Stop Telling Women Their Most Valuable Asset Is Their Youth
This was written in response to G. Rivera’s comments that women should marry young, or not waste their youth married to losers on trial marriages or whatever.
- by J. Bennett
Why, in an era when we are succeeding in so many ways, do we buy into sexist tropes about aging?
…. Appearing on FOX to discuss the piece, Geraldo Rivera noted, to stunned female hosts, that what a woman brings to a marriage “more than anything else” is “her youth.”
Yes, “her youth,” Geraldo continued. Because a woman’s youth, he explained, “is a fragile and diminishing resource.”
Geraldo’s logic went like this: If a woman were to invest two precious years into a beta-marriage, and then, God forbid, have her man reject her (his words, not mine), she’ll have wasted her most valuable asset. The thing that is, obviously, going to determine not just whether a woman will have a family, but whether she’ll have a husband, and live happily ever after, at all.
…But Geraldo’s sin was not simply that what he said was impolitic. It’s that he put bluntly one of the most insidious and persistent smears: that women come with an expiration date.
It’s a concept that is still pounded into us at every turn, from media to pop culture–and not just by septuagenarian TV personalities.
It is there, almost tauntingly, in a recent article in Esquire, which seemed to bask in its own generosity by proclaiming that a woman could still be hot at 42–as if that were a reason to reconsider their value. It’s there in the endless media blitz by Susan Patton, the “Princeton Mom,” who’s managed to create a “mini empire,“as Salon recently put it, from “one crazy op-ed” about how women need to hurry up and find a man.
…The thing is, reality no longer conforms to those old tropes. Women now get the majority of college degrees. We have careers. We are living longer than ever. We can freeze our eggs to buy us biological time.
And yet our conception of what makes a woman desirable and valuable in society hasn’t caught up. From every angle, we continue to hear that we need to “rush.” That we should make it easier and more comfortable for the men around us. That our youth — not necessarily even our fertility — is our most valuable asset.
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(Link): Follow Up Part 2 – Reactions by Other Writers to Sexist, Condescending 50 Something Men Who Think They Are Final Arbiters of If Women Are Attractive Past Age of 40 (Re: Esquire Editorial by Junod)