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"Age is a weapon society uses against women."
January 27, 2014 1:12 PM   Subscribe

"On Turning 30" by Molly Crabapple. posted by Kitteh (90 comments total) 57 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's I suppose an odd thing that ugliness evens this out somewhat: "Sexual attractiveness is too red-raw basic to deny. It's the one power the world grudgingly grants to women." What you've never had, you can't lose, so you can't regret the loss - I didn't see thirty as terrible as this, because I've never had the sort of sexual attractiveness she talks about. If anything, it's positive - I haven't had guys come up to me in the street to tell me how ugly I am since my early twenties; for me, becoming a "shadow woman" is a good thing.
posted by Coobeastie at 1:26 PM on January 27 [23 favorites]


Innocence is a relic of a time when women had the same legal status as children. Innocence is beneficial to your owner. It benefits you not at all.

While I think you could probably quibble with whether the innocent benefit from their innocence in some way (people crave the ability to use "I didn't know!" as an escape, after all), "Innocence is beneficial to your owner" is a fantastic revelation.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:31 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


I am guilty of doing this, not in so much the gross ways depicted in this article, but in other ways that are still ugly and not so nice.

Thanks for posting, this gives me a lot to think about and work through in my own behaviors, mainly towards my two extremely beautiful teenage daughters that I worry may be learning to rely too much on beauty as a tool of power to negotiate their way through life.
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:41 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


There's a line in a Margery Allingham novel about a woman who is doing very nicely in her forties, thank you: "She never had the looks to lose, and so she never lost them".

Honestly, once I got over wishing I was good-looking purely because I hate losing at things, it's been win-win all the way. It really does seem different for girls like Molly Crabapple - for every romantic or social opportunity she's had, she's also had to negotiate a world of bullshit and rage-y violent men that I just never have to deal with. Oh, I get harassed a bit for gender non-conformity, but that whole social world where people see you as a thing to try to fuck and not much more - well, no one was ever mistaking me for beautiful dewy girlhood, even when I was 16, so I never had to put up with it. It looked enviable from the outside for a while, but the more I've seen of the lives of my genuinely beautiful friends, the more I realize that I got off pretty lightly.

Like Coobeastie, I've had people walk right up to me and tell me I'm ugly - but I really do think that's more about entitlement, like they literally could not believe that a person like me dared to show my face without make-up and so on, and it offended them that I wasn't validating their stupid little existences by trying my best to look like/appeal to them. It's not that I'm so good-looking, it's that it bespeaks some kind of weird threatened emotional process to feel that you absolutely must tell someone else that they're ugly. No one not a mass of panic inside would bother.
posted by Frowner at 1:47 PM on January 27 [26 favorites]


Men tell you you'll miss street harassment when its gone.

Reading stuff like this just makes me think I live in a different world entirely from the writer. I have asked my girlfriend at length about harassment etc. and she doesn't get it either, not on anything remotely approaching the weirdly constant basis that articles like this paint.

I cannot even picture 99% of the men I know saying something like the quoted text, either.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 1:54 PM on January 27 [6 favorites]


Meant to add: I find it very hard to imagine this world, and I am very sorry for anyone who has to live in it. I just wonder if my girlfriend(s) has/have been extraordinarily lucky or what.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 1:55 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


I appreciate this article even though I too am looking from the other side of the fence. I turn thirty in a few months and I feel like I get more sexualized attention now than at any other time in my life, perhaps because I seemingly skipped my 20s and only now is my chronological age catching up with the rest of me.
posted by muddgirl at 1:59 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


Street harassment seems like it's a big problem in some US cities and almost nonexistent in others.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:00 PM on January 27 [5 favorites]


Innocence is beneficial to your owner. It benefits you not at all.

Perhaps. But respect for (presumed) innocence benefits many people.
posted by straight at 2:02 PM on January 27


> I just wonder if my girlfriend(s) has/have been extraordinarily lucky or what.

Yes. We've had a number of threads on this; this is the earliest one I was around to participate in. Things have gotten better since then, but there are still a depressing number of people who refuse to accept the reality of harassment.
posted by languagehat at 2:02 PM on January 27 [14 favorites]


My beautiful friends have had the hardest time aging, and many of them are hitting their late 30s with similar lamentations that to my ears sound like the wicked witch of the west when she was hit with the water bucket: OH MY BEAUTIFUL WICKEDNESS.

I've never had to trade on my looks, and I'm increasingly grateful.

Just wait 'til you hit 38, Molly.
posted by mochapickle at 2:03 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


You just need to be in a situation where you CAN see it to realize the river of shit you're missing. I used to work the tradeshow/event circuit and since I was a huge dude, I got nominated to be liaison for the event models/booth babes and for the duration of the show, they put up with an endless river of shit. Part of the reason I had to BE liaison was to fend off the dudes trying to paw them, the guys trying to corner them in the bathrooms or anywhere private, men trying to follow them to their car, men trying to take upskirt shots...

The girls and I had elaborate systems of hand signals and codewords so I could show up and haul dudes off to building/event security to get them bounced and even then we were continually amazed by the new and depraved depths to which men would stoop to molest a woman. I mean the guys who'd set up Rube Goldebergian equipment with a small camera on their shoe hooked to a device on their hand so they could take pictures up girls' skirts were leagues beyond your common depravity.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:03 PM on January 27 [38 favorites]


I live in this world. Men comment on, touch, or stare aggressively at my body everyday (and that has been the case whether I lived in the South, the Pacific NorthWest, or New York City). And I also grew up with a culture that asked me to be innocent as a way to 'protect' me. And to 'protect' me, it was understood that I should get a good man to stand beside me to keep the bad men away. Either way in this scheme, I'm still property. I have deep rage at the world for asking me to be innocent rather than asking men to be considerate.

These words, in particular, rang so so true for me:

"Innocence is not doing. Not running off to New York. Not drinking whiskey till 4 AM. Not fucking that boy or girl because they make your heart scream electric, then waking up unpunished the next day. Not hacking a system rigged against you. Innocence is a relic of a time when women had the same legal status as children. Innocence is beneficial to your owner. It benefits you not at all.

