Womens Issues

Do You Ever Feel Invisible?

I used to feel invisible. Then I found my cause.


Whenever I flip through a mainstream magazine like Cosmo, Elle or Vogue, I feel invisible.

The models don’t look like me, the advice about sex and relationships seem to focus on convincing women to contort themselves into what men want, the fashion is outrageous and ridiculously expensive, and there’s absolutely no talk about intellectual pursuits, women’s rights, or what it’s like being a gay or African-American woman. It all makes me feel like a complete outsider!

Until recently (thank you, Shonda Rhimes!), these magazines were a part of a bigger problem for me. The media, television, movies, and advertising completely ignored women like me. Even magazines that were supposed to be for and about women weren’t seeing me at all.

Do You Ever Feel Invisible?

I’m certainly not the first woman to feel marginalized…

Like me, many women feel they are invisible. When we want to say “hello, my body is my body and you can’t make legislation around it,” we’re sometimes not heard. When we stand next to a billboard of a skinny, white, bikini-clad model (with cartoon-like thigh gap, of course), we feel like unseen outsiders. It’s like women are only seen as a collective of highlights, blow-outs, mini-skirts, and high heels instead of individuals with ambitions, intellect, and talent. There’s a high IQ under this mass of curls, and I wish society would recognize that.

Ladies, if you’ve ever felt invisible or unheard (and I know you have!), you may relate to one of my favorite books: Invisible Man. In this audiobook from Audible, the narrator, known only as Invisible Man, starts out at a “model young black man”. After numerous disappointments and setbacks under the authority of white leaders, he joins an African-American brotherhood. There, he finds solace and understanding — finally! Later, he encounters more disenchantments when he discovers that The Brotherhood has used him, so he goes underground, literally… (he falls into a manhole and decides that maybe this is a better place for him while he decides on his next move.) I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely felt like burying my head in the sand a number of times over the years.

Although African American and women’s issues are not always the same issues, I think we can all agree that woman — especially minority women — have seen some of the harshest treatment, and have fought some of the biggest civil rights battles. Oftentimes, there is an overlap between these two groups when it comes to invisibility.

I can relate intimately to the struggle of the Invisible Man, as I have often felt like an Invisible Woman.

When I was younger, I was taught (like many other young girls) that I should be a “model young woman.” In my life, this translated into trying way too hard to not only look like a model, but to put almost all of my self-worth in my appearance and demure disposition.

However, after plenty of disappointments and frustrations under a male-dominated society, I found solace in feminism. That’s when I grew comfortable in my own skin and gained a much-needed perspective. But I was luckier than the Invisible Man. Instead of feeling manipulated by the feminist movement, I found empowerment. After regrouping (fortunately not in a manhole), I started writing for Urbanette, where I could share ideas about women’s empowerment, and where I could help other women find their voices and become visible.

Do You Ever Feel Invisible?

Author, founder, and CEO of Audible, Don Katz, had much the same experience when he took classes at NYU taught by Ellison, and received support from Ellison when he began his career as a writer.
“Ralph Ellison conveyed that in a nation creating itself without kings, a new order was created based on the color of people’s skin,” explains Katz. Then, in an optimistic tone, he continues by stating that, “the American experience is derived from the process of a nation constantly making and remaking itself. A place that needed to create its own myths and art, even its own sounds, because we had to.”

So as America continues to remake itself, our hope at Urbanette is to create a space where women can remake themselves as strong, empowered individuals. Let us invent our own myths, art, and sounds specific to the visible woman.

Katz had the same instinctive urge as I did when I started writing for Urbanette. We were both empowered by the strong, resilient voice of Ellison. Katz wanted to provide a platform where everyone could glean inspiration from the unbridled power of the well-spoken word. Most of all, he wanted to create a service that could help people find themselves through the spread of ideas and, in so doing, become a visible individual.

I hope that you fall in love with this audiobook as much as I did and let it inspire and empower you to become a Visible Woman. Download it now for free on Audible!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Audible. The opinions and text are all mine.
Avatar of Angela Davis

Originally from Denver and now living in NYC, Angie has been writing since she was small. She lives in the Flatiron district with her partner Tanya and their mutt Sparky (always adopt!) In her spare time she loves to paint (mostly abstract) and talk to random people on the street to find out what's interesting to them.

Reader Discussion: 56 Comments

  1. Avatar of Jaime Mcgee

    Jaime Mcgee

    We can all be visible if we make it seem like it. We just have to make sure that we’re not invisible by speaking out and not just lurk in the corners. We also have to be confident, so that we don’t have to just be wallflowers that do nothing but sit pretty. We have to choose to be visible… In order to be visible. It’s a choice that we have to make.

  2. Avatar of Vicky Valdez

    Vicky Valdez

    I really can relate with this article. I think I feel better now and I know what to do.

  3. Avatar of Shelley Gibbs

    Shelley Gibbs

    Interesting story about the Invisible Man. That was quite an emotional journey that I had to go through as I read it. Thanks for sharing this Audible.

  4. Avatar of Evelyn Higgins

    Evelyn Higgins

    I also find solace in feminism, knowing that there are others who believe in the same thing as me, even if they are sometimes silenced, we still try our best to speak up.

  5. Avatar of Della Blake

    Della Blake

    We all matter, okay? I know that at some point in our lives we do feel invisible at some point, but always remember that no matter what it is that we’re experiencing in this society that will eat us whole if we don’t grow big enough not to be dragged down. We just have to accept ourselves enough so that we don’t feel invisible in this society and that we feel confident no matter what. I also like reminding myself that if we always want to fit in, we will never stand out.

  6. Avatar of Anita Cortez

    Anita Cortez

    I love books that make us feel empowered. I really think that’s what good reads are for.

  7. Avatar of Connie Collier

    Connie Collier

    We can’t help but feel invisible. The society is so much pressure! It feels as if we can’t be ourselves and we’re judged for being unoriginal either. We get judged no matter what we do. It’s so annoying.

  8. Avatar of Helen Gray

    Helen Gray

    Thanks so much for recommending the Invisible Man. If I saw that book I wouldn’t be convinced to read it because I was going to think that if I’m feeling like this just because I’m a woman in this society, an invisible “man” won’t exactly make me feel better. I tried reading it and it was actually a good story. Very enlightening and eye-opening. It made me realize that I had a place in this world no matter what. I actually felt better after reading it. I also want to recommend it.

  9. Avatar of Miriam Love

    Miriam Love

    Now, I understand the reason why you write something like this.

  10. Avatar of Dixie Hawall

    Dixie Hawall

    I love Audible so much. Saves a lot of time in reading by just listening to it.?

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