November 11, 2013 | life

Women, Ageing & Shining Brighter

Superwoman

As a woman, you drift through life (well, maybe not ‘drift’, ’cause let’s face it, this shiz is hard), you run up against every day challenges and you battle them head on, because you’re a badass. We deal with sexism, be it outright or that niggly, under-the-surface, casual, uncomfortable sexism. We deal with harassment. We deal with trying to be everything to everybody. But these things we become adept at dealing with. We obviously don’t like it, but we develop systems to cope. But then, as the birthdays tick off, you encounter a new frontier of hassle and discrimination: ageism. For women, it’s real and it starts earlier than you’d think.

I’m 32. An intelligent, good looking, active, stylish, well traveled 32 (yeah, I’m blowing my own trumpet there – it’s my blog, deal with it). Last week, I was taken out of the running for something blog-related as I was considered too old. They wanted someone younger, fresher. Excuse me while I nurse this punch to the gut. I’m too old – at THIRTY TWO. I won’t list the reasons I’m actually more than capable and an ideal candidate for this specific thing I was turned down for, ’cause at this point, it’s futile but it was a definitely wake up call for me.

It left me feeling that as women, we have a finite amount of time to make an impact that anyone considers valuable.

I laugh when I see girls on Twitter with their ‘OMG! I’m gonna be 24 tomorrow. I’M SO OLD!!!’ tweets. Shut up. Seriously. Trust me when I tell you, you don’t know how good you’ve got it. You don’t need to worry about being old for at least another three years. Around 27/28, that’s when your star starts to dwindle. So live it up now ladies, ’cause apparently, when you hit 32, you are all the way over the hill.

I loathe how there is an expiration date put on us as women. Sure, I get that there’s plenty of historical and anthropological reasoning behind this – our fertility being a huge factor, naturally. Our value as women lay in our ability to reproduce, which historically has always been better when we’re young and nubile – hence, our youth being so prized. But women are now fertile well into our 40s in some cases. But can we just take our wombs out of it for a second and recognise that we have worth beyond churning out babies? That we actually contribute much more to the world at this point?

What scares me is that as my birthdays tick off, I am more acutely aware of how women just disappear. Everything becomes about anti-ageing and anti-wrinkle creams – because those things are bad and unnatural. They shouldn’t happen and we should prevent them at all costs. My mother will be 66 next month and I don’t consider her ‘old’ at all. Obviously, as I get older myself, my perception changes.

But we can’t just be willing to accept that as women, we simply fade away from society once we get our first grey hair. The fact that women are routinely pushed out of things once they reach a certain age is an issue for all of us. We will all reach that point some day and it comes much sooner than you think. We should be outraged by it and kicking up all of the fuss. We have even more worth and value as we age. It’s time all of that wasn’t solely tied up in our looks.

So how about we be the change we want to see. Keep pushing, keep showing up, don’t bow out or give in. We should be seen, we should still be able to work, even with grey hair or wrinkles – even if you’re 32 and have neither of those things yet. We need to take a stand womenz – the time is now.

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7 Comments

thislagosgirl

This is so inspiring. Ladies really need it as everyone is starting to believe these clichΓ©d misconceptions from society. Ladies, live your life !

Emma-Louise

Oh lord, I am so with you I could give up my job and simply write indefinitely about this. Thank you for the post, for standing up and being counted, for continuing to demand equality and fairness from the world and the people who inhabit it.
I turned 28 last week, this week I have recieved 3 press releases, one about skin care for aging skin, one about dating as an older person and best of all one about the menopause. I was a good person and responded politely and informed them that they had put me into a box I was not willing to ever be put into.
I am defined by the way I live my life, the words I write and the legacy I leave behind, not my date of birth or chromosomes.
Thank you again!
Keep on keeping on
Em

nanna

HI Bangs
I turn 40 – well 39 soon.
I am not a number. But a person – I stopped listening to how people articulate ‘old’ or ‘age’ a long time ago. But looking at companies and their constant ridiculous segmentation controlling everything they do is very interesting. ReD Associates I work for did a great project on Baby Boomers for Pernod Ricard. Theres a little movie where our respondent talk about growing older. She is wonderful.
http://www.redassociates.com/cases/pernod-ricard/
Luckily there are companies starting to listen.
We are not all the same….. WOW big revelation πŸ˜‰
Hugs N

Lara

I completely agree that it would be easy to become agitated and insecure as you start heading upwards through your 30’s but I have good news for you. As you head over 40 (I am proud to say I am 43) you develop an inner confidence that is even more powerful than you thought. Whilst some women may get there earlier, many women around their 40’s start to find time for themselves, their children are older, they are more secure in their careers and quick frankly they care less about what others think. They are braver, more secure in themselves and gain a whole new lease of life (which can be quite scary for others around them). I am a proud mum of 3 and am now lucky to be living my life the way I want to live it (well almost!). Love the article as always !

Jess

I agree that ageism sucks – but it’s not so nice the other way round either.

“I laugh when I see girls on Twitter with their β€˜OMG! I’m gonna be 24 tomorrow. I’M SO OLD!!!’ tweets. Shut up. Seriously. Trust me when I tell you, you don’t know how good you’ve got it.”

That undermines your argument that you can be ace and achieve loads despite your age.

La Peggio

I’m 40, what I could say to you is

Shut up. Seriously. Trust me when I tell you, you don’t know how good you’ve got it.Β 

But then I’m 40 and I’m wise and what I’m going to tell you is

The older you get and the less your appearance is factored in when you relate to other people. This is the moment when it comes out who you really are and what you really are worth.

Take it positively as an opportunity to improve yourself and to see what you are made of deep inside.

Good luck x

Lotte

For most of our life we are always younger than some one and better off.

‘I’M SO OLD!!!’. Shut up. Seriously. Trust me when I tell you, you don’t know how good you’ve got it.’

The 32 year old says to the it to the 24 yr old, the 40 yr old to the 30 yr old, the 80 yr old to the 60 yr old…

Don’t worry about it and then we won’t have to regret wasting time, energy and opportunities thinking we were past it well before we really were!

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