I hated being a child. My happiest day was when I left school and started an adult life where I could travel the world, or at least go to the bathroom without a teacher signing off on it. My early 20s, for all their excitement, were a procession of broke-ness and sexual harassment. But being a grown woman is damn fine."

posted by whimsicalnymph at 2:03 PM on January 27 [26 favorites]


I just wonder if my girlfriend(s) has/have been extraordinarily lucky or what.


Both "lucky" AND "or what", would be my guess. Street harassment is often a function of location, and some cities just haven't got a lot of it. Some industries are more rife with sexist propositioning asswipes on a power trip. My industry is 80% female, so no, sexual harassment on the job hasn't been an overwhelming part of my life.

But also, as I get older, I have come to realize in hindsight that many interactions in my past were FAR more inappropriate than I thought at the time. I was never very pretty, but from a young age I have had both ginormous boobs and almost-impenetrable naivete. People have definitely done and said some disgusting things to me which I misinterpreted merely as "weird," or "confusing."
posted by like_a_friend at 2:04 PM on January 27 [15 favorites]


Steely-eyed Missile Man: "I cannot even picture 99% of the men I know saying something like the quoted text, either."

We interact/pass by so many people in a day that the 1% can really affect a lot of people.
posted by Mitheral at 2:06 PM on January 27 [20 favorites]


Do I miss the street harassment? Nope. The creepy guy in line behind me at the baseball game trying to look down my shirt? Nope. The creepy guy at the gas station who wouldn't figure out I was NOT interested? Nope. But as I settle into my 30s and into motherhood, I have irrational worries that if I'm ever single again, will anyone care?

I am getting older. It is becoming more physically noticeable. It is humbling. But I like myself so much more now.

As one friend of mine, on her 40th birthday, said, "I hated my 20s. My 30s were awesome. At this rate, my 40s will be amazing!"
posted by jillithd at 2:06 PM on January 27 [8 favorites]


"I cannot even picture 99% of the men I know saying something like the quoted text, either."

Also, the fact that you cannot picture it does not mean it never happens. Plenty of people are full of hideous, unpleasant surprises.
posted by like_a_friend at 2:08 PM on January 27 [8 favorites]


"The only real thing 30 took from me was the sense of limitless time."

Please. I mean, really. If I could reassure Ms. Crabapple that she's still very young, I would do so through the lack of perspective revealed by this remark. Wait till cashiers start calling you "Ma'am" or you start getting AARP mailings or you qualify for early retirement to start angsting about the Reaper's fell hand on your shoulder as you try to get "the great work done," 'k?
posted by the sobsister at 2:08 PM on January 27 [10 favorites]


Oh, it happens. It's just limited to where they think they can get away with it. I never had to deal with it much until I moved to a big city and started taking public transit every day. I'm not even pretty, not in the way that Molly is. You still get creeps when they think they can get away with being creepy. If you're the only person on the street or the section of the bus, or if you're waiting for a break in the cars or the light to change. I've had horrible things said to me and the only mistake I made was walking alone outside in public.
posted by domo at 2:09 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


the sobsister, I assure you, she still feels plenty young and realizes that there are plenty of people older than her. It is merely the realization that time is limited that is new. Or, that is how I read the piece.
posted by jillithd at 2:10 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


"I cannot even picture 99% of the men I know saying something like the quoted text, either."

At the same time, a lot of guys will say stuff when they know they can get away with it, or to impress other men - and you'd never know it if they don't think they can get away with it in front of you.

That is another thing for me - because I just don't get sexually harassed (it happened very very occasionally in my early twenties) and guys just don't feel free to say shit to me, sometimes I've given some guys a pass when I should have called them out or cut them off, since I didn't see how they were treating other women friends. Even when I was girlier, I've always basically been a strong-looking (deceptive! no upper arm muscles!), compact, bear-like person with a wide, androgynous face, and men take me seriously. Now that I'm actually older and butcher, in fact, there's a type of guy who really wants me to be a parental figure and seeks to impress me, which is cute....or it would be cute, except that it's rooted in the idea that younger and femmier women can't be taken seriously so you have to go to the older, butcher ones when you want a woman [or anyone, someone you don't think of as a man] who can be addressed as an intellectual.
posted by Frowner at 2:11 PM on January 27


Please. I mean, really. If I could reassure Ms. Crabapple that she's still very young, I would do so through the lack of perspective revealed in this remark.

She didn't say she felt old, she said she became aware that life is not infinite. And why the dismissive quotes around "the great work done"?
posted by like_a_friend at 2:11 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]


I turned 30 last year, and the weight of not having reached certain creative goals weighs on me so much more heavily than losing any aspect of physical attractiveness. When I was in my late teens/early 20s, I used to cut my own hair (badly) and wear baggy pants in an attempt to just go about my life and not have to deal with other people's sexuality all the time.

I was so happy when I reached the stage in my late twenties where I could take control of some of my own sexuality without getting overwhelmed with unwanted attention.
posted by ohisee at 2:12 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]


The trick is to earn your laugh lines.
posted by srboisvert at 2:14 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


'Men tell you you'll miss street harassment when its gone.'

I cannot even picture 99% of the men I know saying something like the quoted text, either.


I think it's something men and women say. It's a massive cultural cliche, along the lines of 'cold for the time of year isn't it?'

(of course people don't include the words 'street harassment' in the sentence, they just say 'You'll miss it when it stops!')
posted by communicator at 2:15 PM on January 27 [5 favorites]


She didn't say she felt old, she said she became aware that life is not infinite.

