Society, especially in the United States is very youth driven. You only have to watch the commercials that are constantly running on TV and in magazines. It is all about youth and beauty and when age is shown, it is in the context of trying to make the aging person look younger. Aging is not something that is celebrated, it is something that needs to be beaten by any means available is the message that women are getting. The image of aging in the media is negative and stereotypical. Older women are portrayed as needing help in some way either with fragile bones, dysfunctional sex or hot flashes.
It is all about what people look like. This is perpetuated by Hollywood where even the most beautiful of stars find that their opportunities to work decrease exponentially with their age. The same can be said for many other businesses where youth is valued much more than maturity. With women already earning less than men, the fact that they are aging is placing them in an even more vulnerable position.
It is no wonder that women are desperate to hide their real age. The common perception is that men age like a fine wine and women just get older. No one ever mentions how many wrinkles a man has but let a woman get just one, and it is common knowledge. Have you ever heard a woman’s gray hair described as distinguished? It is common to refer to men that way.
Women are desperate to hide their age because reproductively they have an expiration date. Men on the other hand don’t. Times are changing in that respect and women are able to reproduce even into their old age these days with some help. Somehow the point where women can no longer bear children has become the demarcation of when their youth departs. Naturally, most women don’t want to be thought of as over the hill so they keep their biological age a secret. Nothing makes a grandmother happier than being mistaken for a mother.
Women who marry younger men seem to be prone to hiding their real age. They aren’t necessarily hiding their age from their spouse but from the world at large. While May and December when the man is December has been accepted forever, when the man is the younger partner there has been a stigma attached and now there is even the name cougar attached to this phenomenon. It actually makes perfect sense for women to marry younger men when women have a longer life expectancy.
Aging in the western world is not something that is revered. The world is driven by looks, not by wisdom and when looks start to fade, generally respect goes with it. Women desperately try to hide their age to give themselves a fighting chance in a world where they are still not the equal of men in pay or prestige.
There is a whole generation of older woman coming into power, and with any luck women will no longer have to try to hide their real age and be allowed to age gracefully. If Hilary Clinton is elected president, it may be more than just a feminist victory it may be a victory against aging and how women are perceived. Sine women live longer than men it is very much overdue.
I have been an Internet writer for more than 16 years. While I specialize in travel, I write on a variety of subjects. I love genealogy, food, and fashion. I have 10 grandchildren so family travel is something we often do.