I just had a birthday so age is still a lively conversation as folks wish me a belated birthday. It has been an interesting experience with the number of people who have broken the “never ask a woman her age” rule. Not that I’m offended by the question. And I do truthfully tell my age when asked. Actually, I am quite proud of the years I have accumulated, and I don’t think I know any one who would voluntarily take the alternative when they hit 39.
And what is the big whoop about 40 being the new 20? It is what it is…40. Men never seem to have these conversations. So, why do we have them? Why do we sneak around and lie about our age? And isn’t it backward in this commercialized societal trap to say you are younger than you are?
Let’s face it. It is a pointless game unless you own stock in cosmetics. Women over the magic age of 39 in this society are invisible unless you have discovered something, are a celebrity or you’re running from the law!
I just don’t get it. Women have been lying (and there are no little lies) about age for decades and generations. What was the purpose and what were women trying to achieve? And if we haven’t achieved the goal, why do we continue perpetuating this crazy game that will only trap our young sisters, daughters and nieces?
What will they do or think when this golden commodity called youth that can open doors to jobs, careers, political, community or church opportunities slams shut because they have a birthday and no longer fit the “young” category and the next 20-30 something is waiting to take their seat?
Valora K Starr is Women of the ELCA’s director for discipleship.
Photo by Ben Sutherland, used with permission