Thinking about it a bit more, it is a bit surprising that she came to this awareness at the age of 30. This is another one of those things society doesn't really formally tell anyone about, and there's no milestones or solid rituals that teach it. The closest we have is when a loved one or a close friend passes away. That's how I became aware of it.
posted by FJT at 2:19 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


Man, I am being a little tongue-in-cheek here, but we will see the end of a lot of this sexual economics and harassment stuff when we all have access to perfect virtual concubines.
posted by zscore at 2:20 PM on January 27


I cannot even picture 99% of the men I know saying something like the quoted text, either

Maybe not quite that all the time, but when I was younger than I am now, I would often express sincere interest in some topic (knowledge!) only to be crudely confronted with the realization that if the person I was talking to was male, there would often come an almost inevitable moment when I was confronted with an advance.* Now I know better, and expect that if I engage in a conversation with a straight male who is a relative stranger, sex will probably at least partially factor into it. Which I find to be a really weird thing to carry around all the time.

*not blaming anyone for mistaking curiousity for romantic interest-just trying to explain at least one of its effects
posted by likeatoaster at 2:22 PM on January 27 [15 favorites]


I'm 33 (almost 34) and I have liked my body and my position in life every year more and more, the older I get. No, I can't do tequila shots without having a rough day afterwards, but who cares? Sometimes it's fun to act young, and stupid. And sometimes it's fun to be older.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:22 PM on January 27 [5 favorites]


What I take away from this article is the author's view that she has to somehow prove herself worthy (of what I'm not sure) despite her age. With the subjects of harassment and youth and beauty aside am I the only one who has had an opposite experience in life? I look much younger than my years (38) and still have to somehow prove to people that I am not as green as I look.
posted by imaluma at 2:23 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


Oh shoot, I just realize I misunderstood. I thought "I cannot even picture 99% of the men I know saying something like the quoted text, either" was about the comments that men would say to her in coffee shops ("why did you waste my time")
posted by likeatoaster at 2:24 PM on January 27


like_a_friend, you're reading dismissiveness into the quotes for some reason. I'm merely indicating it's a direct quotation for those who haven't read the article.

Additionally, my comment related more to the somewhat-operatic description of the time allotted her, dreading the day she's a doddering 60-year-old with no hopes of future creativity, you know, like Elvis Costello or Ron Howard today.
posted by the sobsister at 2:25 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


Some years ago, I went to a week-long educational retreat at a swank conference centre. It was focussed on an artistic hobby that is roughly equal parts feminine, hippy-dippy and expensive; the hotel and the events were costly. So the attendees were overwhelmingly composed of white, sensibly-shod middle-aged ladies with a certain amount of money and a comfortable width of arse... the stereotypically invisible women. But together, in a great pack of grey hair and cleverness, we were powerful and liberated - released from invisibility by our sheer numbers and aggregate pile of cash.

We abused it shamelessly. Very few fucks were given. There happened to be a AAA hockey team lodging at the same hotel - strong, fit young men, accustomed to being fawned upon - and they got the surprise of their lives as the tables were turned and we ogled them openly, commenting on their deliciousness, suitability as sexual partners, and speculated endowments. They took to travelling in groups and refusing to get on the elevators with us. You could see their eyes get round and panicky when classes let out and we descended en masse to the pub, slipping between them at the bar, carving them off into smaller groups and pressing drinks upon them. Their discomfort was palpable. Eventually they started doing their drinking elsewhere and we were left with the run of the hotel for ourselves.

It was a magical few days. If I were queen of the world, all public spaces would be like that until every man in the world felt in their gut what it was like to be treated like young women are treated.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 2:25 PM on January 27 [50 favorites]


The part that's still dying hard for me is thinking or hoping that some of those men with whom I had great conversations actually wanted to be friends, instead of turning off the minute it becomes apparent that I'm not single. It took me a very long time to figure out when someone was hitting on me, and I still give too much of the benefit of the doubt sometimes.
posted by fiercecupcake at 2:26 PM on January 27 [17 favorites]


It was a magical few days. If I were queen of the world, all public spaces would be like that until every man in the world felt in their gut what it was like to be treated like young women are treated.

Your example really bothers me. You didn't know those guys. There's no reason to do that to people you don't know. By either gender.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:27 PM on January 27 [53 favorites]


The part that's still dying hard for me is thinking or hoping that some of those men with whom I had great conversations actually wanted to be friends, instead of turning off the minute it becomes apparent that I'm not single.

I enthusiastically second this, and would like to add that it happens too the second you get less attractive: half of your male friends will suddenly vanish.
posted by troika at 2:31 PM on January 27 [10 favorites]


Ms. Crabapple is an average artist and an average writer who happens to also be a very attractive, free-spirited young woman.

Remove the sex appeal from the package and all of a sudden the emperor has no clothes. But despite her attempts to generalize, her essay doesn't apply to anyone other than Molly Crabapple herself.

This essay is a great example of the thoughts that go through one's mind when they realize they have just peaked. And how sad it is to peak in the twenties?
posted by gertzedek at 2:35 PM on January 27 [5 favorites]


FJT, I lost a parent when I was much younger than 30, and it definitely taught me the fragility of life and inevitability of death. So at 30 I knew I wouldn't live forever. What I realized at 30 was a little different: that I wouldn't be YOUNG forever.

No, 30 isn't old. But it's an age at which, in our society, you start to see what old will look like for you. For example: I don't have any permanent wrinkles right now, but I can see where they will be. And they will happen! It's not a distant hypothetical, it's a thing that is happening soon. I have started to develop health characteristics which are hereditary, which will affect my later life. The future is taking shape in a way it has not done, previously.

This is also why I think this:

dreading the day she's a doddering 60-year-old with no hopes of future creativity, you know, like Elvis Costello or Ron Howard today.


Is not a very charitable interpretation of the author's message. She doesn't seem to fear the loss of creativity or vitality AT ALL--her passage focuses on cancer and death, which let's be honest, are in fact much more likely outcomes at 60 than at 30.

In my own family, odds of making it to 60 alive, never mind whole and cancer-free, are currently running 50/50. So yes, that means that if there's something I really want to accomplish (there isn't, lucky me), I should probably bank on having a little less than 30 years in which to do it.
posted by like_a_friend at 2:37 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]


In general, I wish there weren't such a predilection of people to view aging as an unfortunate lifestyle choice. Something that happens to you because you did something wrong, like not exercising enough, or not drinking enough water, or somehow giving up. People don't say this outright, but if you listen to the implications, it's there. "Oh he/she got old!" Like it's a surprise.

