Jane Seymour Opened Up About Being "Unseen" As She Ages: "Please Respect Me, And Let's Have The Conversation”

Jane Seymour spoke out against feeling "unseen" as she ages, saying men "look over my head and find the nearest man" to talk to, and I'm physically upset.

closeup of her smiling at an event
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Jane is a two-time Golden Globe winner, an Emmy winner, one of the coolest Bond girls in the franchise, and for millennials like me who spent a lot of time with their mothers — the star of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.

closeup of her and her costars on dr. quinnn
Jeff Katz/TV Guide / courtesy Everett Collection

In a panel hosted by actor Tina Lifford as part of a biopharmaceutical company's Speak Up in BE campaign for severe and rare diseases like chronic lung disorder, Jane raised awareness about "unseenism."

closeup of tiffany at an event
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If you're asking what in the world is "unseenism," you're not alone. It's a societal phenomenon in which some people feel "overlooked, unheard, or ignored," and can be based on gender and age biases in healthcare.

"I spoke to a lot of friends of mine, and they said, 'Yes, I am unseen, and I am unheard,'" Jane told People. "I'm on television and people do pay attention to me more than the average person."

Jane Seymour smiles on the red carpet, wearing a v-neck top and beaded fur coat
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The 73-year-old actor described a frustrating situation that reminded me of the difficulties my mother faced when building her second home. "Here in my household, when something breaks down, and I call up and I say, 'Can you help me with this?' The man will actually look over my head and find the nearest man in the room to talk to about it. It's like I'm unseen," Jane said.

  Andrew Toth / FilmMagic
Andrew Toth / FilmMagic

"Like, excuse me, I own this house, I pay for it, I actually made the call to you," Jane continued. "I am the person paying you for this information. Please respect me, and let's have the conversation."

Jane Seymour smiling in a black sequined top at an event
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Aside from home life, another realm where "unseenism" can take place is within the doctor's office, creating anxiety or doubt in the system for women's health.

"I get that 'doctor's nervous' thing, even though I'm a doctor's daughter, and I played one on TV," Jane said, referencing her hit TV show from the 90s. "I always either have someone else with me to take notes, or I've just asked for permission to record it because I don't always take it in at the time that I'm told it. And I don't want to be told, 'Oh, you're losing it. Maybe we should check you for dementia, or you're not listening, or you're just an older woman. That's what happens in life.'"

  Amy Sussman / Getty Images
Amy Sussman / Getty Images

With possible "unseenism" occurring in the doctor's office, Jane urged women to come prepared with questions. "You need to self-advocate," she said. "Ask the questions you want answers to."

According to an "Unseenism" survey conducted by Insmed, "62% of women surveyed stated they feel more overlooked or believe they will feel more overlooked as they age." In addition, "82% of respondents said they leave a doctor's appointment without getting all their questions answered and understanding all that was discussed."

This topic has come up for the actor before. Last year, Jane spoke up about acknowledging the changes she's faced as she ages.

Jane Seymour smiles wearing a red dress with a detailed neckline at a gala event

But don't get it twisted. Jane's awareness of these problematic scenarios doesn't stand a chance against her fulfillment of being a woman. "I love being a woman, I don't say that I want to be a man at all," she added. "But I just would like to be respected and heard; I think when you get older, they kind of look at you like, 'Oh well, she's past her prime. She's a little old woman, she's not important.'"

Jane smiling and posing with arms outstretched at an AMC event, wearing a sleeveless dress
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"I'm 73, and I don't feel old," Jane said, "I realize that the rest of the world probably looks and goes, 'Ohh, that's old.' What I want to do is redefine it."

  Catherine Powell / Getty Images for Paramount+
Catherine Powell / Getty Images for Paramount+

"It's not old," Jane explained to People. "That is wisdom on two legs."

person saying, am i understood

Older folks, LGBTQ+, women, people of color, and those with intersectionality deal with "unseenism" in so many facets of life outside of home repairs and doctor's visits. Yet, this phenomenon is so easy not to acknowledge if it's not happening to you.

Now that Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, has dropped some knowledge on our flaws as a society, let's pay more attention to everyone around us just in case they might feel "unseen."