Last week, when we were looking for accomplished women to take part in our Insider Tour of Downtown NYC, we asked someone we know about a particular writer who has done fabulous work. This was her answer:
“She’s extremely sensitive about her age. She is in her 50s, but she’s so concerned about it that she removed herself from the voting rolls to keep her age impossible to discern.”
‘She’s so concerned about it that she removed herself from the voting rolls to keep her age impossible to discern.’
In other words, to be associated with a platform for women over 45 would identify herself as a woman over 45. How young is she trying to pass off as?
The more jarring part of that response is that a woman would decide not to vote (in these times especially!) to keep her age from getting out to the public. Besides being shocked and saddened, we had to stop to wonder: Does your age go down on voting records? We didn’t know that.
Do You Tell Your Age?
We thought the writer’s attitude toward age was retro, a throwback to the days when it was completely taboo to ask the age-old question about a woman’s age. We thought we were way past that—or we hoped we were. Really, what is all our progress as women for if we can’t own and embrace this most fundamental fact about ourselves?
Then we did what any modern person with an ounce of techno sense does: We asked the question on Facebook.
If you don’t try to get away with a younger age, you are redefining your actual age for other women.
Of the four choices, a whopping 83 percent picked, “State my age proudly.” Okay, we know that this wasn’t quite scientific, given that our tagline “Age Boldly” might have influenced the answer. But still, not bad.
Five percent gave a vague answer such as “old enough.” We were happy that not one of our respondents chose, “I lie about my age.”
Others chose to write in an answer. Here are a few:
“It’s important to ‘admit’ your age. It’s the last vestige of coyness. Also, if you don’t try to get away with a younger age, you are redefining your actual age for other women.”
“Ageism is real, especially for women. Among women friends, fine—but professionally, I keep that to myself.”
“Sometimes I state my age proudly; sometimes with regret. It usually has to do with the state of my hair.”