Blaming the ager is the way we are able to ward off thoughts that we'll get older too.

Physical aging is a tragedy and I'm not romanticizing it. I wish we could have healthy, young bodies forever. But we need a better way of coming to terms with the reality of it, as a culture.
posted by the jam at 2:42 PM on January 27 [17 favorites]


I have the kind of unpopular opinion that the notion that as a 'society' we worship youth and are basically totally over anyone over 27 is not actually true. I think Cosmo and the other check-out line magazines worship 20 year olds. I think the pop music business, which is marketed mostly to teenagers, worships 20 year olds. I think porn worships 20 year olds. I think this has given us the impression that everyone, that our 'society,' worships 20 year olds. I think certain media outlets and music biz folks do this on purpose as part of their marketing by anxiety induction strategy. But I don't think most actual human beings have this sort of lust for 20 year olds, or think that your beauty or sexuality or worth takes any kind of dive at 30 or 40.

In fact, as someone whose age cohort is turning 30 right now, most folks I know think they and their friends are just becoming attractive. Like in your late 20s you are finally an actual person. You are interesting and a bit more together and aren't so dumb. You've experienced a little bit of disappointment and you can laugh at yourself. Your confidence comes from experience and not from just having really tight skin. I think that really a lot, if not most folks over the age of 25, find that way hotter than mere youth.

I even think that some of the cat-calling ceases when you get a bit older not because you are less attractive but because you don't seem as powerless. And really, the cat-calling is never about attractiveness anyway, not really. It's about power and getting away with something and taunting someone. I think when you're 30 you probably look a lot more likely to give the asshole an ear full. And for the non-neanderthals among us who don't have conceptions of beauty and attractiveness and youth that are tied to teen magazines and TMZ, that's a way more attractive thing.

I don't know. I'm 29 and I look back at being 23 and think 'good fucking riddance to that shit.' I see early 20 somethings and I don't think, damn, I wish I was that hot. I think poor kids, I hope you're flossing and not blowing all your money on drugs.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:42 PM on January 27 [40 favorites]


Turning 30 made me cry.

Turning 40 made me laugh.

I can't stop laughing at it. I'm not really sure why. I thought I'd have a hard time of it, because when I was growing up 40 was much older than it is now. But I find myself cheerfully and pridefully telling strangers in the grocery store that damn right, I just turned 40.

I'm wiser and smarter than I was at 30. I'm also 20 pounds heavier. I'm happy with 40, and am looking forward to the 40s as a whole, but I sure wish I could put my 40-year-old mind back into my 30-year-old body. (Honestly, I'd maybe just settle for my 30-year-old knees, because ow.)
posted by mudpuppie at 2:43 PM on January 27 [9 favorites]


I am finding that as my twenties wind up, I'm considered to be 'pretty' at long last and I expect this trend to continue- but the secret has mostly been confidence, maturity and surrounding myself with people who are not jerks, because the older I get the more choice I get on who I can associate with.

The idiots in public won't ever really stop, not unless I'm in babushka mode, and even then I'm told that that's not reliable. I do however, consider my every rising age number keeps away a particular sort of man who preys on the 'innocent'. It always feels like men to whom dating requires a strong power imbalance to feel like they can keep you interested, whether via the comparative wealth that goes with having been in the work force longer or a stacked deck on the life experience front. It's no surprise that cultures that marginalize women marry them off painfully young.

On the other hand, one thing I noticed in D/s relationships, as a female dominant, is that it's not uncommon to see that play out just that with male subs- with the age gulf flipped. Now I don't disapprove, but I really feel like this is more proof that the emphasis on youthful women as desirable really is a power/control thing if people who choose consciously to order their lives in a power imbalance seek it out.

"two extremely beautiful teenage daughters that I worry may be learning to rely too much on beauty as a tool of power to negotiate their way through life"

A pleasing outwards appearance is like being really smart- it gives you an advantage, but it doesn't solve all your problems, and they won't need to be un-pretty to discover that.
posted by Phalene at 2:43 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]


P.S., my laugh lines and crow's feet are fucking awesome.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:44 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


The trick is to earn your laugh lines.

I for one will take whatever unearned laugh lines I can get.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:52 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


Ms. Crabapple is an average artist and an average writer who happens to also be a very attractive, free-spirited young woman.

Your point? You don't like the essay, fine, but dismissing her as average in her field and her writing, but going on to single out her looks reinforces what I think she's saying.

I think it's sad that men and women tend to invalidate a woman's observations and experiences because they think she's hotter/younger than they are. I don't think she's assuming across the board that we all have her looks--because we don't--but she is assuming if you're female and are 30 and over, you have heard the usual bullshit from friends/relatives/strangers telling you that your life is done and Hello, Old Maid Town, Population: YOU.
posted by Kitteh at 2:54 PM on January 27 [24 favorites]


I used to worry a lot about turning 30 too, but it turns out that being a married 35-year-old is WAAAAAAAAAAY better than being a single 20-something.

Staying home, marathoning TV shows and eating cookie dough in bed with my husband and rubbing our respective beer bellies together during sex is soooooooooooo much more fun than worrying about my looks and dating and fending off unwanted advances and having to wonder if the person talking to me is being genuinely friendly or if he just wants to get into my pants.

While I wouldn't mind undoing 10 years of the wear-and-tear that psoriatic arthritis has wrecked on my body, you couldn't pay me enough to relive all the social bullshit of being a hot young single woman.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:54 PM on January 27 [5 favorites]


I'm 46 and....fuck I just ran out of steam.
posted by srboisvert at 2:57 PM on January 27 [12 favorites]


That quote from Rebecca is interesting because it recalls a time when it was actually considered possible for one's thirties to be more attractive than one's twenties -- I can't imagine hearing that line in any movie set in 2014. I remember reading somewhere, could have been here, that in the 1930s and 40s a sophisticated woman in her thirties was considered as or more attractive, albeit in a completely different way, than a 21-year-old. Plenty of actresses' careers (Bette Davis's, for example) took off when they were about 30. Your twenties were for getting married; your thirties were for slinking around in evening gowns and having affairs. Whereas these days pop culture's overall line is that to be attractive in your thirties means looking like you're still in your twenties.

