#Ageism Toward Women: Why Do YOU Do It?

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Jennifer Lopez will be 50 years old next month. While not necessarily a hardcore one, I’ve been a fan of hers since she began singing. I would say maybe since “Selena.”

One person posted on Twitter a short video of her dancing and really moving, adding the fact that “she will be 50 next month.”

Apparently, this had been “trending” yesterday as well, because when I made a comment about women older than 50 receiving praise for doing things at that age, while I was not talking about Lopez, someone assuming I was talking about her had to let me know that she “deserved attention” for still being able to do so much, as she was nearing the half-century mark.

Inside Edition investigative journalist Lisa Guerrero recently a picture of herself in what looks like a beach setting in which she mentions her age (55). It was immediately met with comments to express “shock” about her being 55, some implying that there’s “no way” she’s that age, and one person commented to say that Guerrero “looks absolutely stunning at 55.”

“At 55”?

Now, I am not oblivious in the least. I believe I get the sentiment behind people making these statements about Lopez, Guerrero and every other woman once she approaches and reaches her 50’s.

And that’s right, I said every other “woman.” Because guess what? This doesn’t happen with men.

Guerrero also posted this tweet in response to a Lopez tweet:

“Meanwhile, Tom Cruise is 56, still playing a leading man with a love interests 20 years younger than he is and nobody ever says… “OMG! He still looks good over 50”

Liam Neeson is still a leading man in action movies. He’s 67.

Denzel Washington, same thing. He’s 64.

Bruce Willis starred in Vice back in 2015. He was 60 at that time.

And the list goes on.

Now some could be particular and say that these action stars often use stunt/body doubles, whereas J.Lo is doing it all herself, with this being a means to justify being so wildly impressed with her still getting it done a month away from turning 50.

But here is the question. Why do we compliment women doing things once they reach a certain age (in this case, obviously 50), or are in such disbelief when someone states that she is in her 50’s, yet we do not do the same with men?

Actually, let me rephrase that…

Why do YOU do it?

I rephrase because society has all these “rules,” and quite frankly, way too many people follow them, especially in terms of how women are viewed differently from men in regards to age. Even many who attempt to separate themselves by pretending as though certain thoughts are theirs and theirs alone.

I know what society says about a woman’s age.

But again…why do YOU say it?

What I loved most about Guerrero’s responses was that she would reply to certain comments with statements, such as, “What’s wrong with 55?” and “55 is not old, btw.” One person even commented to imply that she “looks forever 21,” to which she replied, “I would never want to be 21 again. I am much happier now.”

These are the comments that again, are mostly said to women. Why?

Lopez has been dancing for many, many years, and has always been at the top of her game. I take nothing away from that. I have always been impressed. But why the “extra” because she’s turning 50?

Was she supposed to be “done” by 50?

Was she supposed to be “washed up”?

Retired?

Dead?

Help me out here.

As for Guerrero, why does she need to be 21? Why does she look stunning “at 55”? Respectfully, she has always been stunning. Why the need for the “at 55” part? What do we expect women to look like at 55 where women like Guerrero just totally defies it all?

Again…not stupid here. I know you don’t say it to be malicious or rude. It is a compliment to many to say that they look much younger than they are, especially once they reach a certain age. I get it.

Also, no one is “offended.” Seriously, don’t even bring that into the conversation. As a dancer, Lopez has had to have thick skin for most of her life and as an investigative reporter, Guerrero has likely been called everything under the sun, and that’s not even regarding what happens off camera. This a teachable moment to let people know about the stigma that comes with age in regards to women that don’t exist with men.

As Guerrero tweeted about Cruise, he’s had love interests 20 years younger than him in his movies and no one bats an eye. If that happens to a woman, everyone questions it. You say she’s a “cougar,” that she’s “robbing the cradle” and everything else. I know. I will be 40 years old next month and my wife will be 52 in September. I am more than certain that people look at her far differently than they would look at me if I were the one in my 50’s.

But these stigmas continue, mainly because many people just roll with what society says. That’s why I ask about YOU and why YOU do it.

People are doing things well into their 50’s all the time. So who decided that that’s when life is supposed to end for women, as we watch men well into their 60’s and not think much of it?

Now that I think about it, even in commercials, I would not be surprised if they look at 50+ women in the same way as they look at 60+ and 70+ men.

Why is there this assumption that women all want to be younger? Some do joke about it, yes. But it happens to far more than those who make jokes about being “still 25″ and so on.

Women can do so much; not that that’s some revelation. It’s amazing how we trust women to carry a life inside them for nine months, often multiple times. Yet, once they reach 50, we praise them for being able to use the bathroom on their own.

You know…”at that age.”

So, just maybe…instead of saying that a woman looks good “for her age…”

…try just saying that she “looks good.”

And instead of saying it’s great that a woman “is still doing _____________ at the age of 50…”

…try just saying that “it’s great that she’s still doing it.”

While I certainly cannot speak for women in their 50’s, I would imagine that they want to be complimented for what they do and who they are. Not how old they are as they’re doing it.

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