Credits: oneinchpunch/ Shutterstock

Age Shaming Women: Time to Bid Adieu to Society Dictating How Women Act

by | January 30, 2019

Have you ever been age shamed or felt your worth being calculated by the number of years you have lived and breathed? Age shaming is real and happens more frequently than we acknowledge. We might not be able to change the attitude of age shamers, but we can certainly change the way we react to it.

Credits: oneinchpunch/ Shutterstock

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Age Shaming Women: Time to Bid Adieu to Society Dictating How Women Act

As I lay my hands on the pretty bottle of an “anti-aging” night healing serum meant for women in their late 20s, the words of a random teen in the street echoed in my ears. I was walking my dog and a teenager walked up to me and in a mild adult-ish voice asked, “can I pet your dog, aunty?”

It wasn’t a dramatic, soul-crushing moment but I could still feel something hurting inside. Where I’m from, “aunty” is a respectful gesture people (kids, teens, and even adults) use while talking to elders (read: way older people). For young people who are older than you but not old enough to be an “aunt” or “uncle,” the words used are “didi/bhaiya” (sis/bro).

To be clear here, I wasn’t age shamed; I just woke up with a rude shock that I might not appear as young as I would like to believe. And this got me thinking about why does aging hurt women more? Why am I upset over a teenager calling me “aunty”? Why don’t we have an “old is gold” or “getting finer with age” kind of notion for women? Why do some women fear aging at all?

The answer could be hidden somewhere in the age shaming and fears associated with it that women have to deal with worldwide.

Credits: Olena Yakobchuk/ Shutterstock

Women are age shamed a lot more than men.

I have seen and heard a lot of men and (unfortunately) women too make comments like, “she doesn’t dress her age” or “that lipstick was too loud for her age” for women who commit the mistake of living their life to the fullest even after passing their proverbial ripened age of late 30s.

And in the era of social media, the age monster is rubbed in the faces of even female celebrities who are aging rather gracefully. Nobody is spared. It doesn’t matter if you look good or bad for your age, you are a woman and you’re aging, so you will be judged. If the age doesn’t show, you’ve had procedures and that’s deemed bad. If the wrinkles and skin folds are showing, “honey you should have taken better care of yourself with exercise, diet, and beauty treatments.” No matter what, the judging won’t stop. You can’t win!

Who can forget The Daily Mail’s pathetic attempt at age shaming X-Files star Gillian Anderson. She brilliantly tore apart the tabloid for its sad sexism in scrutinizing all the possible procedures she might have undergone to preserve her beauty.

In another and more recent event, Lisa Rani Ray, a Canadian actress, TV show host, and philanthropist, got age shamed for the plain old reason that she exists, she is aging, and she dared to post a no-makeup no-filter pic. While the badass reply she gave to the troll is worth applause, the age shaming reply she originally received under her picture highlights inherent misogyny in many people.

Lisa Ray shared a no-makeup no-filter picture of hers over twitter
But that didn’t sit too well with a follower who tweeted “too old” in reply to her picture
Age shaming
Lisa Ray’s winning reply to the troll

Have you ever seen some random dude commenting on a male actor’s picture that he looks too old? Or has anyone tried to cut in an argument a male actor is making just to tell him that he is old and irrelevant so he should stop trying to gain limelight?

Age shaming is used as a tool to shush women who have opinions.

We even have connotations like “old mean woman,” “old woman trying to hog the limelight,” “old woman who still wants to be relevant” doled out quite liberally to every other woman who is past the approved young age bracket and makes the mistake of having an opinion.

Maybe more than holding onto looks, it is the fear of worth being re-evaluated that scares women. Maybe it is the fear of losing the right to have and share an opinion without being called an “irrelevant attention seeking” old woman. It might be the fear of not being able to put on a new edgy outfit, the kind you would particularly feel beautiful in when you weren’t, well, old!

More than feeling old, it is the umpteen sacrifices, things you love but have to give up just because it no longer fits the template for older women that scares a lot of us. For example, I have witnessed behind-the-back age shaming of a 60+ woman just because she loves traveling and goes on vacation every six months. She is living her retirement life to the fullest exploring the world instead of playing the expected sitting-at-home-helping-raise-grandchildren role.

Credits: giorgiomtb/ Shutterstock

Maybe things will change for the better with less age shaming and even less pressure to hold up to the highest standards of eternal beauty. Maybe not!

But it is a big relief to see several women like Lisa Ray around, who flaunt their age rather confidently. Women like the avid traveler I mentioned, going about their lives doing what they love the most unapologetically, are rays of hope.

And as for the pretty bottle of anti-aging serum, it USED to sit on my dresser. Not anymore. I have decided to take a break from the alchemy of preventive anti-aging treatments, constant worries, and the miserable attempts to hiding the signs of ageing. Maybe I’ll celebrate my first wrinkle!


Categories: News


3 Responses to “Age Shaming Women: Time to Bid Adieu to Society Dictating How Women Act”

  1. Avid Reader
    January 31st, 2019 @ 11:18 am

    What does age shaming women have to do with veganism? I thought this was a vegan pregnancy and parenting website but the word ‘vegan’ isn’t mentioned once in this article

  2. Ly
    March 12th, 2019 @ 3:21 am

    I love this article! Thank you!

  3. Satira
    April 27th, 2020 @ 7:24 am

    Thank you for writing out my mind.

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