Lutoslawski, whatever your and your friends' personal opinions (which I share!) on the attractiveness of 30-year-olds, we as a society, rather than as individuals, absolutely do worship youth -- what more proof do you need than the fact that women are expected to panic as their 30th birthday approaches? Pretty much every young woman has encountered a million unspoken reinforcements of the idea that you peak at 21. Or possibly 18.
posted by ostro at 2:57 PM on January 27 [7 favorites]


like_a_friend, I take your point, but I return to my primary emphasis, which is Ms. Crabapple on the ramparts exhorting the People,

With luck, there will be 9,000 sunsets to get the great work done...

I found it more than a bit overblown, but, then again, I do not share the author's elevated sense of self-regard.

That said, I assume Ms. Crabapple, having apparently done a lot of deep thinking on this, is also aware that 60 is not a magical age to start fearing cancer and death, as others have noted upthread. So, I'm confused as to her selection of it as the turnoff for Senescence-Decay Turnpike. Unless she moonlights in actuarials.
posted by the sobsister at 2:59 PM on January 27


I was a blathering idiot on my 30th birthday because I was single with a shitty job and the beginnings of what was starting to look like a drinking problem and absolutely shit-scared that my life was over because here was 30 and those two things were all I had to show for it.
posted by Kitteh at 2:59 PM on January 27 [5 favorites]


Jesus Christ, I don't think Ms. Crabapple meant that she would LITERALLY, at age NINE THOUSAND DAYS FROM NOW, suddenly start to think about mortality and cancer (and arthritis, and all the other good stuff that comes with aging). I took it to mean, "I hope I have this span in which to work at something near the capacity I currently enjoy, before old age really starts taking a toll."
posted by Mister_A at 3:06 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


gertzedek:

Ms. Crabapple is an average artist and an average writer who happens to also be a very attractive, free-spirited young woman. Remove the sex appeal from the package and all of a sudden the emperor has no clothes.

I don't think you've put quite enough dismissively sexist contempt into your comment, gertzedek. The asshole curator in her opening sentence still has you beat, although not by much. Try harder next time.

Meanwhile, here's a data point for you, gertzedek: I commissioned a piece of art from Ms. Crabapple last year not because I thought she was sexy and wanted to fuck her brains out, but because I liked her work and thought she would do a good job at portraiture. And she did! I was very pleased with the work she did for me, and would commission work from her again on that basis.

You may argue I have pedestrian tastes (although as I have confidence in my own taste, I'm not obliged to treat your argument with any seriousness), but your assertion that all Ms. Crabapple has going for her is her sex appeal is provably wrong. That you went directly there to dismiss her rather conveniently makes her point.

Mind you, this is not terribly surprising. You're evincing a corollary to Lewis's Law, in that any article about sexism online will feature comments that make the point of the article. Well done, you.

(Disclosure: I now know and like Ms. Crabapple as a person, but had not met her prior to commissioning work from her.)
posted by jscalzi at 3:09 PM on January 27 [83 favorites]


Also relevant to this discussion, the other big age-related judgment we make about women: the ever-shrinking window of when it's acceptable to have a baby. There are plenty of urban middle-class circles where getting pregnant before you're 28 or so brings on whispered judgment about how you're kind of young and was it an accident? But wait until you're 33 or so and all of a sudden the whole world is an expert on your biological clock. So that leaves you with, what, five years in the reduced-judgment zone? It's the same principle of control -- a woman can never do anything quite right, she's always either underripe or overripe.
posted by ostro at 3:11 PM on January 27 [8 favorites]


we as a society, rather than as individuals, absolutely do worship youth -- what more proof do you need than the fact that women are expected to panic as their 30th birthday approaches?

This is what I'm not entirely convinced of. I guess it depends on what we mean by 'society.' But I think a lot of the whole panic about turning 30 is reinforced mostly by people turning 30. Everyone who turns 30 is all 'god, I'm turning 30,' and we make each other afraid of it. But that's all kind of an act, no? I think it's this silly game we think we should be playing, but I don't think the majority of folks in society actually buy into it.

I could be pretty wrong though. I have a tendency to not read the sort of zeitgeist of the times or whatever very well.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:12 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


Mister_A, I never said she "LITERALLY" meant that either. Simply that it was an odd and bombastic way to make a simple point. It's one thing to say "I hope I have a number of good, healthy years to get my work done." It's another thing to light the candles and start singing "Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes...times thirty."
posted by the sobsister at 3:14 PM on January 27


But as you age, the world will tell you you're less worthy, even if you know that's a lie. If there's one thing society won't stand for, it's for a woman to be content.

I turned 50 some time back, and though there is much in this essay I'd endorse, I'd disagree with this part.

In terms of being perceived as physically/sexually attractive, she's quite correct, though older men have the same problem by and large. (It is an ongoing source of wonder to me that my Bear can't seem to see that I'm not amazingly attractive any more.) But I actually find I'm feeling most content and most appreciated by the world at this age. Not to mention, how lovely it is to skip all the routine sexual harassment that comes along with the physical attractiveness.
posted by bearwife at 3:16 PM on January 27


This essay is a great example of the thoughts that go through one's mind when they realize they have just peaked. And how sad it is to peak in the twenties?

Even if someone is "an average artist and an average writer," they're likely to get better as they get older and keep working at it. So that's not what's "peaked." I can certainly imagine you arguing that now that she's supposedly less attractive people will stop buying from her, but she specifically mentions in the article that she's doing better business-wise than ever before, so that's not what's "peaked."

That pretty much leaves us with attractiveness. So your argument is that if her attractiveness peaked in her twenties, then she as a person peaked in her twenties. How nice.

