Ageism is Antiquated: Women's History Month
Ladies, how many times have you heard some deviation of the following questions or statements:
Why are you still single? Something must be wrong with you… you must be crazy…
Usually, the person asking these questions and making these statements is just as, if not more single than you, and it’s typically a man shooting his shot. If we’re honest with ourselves, these subtle proclamations about your singleness are deeply triggering, and they’re intended to be. These questions are strategically used to disarm you, to make you feel inferior to the person asking. These statements are an attempt to make you feel uncertain, insecure with your age… surely you must give this man a chance because if you don’t, well, “the likelihood of you finding a man will certainly go down as you get older…” so, the man’s logic goes, “you better give me a chance and treat me like a king because I’m your last hope!”
We instantly go on the defense, scrambling to find some reasonable explanation about why we’re single… how we just haven’t found the right one, that we’re intentionally single, or that we promise, we’re not crazy; yet, we never step back to ask the interrogator, “why are you single? You must be crazy… what’s wrong with you?” We are trained to see men as somehow more valuable without evaluating the oppressive nature of his energy, without asking him to explain his own singleness.
For centuries, women have been judged, categorized, and measured by our youth. We have been forced to justify who we are. The irony is that the lot of us who have chosen to be single are typically more centered in our own identities and have chosen to not only know better but to do better. We have chosen not to betray ourselves for the validation of having any ol’ man. In watching the traumatizing, man-centered experiences many of our friends have had with emotionally or physically abusive relationships, or after surviving our own, we have decided that we will wait until we meet and connect with a partner that can meet us on our level of emotional wellness and love capacity or one who can bring us up to his… and there is nothing wrong with that.
Unfortunately, society has raised lots of narcissistic, sociopathic men who lack empathy, excuse dishonesty and integrity in the name of infidelity, and has promoted, even glorified treating women in an inhumane way simply because, “that’s just what men do…” gratefully, we are patient enough to wait for the men who don’t rely on social norms to tell them how to be human or how to practice honesty and integrity on a daily basis. This just means that we, women, may have to wait a little longer for the men like that, who also turn us on and make us want to curl up next to him with our most feminine, girly, googly eyes. He’s out there, for sure. Patience is key.
My mother, Gloria Jones, MBA, recently brought up a great point. People are living longer these days, so, is it realistic for us to expect humans to use antiquated timelines to compare our success in life? In her day, people lived very short lives. Because of which, they had children younger, built families, checked off boxes quickly as life wasn’t likely to be some grand, extended ordeal. Nowadays, we are seeing women like Halle Berry, Janet Jackson, Gabrielle Union, Cameron Diaz, and other celebrity couples, choosing to have children in their late 40s and early 50s, even if they have to use alternative means of pregnancy.
Much of human behavior is biologically centered around reproduction
We are evolving. Unlike much of the other species in the animal kingdom, humans have the ability to make informed decisions, to rationalize, and to dictate their life circumstances. Because of which, humans are seeing the value in taking more time to make lifelong commitments of raising children and choosing life partners.
Cameron Diaz, 48, notes that having a child early in life, leaves a lot of room for grand, generational mistakes. You’re just going with the flow. You may take for granted the ease at which you had children. You may mess up and have major financial mishaps, choose to procreate with horrible people, or find your children more of a burden than a blessing. When you wait until you are clear, rooted, and firm within yourself to have children, that decision is very intentional. You have worked hard to bring life into the world. You are able to fully commit yourself to the process of raising children, unselfishly, unbegrudgingly. The process can be fuller because you, as a mother, know yourself first.
We are in very unique times. Not only are we experiencing a pandemic, but universally, culture is changing. We are experiencing women’s, racial, police, education, and gender reforms. Often, when we look back at history, we imagine some massive, visual movements. We think of protests and boycotts, but we don’t often give homage to the individuals that spark change by simply committing to their worth, changing in their own homes and family dynamics. We don’t have an awareness of the women who decide to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, reshaping the way business has transitioned from simple buyer/supplier to interpersonal buying relationships (ethical/responsible business practices). We don’t acknowledge the women who choose to mother singly rather than allowing her abusive husband to take his anger and insecurities out on her...the same mother who puts her sons and daughters in counseling after leaving to heal their trauma. We don’t see how this defiant act teaches a new generation of men to be more engaged with their emotions, more expressive in communicating their feelings.
Cultural shifts don’t simply happen on tv and social media. Cultural shifts happen when one person says “no,” to traditionally oppressive, stagnant belief systems. Cultural shifts happen when women, the mothers of earth, say, “okay, this is how we’ll do things from here on out…” and humanity has no choice but to follow suit. Cultural shifts and progress happens when we empower women.
We need to do away with antiquated concepts of age being a determining factor for the value of womanhood so that we can appreciate ourselves and the women in our lives for the superbeings that we are. We need to stop looking to validate women’s existence by their age, using it to off-center them. We need to understand that culture is shifting and that age is a construct determined by your mindset. I have a 98-year-old grandmother who is youthful. Yet, I have 35-year-old friends who are old… mindset.
Age = wisdom, clarity, precision, resiliency, agility, confidence, and trust within yourself.
Now, this article wasn’t supposed to be about cultural shifts, per se, but in women’s history month, I have to give you what’s on my heart. And, in speaking my truth, I am doing my part in reshaping history. So, in honor of Women’s History Month, I want to take a moment to honor the history we are making. Honor yourself for the sacrifices you are making to reshape culture… honor yourself for the decisions you make, each day, to be truer to yourself. Take a moment to be aware that people are watching and growing from you. These simple acts are history.
Happy Women’s History Month