Women in their 50s are in a precarious position of not being old enough to be seniors but too old to be considered youthful. In many ways we're invisible. We are constantly in search of role models that represent these "tweener" years. When you add curviness to the mix, the representation becomes even smaller and less flattering.
Respectability takes many forms. When you grow up a certain way, it's expected that you'll travel a certain path: serve on boards, go to cocktail parties, attend important conferences, maybe even give a TED talk if you really have made it (after all, what could possibly be more important?) I grew up on that path, but deviated from it, first because of circumstances, then by choice.
Pain is an essential lesson for the emotional leap from childhood to adulthood. Mothers shouldn't be able to see photos in real time that capture their children when they're at their worst -- whether because of too much alcohol or too little happiness. We can, after all, sense when "something is not right," just from a photograph.