P.S. If by "free-spirited" you mean "does burlesque and has been photographed in her underwear," next time you can just say so.
posted by ostro at 3:21 PM on January 27 [11 favorites]


The really useful thing about a text-only medium like this is that even if you are the best-looking person who ever lived, if your opinions and attitudes are ugly - guess what? We will not be able to care if you are gorgeous on the outside!

I remember when I turned 30 I was going through an extreme kind of existential crisis, but since both my parents had died in the previous year, I kind of had a great excuse. Ordinary angst about turning 30 was beyond my ability.
posted by rtha at 3:22 PM on January 27


Some years ago, I went to a week-long educational retreat at a swank conference centre. It was focussed on an artistic hobby that is roughly equal parts feminine, hippy-dippy and expensive; the hotel and the events were costly. So the attendees were overwhelmingly composed of white, sensibly-shod middle-aged ladies with a certain amount of money and a comfortable width of arse... the stereotypically invisible women. But together, in a great pack of grey hair and cleverness, we were powerful and liberated - released from invisibility by our sheer numbers and aggregate pile of cash.

We abused it shamelessly. Very few fucks were given. There happened to be a AAA hockey team lodging at the same hotel - strong, fit young men, accustomed to being fawned upon - and they got the surprise of their lives as the tables were turned and we ogled them openly, commenting on their deliciousness, suitability as sexual partners, and speculated endowments. They took to travelling in groups and refusing to get on the elevators with us. You could see their eyes get round and panicky when classes let out and we descended en masse to the pub, slipping between them at the bar, carving them off into smaller groups and pressing drinks upon them. Their discomfort was palpable. Eventually they started doing their drinking elsewhere and we were left with the run of the hotel for ourselves.

It was a magical few days. If I were queen of the world, all public spaces would be like that until every man in the world felt in their gut what it was like to be treated like young women are treated.


That is a truly funny story, and it's too bad you spoil it by trying to make it mean something.
posted by michaelh at 3:45 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]


You sure the rest of the gray haired lady brigade didn't just want some hot young manass? Weaksauce response, they should have called your bluff, either winning the game or getting laid.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 3:56 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


If I were queen of the world, all public spaces would be like that until every man in the world felt in their gut what it was like to be treated like young women are treated.

Seconding roomthreeseventeen's comments on this. Had the leadup been the hockey team grab-assing waitresses and making obscene remarks at women on TV, this might've been a good table-turning story. Otherwise, it just comes off as really judgmental and vindictive. "Oh, young hockey players? They must be sexist pigs. At 'em, my sisters!"
posted by the sobsister at 3:59 PM on January 27 [5 favorites]


Ms. Crabapple is an average artist and an average writer who happens to also be a very attractive, free-spirited young woman. Remove the sex appeal from the package and all of a sudden the emperor has no clothes.

Oh, you know what, man. Sure, she's pretty. Have you ever been to New York? It's not as though she's the only good-looking woman there. It's New York. If you really think she's so mind-bogglingly hot that this alone could make her successful, I ask you to actually go to New York sometime. What you find may shock you!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:15 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


Innocence is beneficial to your owner. It benefits you not at all.

This was to me the most insightful section. That's a great observation and along with Phalene's comment above says something very pointed about why our society fetishizes a certain version of youth.

It's ironic that a piece about aging makes her sound so young to me, though. I can remember having similarly intense (though less articulate) conversations about aging when I and friends were turning 30, but a decade later that age feels much less like a turning point than it did then.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:52 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]


I'm happy with 40, and am looking forward to the 40s as a whole, but I sure wish I could put my 40-year-old mind back into my 30-year-old body.

Yes, yes, yes. Especially since the 30s apparently went by while I wasn't looking.

I went from looking young for my age to very much my age (43) so quickly that I still do a double-take in a mirror sometimes, when I realize I'm not that pretty anymore. I don't mind my lost looks really, but I do struggle with the realization that I'm now a middle-aged woman and therefore will often be dismissed more quickly than any time since I was a teenager. I don't know why that bugs me so much - except maybe that it seemed to happen so fast, and I certainly don't feel as mature as I look. You'd think I'd have some gravitas to go with my under-eye bags.
posted by bibliowench at 4:53 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


Steely-eyed missile man: "I cannot even picture 99% of the men I know saying something like the quoted text, either."

And i couldn't picture one of my best friends in highschool, who was truly one of the most happy go lucky smart ass, snarky, positive funny dudes you'd ever meet being a fucking rapist or saying stuff like this either. But then he did.

People continue to surprise me with what they'll say or do when they think they're either in like-minded company, or no one is watching, or whatever. I have no scientific way of proving this as fact, but i'd really like to say i can guarantee that at least one of the people you know who you think is a completely A+ stand up dude has said some shit like this, and probably even done some shit that was worse.

To be clear, i'm talking about general harassing statements, not just the "you'll miss it when it's gone" pull-quote.

Overall though, i'm happy this hasn't become a "street harassment!" "nuh uh!" thread again.
posted by emptythought at 5:24 PM on January 27 [6 favorites]


Yes, yes, yes. Especially since the 30s apparently went by while I wasn't looking.

Wow. Those are my sentiments exactly. I thought of my 30's as an establishing period that are now starting to bear serious fruit. The time sped by so quickly that when 40 came around this year I was literally amazed...then I thought about all that happened. I met my wife, the love of my life who I swore didn't exist. The heartbreak and relationships that allowed me to get to be the person to meet my wife made it all make sense.

Now, at 40, I feel fantastic and confident. All of the knowledge and fuck-ups of the past decades are finally paying off...

..and my wife surprised me with a trip to the Kentucky Derby for my 40th. I still don't see a downside. Not that I have a choice.
posted by Benway at 5:37 PM on January 27


Also relevant to this discussion, the other big age-related judgment we make about women: the ever-shrinking window of when it's acceptable to have a baby.

And how when you are no longer able to have one, you somehow have less potential.

