While I was scrolling through Facebook this morning, I saw this status update from a fellow female writer in LA:
Hey female friends in their 30’s, every time you call yourself “old” the patriarchy wins. #Don’tBuckleToBullshit
I don’t want to invade her privacy by telling you who she is, but I also don’t not want to give her credit for this awesome piece of advice. So if you’re reading this right now, FB friend, you’re awesome.
This piece of wisdom was so resonant for me! I always self-deprecate and call myself ‘old,’ around younger people especially. When I worked at an arts camp this summer and everyone was younger than me, I would always refer to myself as ‘old.’ Or when I’m interacting with fellow MFA students who are in their early-mid-20s, I call myself ‘old.’
But why am I doing that? There’s simply no reason to! Being in your 30s is young! In fact, a study showed that women feel their most attractive at age 32. When did we get this idea that you’re an older lady when you turn 30? It’s just not true. In terms of physical appearance, I think there’s such a thing as “growing into your looks.” In your 30s, you understand what looks good on you and how to make your natural assets shine.
Additionally, so many people have started new career paths entirely in their 30s and beyond. Famed comedian Rodney Dangerfield was selling aluminum siding in his 30s, and his film career peaked when he was in his 50s and 60s. That’s just the one example that always comes to mind, but there are a ton of others.
So how about we make a pact to not call ourselves old? Cause it’s kind of like when super attractive people can’t acknowledge how attractive they are. And we all know that sucks.
I call myself “old” all the time as a joke but I don’t really mean it. I never stopped to think that this is feeding into the status quo of patriarchy. An AHA! moment.
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It was an “Aha!” moment for me too. So glad we both had that experience.