30-year-old monster

Recently I was out with a group of women for drinks when I was brutally reminded about the curse I have been living with for 3 years now, that I am.. wait for it…in my 30s (gasp). I sat there speaking to a young woman – one year younger than me – who was lamenting the fact that now she was in her thirties men would no longer be attracted to her, as if by entering this new decade she had morphed into a hideous beast, too horrific to love. What I found most disturbing about this conversation is how many of her points I too had thought about myself.
I began to have flashbacks from when I was a teenager watching Sex And The City where these powerful successful women in their thirties would complain ad nauseum about having not being able to find a man now that they were in their third decade. I would think how sad to end up like that, where that is your major worry. Yet here I was in exactly in that position, having my own negative beliefs about aging being thrown back in to my face by this incredibly unhappy woman. I realised that something was seriously wrong here.
Olivia Wilde wasn’t even in her thirties yet when she was told she was too old to play her much older cast mate’s “love interest”. Maggie Gyllenhaal was told that as she was in her thirties she was to old to play a 49-year-old male actor’s partner. Ageism is alive in well in Hollywood and it is not that different in real life.
Why is it that a woman’s worth diminishes as she ages, but most notably when she crosses the threshold from her twenties into her thirties, who the hell decided that was a thing? No need to answer I’m pretty sure I know who, it’s the same person who decided tampons should be taxed as luxury items presumably. Yes that guy.
We have been taught that as women our worth lies within the way we look, everything else like intelligence, personality, desires etc – not really relevant, looks that’s what’s important if you have a vagina. And the aforementioned looks must also be youthful.
If you no longer exist between the golden ages of 18-29 you are no longer “fuckable” and therefore pose no value to society. You are now something likened to the hunchback, and should promptly get back into you bell-tower before someone sees you I assume. None of this is new information, but what surprised me is how much I had bought into these ridiculous notions as well.
I realised that for the past few years I have believed that I too had lost value because I was no longer in my twenties. But I don’t want to hide away now that I am more than 3 decades old. It is yet another shackle placed on women in an attempt to control and to that I say no thank you. Age doesn’t devalue us, it expands us. Now that I have had this epiphany I somehow need to find a way to live that.

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