I had a real rough stretch in my mid-30s. I was working as an editor, by contract, when my main client dissolved her business and I had to go back into the job market. This was right about the same time the economy tanked, and it was seriously hard to even get a callback, much less an interview, much less a job. Broke, with few prospects and having to borrow money from my folks as a thirtysomething was really depressing. And then one day I saw an ad for egg donation. I had a brief "well, I'm not going to use them" thought. But before I could even decide whether to really consider it, I got to the fine print and read that you have to be under 34 or something.

That's what finally broke me. Not only did no one want to hire me, NO ONE EVEN WANTED MY DAMN EGGS!!

That seriously IS what broke me. Until I told my mother, and she expressed profound relief that there wouldn't be children of mine out there who weren't her grandchildren.
posted by mudpuppie at 5:40 PM on January 27 [6 favorites]


Read this earlier today and thought it was fantastic, even if not spot on about everything. She seems young to me (I'm 46) and her experience isn't mine, but I can imagine how a lot of young women now feel that way.
posted by immlass at 5:55 PM on January 27


Safe beyond the cronely boundaries of 40, I can tell you; it's pretty sweet to be off the creepdar. Though I wouldn't mind a new set of knees.

Of course, I'm not cronely enough that too much cleavage or dressing up plus cleavage doesn't get me a few stares, which reminds me that such attention is flattering for a second, and then discomfiting after that. Oh well, soon enough that'll be gone too.

Which is not to say I enjoyed turning 40. I had never really thought I would be 40; it was an unimaginable boundary. I still am not sure what to make of it, but I'm mostly having a good time, so..shrug. Death comes for us all, might as well keep doing while I can do.
posted by emjaybee at 5:58 PM on January 27


I'm about to turn 30 in a couple of years and I barely feel like I've earned 28. I feel like I'm fucking up my life so much and don't have any of my shit together at all - most of it is due to circumstances outside my control, but come on, surely I could be more stable and calmer than this pathetic mess?

At least babyhood isn't really a concern for me (kids? yeah no) and well, given my constant foreign nature I'm sure I'll be harassed my entire life, but I feel like I fail at Adult and don't know if I ever will get there without resetting myself over and over.
posted by divabat at 6:16 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


When you turn 30, pow! Everything becomes crystal clear. It's transcendent. It's also a real bummer because you're strapped to that big ole wheel o' reincarnation, wondering why you didn't high tail it outta there with Michael York.
posted by Mister_A at 6:33 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


But together, in a great pack of grey hair and cleverness, we were powerful and liberated - released from invisibility by our sheer numbers and aggregate pile of cash.

Your story doesn't really seem to describe a group of liberated individuals, but rather a group that has bought into the lies and oppression propagated by the capitalist patriarchy.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:15 PM on January 27


Not only that, but you co opted the predatory habits of creepers.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:19 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


Your example really bothers me. You didn't know those guys. There's no reason to do that to people you don't know. By either gender.

Sorry, as a man I quite disagree with this. I think society would change more rapidly than it is if cockwavers couldn't count on being largely safe from reciprocity.
posted by lastobelus at 7:28 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


I gotta say, I'm really enjoying my 35-year-old frumpy mom privilege. Nobody considers me a sex object, people take me seriously, and NOBODY wants to cross me. When I was in my 20s and I told teenagers behind me at the movies to STFU, they'd make fun of me, but now they're all like, "YES MA'AM." And if I go get the usher in my 20s he was like "uh, whatever" and now the usher is like "YES MA'AM."

I always heard about getting old and losing my sex-appeal and visibility disappearing, but it has not been so bad really. I feel like I'm taken more seriously and have more weight in the community. I'm sure it varies not just by person but by place and by professional milieu. But man, people take me so much more seriously now that I'm A Woman In Her Thirties.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:47 PM on January 27 [11 favorites]


I don't really agree with this statement. I feel that younger women are the ones who are used as weapons. The media turns them into sex objects and uses them to sell sell sell, which works to both diminish the respect and credibility of younger women.
posted by perspicaturous at 7:49 PM on January 27


I don't really agree with this statement. I feel that younger women are the ones who are used as weapons.

The only thing society hates more than an old woman is a young woman. Because society mostly kind of hates women.
posted by like_a_friend at 8:25 PM on January 27 [19 favorites]


That was a good read, very insightful. The comments in this thread are also enlightening, sometimes surprisingly so.

Those excellent lines on innocence remind me of the poem Fearful Women by the inimitable Carolyn Kizer, specifically this section:

But let's go back to the beginning
when sinners didn't know that they were sinning.

He, one rib short: she lived to rue it
when Adam said to God, "She made me do it."

Eve learned that learning was a dangerous thing
for her: no end of trouble would it bring.

An educated woman is a danger.
Lock up your mate! Keep a submissive stranger

like Darby's Joan, content with church and Kinder,
not like that sainted Joan, burnt to a cinder.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:10 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


I always heard about getting old and losing my sex-appeal and visibility disappearing, but it has not been so bad really. I feel like I'm taken more seriously and have more weight in the community. I'm sure it varies not just by person but by place and by professional milieu. But man, people take me so much more seriously now that I'm A Woman In Her Thirties.

God, yes. Plus, when did 30 become the "oh noes middle age" turning point?? I'm an 80s-90s kid and could swear it was 40, plus, people were pretty open about it being a sort of joke at 40 because, as others have said here too, you actually feel awesome about it. Only another two and a half decades to retirement and relaxation!

