I hate to say this but I have to get up at dawn tomorrow.  Please contact me at my 
new  website -- http://www.nancyfriday.com .  
We will talk about everything and put our images and our words up for everyone to see.

Dearest:    Nancy, thank you for spending this time with us in Power Surge -- answering our
many questions about menopause, midlife and sexuality. Once again, it was a stimulating
and very enlightening experience, and we look forward to having you join us again next
Sunday night, July 27th, for the second installment of "My Menopause, My Sexual

FridayFile:     Dearest, had a great time

Dearest:        Thanks so much, Nancy. You were wonderful, as usual :)
I recommend picking up your own copy of Nancy's newest book, 
"The Power of Beauty: Men, Women and Sex Appeal Since Feminism"  and 
visiting Nancy's developing interactive Web site at http://www.nancyfriday.com.

Dearest:        Let's all thank Nancy for a wonderful evening tonight.
{{{{{{{{ NANCY }}}}}}}}.

FridayFile:     I love you all!

Dearest:        We love you, too :)

LynnCSE:        Secret Garden and More Flowers  had a profound effect on my life. 
Thank you 
SGETT:  {{{Nancy}}}}}
JDuncan395:     THANKS SO MUCH !!!
Gaeagirl:       We love you nancy!!!!  You are a heroine yourself!!!!
GenEle5612:     Thanks so much for your insight!
SGETT:           {S Applause
CescaSF:        Applause!
LMossholde:     Wonderful. Great to talk about confidence
JDuncan395:     Will check out your web site ASAP
RCHCTH:         Thank you
FridayFile:     Hang in there!
Redfencer:      Thank you!
JDuncan395:     WE wILL!!
FridayFile:     A new image!
JDuncan395:     For all of us!!
Dearest:           It's a wonderful Web site :)
THRV Erica:     :::::applause:::::
Redfencer:      Fresh...Young...Minds!
JDuncan395:     Can't wait to see it!!
WINDOCK1:       Thank you, Nancy. 
        Looking forward to more.....
MsLizzieB:      Thanks so much!
LMossholde:     This was a very up lifting chat.
Dearest:       Thanks, Nancy! Thanks for coming, everyone.
                :::banging gavel:::: another Power Surge
                guest conference comes to a close.  G'nite all!

End of Nancy Friday log - 7/20/97

Disclaimer:  Every guest in Power Surge is a highly respected professional. Their 
opinions are their own. Their appearance in Power Surge does not constitute an 
endorsement of their views.

Read Nancy Friday's other transcripts by returning to the Library.

aka Alice Stamm
Power Surge
Founder, Host, Facilitator
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