I have one of those faces that looked older than my age until I hit 20, and since then, kind of stayed stuck at 20-25 according to others. It's only in the past year, when grey hairs have started to come in at my temples, that people are finally seeing me as "mature". I guess I'm lucky? My paternal grandmother was always pretty outspoken about how happy she was to get grey hair and be seen as mature, so I've had that to relate to, and feel the same way now. My great-grandmother had the most beautiful snow-white hair, like a sweethearted angel, but she knew her stuff, she'd been through hell and back more than once, and she wore her hair like a queen wears a crown. I've always looked forward to that. What a relief, grey hair. I rarely get harassed any more, and the totally awesome flip side is that my withering gaze actually withers. Before it got me treated as some sort of quirky chick (people assumed I was a pushover due to their initial assumption of youth, plus, woman) who was trying too hard. Now, toss in a dozen grey hairs in my bangs and I hardly even have to try. Didn't change my hairstyle, clothes, confidence is a bit better but wasn't exactly lacking before... so many people just didn't see it, they were looking in the mirror society tells them to use for "young women" rather than at the person in front of them. Now, raise an eyebrow and misbehaving young'uns literally whimper and cower. Add a weary sigh and some will peep "sorry ma'am!!" It's like gaining a new superpower, with the attendant realization you need to behave responsibly with it. It is pretty great.
posted by fraula at 2:23 AM on January 28 [3 favorites]


I'm six years older than the author and I'm getting pretty tired of being reminded of the supposed fact that, in the eyes of most people, I was over years ago. If so, I hadn't noticed. Maybe it's 'cuz I didn't learn to do eyeliner properly until this year or that I stopped hanging out with shallow people long ago but I can honestly say I feel way prettier at 36 than I ever did in my 20s. I understand why women have this anxiety about aging but I just wanna shake the author and tell her she's going to waste her life if she continues to stew in this bullshit.
posted by Jess the Mess at 7:21 AM on January 28 [4 favorites]


When I was 30, I was in the process of getting subtly drummed out of the highest paying job I ever had by my male boss because I was a combination of not attractive, unwilling to do what I was told without asking questions, and pregnant.

But, hey, let's keep sexism just about being pretty.
posted by gnomeloaf at 8:02 AM on January 28


I'm 51. I found this article insufferable. And the author as well.
posted by Kokopuff at 10:09 AM on January 28 [2 favorites]


It's weird to me how any discussion of pretty privileges begs the question of the inherent value of male attention.

It's not completely worthless, but I don't think it's quite the precious commodity we tend to assume. I mean, what can you do with it? Open some doors, maybe make a little scratch dancing, and a bunch of little invisible social privileges conferred at the whims of those granting them, sure, but there are some pretty awful trade-offs for that, many of which are illustrated pretty cleanly in the hostile reactions, directed not just to what she wrote but to her as a person.
posted by ernielundquist at 10:43 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


It's not completely worthless, but I don't think it's quite the precious commodity we tend to assume. I mean, what can you do with it? Open some doors, maybe make a little scratch dancing, and a bunch of little invisible social privileges conferred at the whims of those granting them, sure, but there are some pretty awful trade-offs for that, many of which are illustrated pretty cleanly in the hostile reactions, directed not just to what she wrote but to her as a person.


First off, this assumes that unattractive women, who are denied male attention, somehow manage to escape hostility directed at their works and persons. Which is super-duper not true.

Second, regardless of whether male attention actually has tangible value, it is nonetheless presented to women as one of the only goals truly worth attaining (the other being motherhood). No surprise, then, that women strive to attain it and experience anxiety as their ability to attain it wanes. (However theoretical that waning may be! A 22 year old taught that she will be ugly to all people within 8 years has no real way of knowing whether this is true or not. At 32 she might know it to be untrue via experience, but that won't help her at 22, 27, 30.)

Third, this is kind of the point-- no woman in our culture can ever do, or be, "right." Just in this thread, we read that this author is both too young and too old. She is too fearful AND too self-regarding. She is too pretty, she is not pretty enough. She is appallingly average, she is representative of no one. She is, crucially, WRONG, to EVERYONE, and that is what is important most of all. Misogyny, always and every day, FTW.
posted by like_a_friend at 11:06 AM on January 28 [8 favorites]


First off, this assumes that unattractive women, who are denied male attention, somehow manage to escape hostility directed at their works and persons. Which is super-duper not true.

That's almost exactly the opposite of what I'm saying.

What I'm saying is that these discussions always seem to ignore the obvious question of why we have all attributed such great value to male attention in and of itself. It's just taken for granted that this is somehow something that defines us. And little girls are absolutely immersed in this value system practically from birth. Rather than sitting around arguing about which types of male attention are better or worse, we should be focusing instead on why we put such outsized importance on whether random men want to fuck us.

A long time ago, I saw an episode of Intervention featuring a woman probably in her late 40s or early 50s who had several different issues, including self harming behaviors and I think an eating disorder. She absolutely loathed herself. The scene I remember the most clearly is of her standing in her bathroom punching herself in the stomach, hard, over and over, calling herself ugly.

The thing is, in the introductory part of the episode where they interview the friends and family of the addict, talking about where things all went sideways for them, everyone, including her own mother, chose to focus on how beautiful she had been when she was younger. That was her defining characteristic and it was what gave her value, and it had obviously been drilled into her since she was a child.

It's not a question of who it sucks for the most. Whether it's worse to have pretty privilege and lose it, or to never have it in the first place. Whether it's worse if your particular brand of street harassment is 'negative' or 'positive'. It sucks either way, and it serves to define us--even to ourselves--according to the male gaze.
posted by ernielundquist at 12:03 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


When I was a young teenage girl in Europe, I was haughty in my bikini and I wondered how European old ladies could possibly go to the beach in those crinkled black bathing suits, and not be embarrassed about how they looked. Then, the old men in Speedos, with bird legs and bellies, I just couldn't figure why they didn't shrink in shame and stay home. The good/bad news is I am in my sixties, and romance and sexuality is alive and kicking in this age group. I see handsome people all the time, men and women, people who are vital and engaged with living, and romance. You don't become unappealing at 30, 40, 50, 60, and presumably later, life goes on, and it can be the best it has ever been at any age you find yourself.
posted by Oyéah at 1:15 PM on January 28 [6 favorites]


Oh yeah, and, we are usually our own worst enemies with regard to self perception, or self as victim, no one victimizes us as well as we do, it is just another substitute for relating in general, which is scary, we are much more comfortable with our own negativity than we are with strangers.
posted by Oyéah at 1:18 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


I find the whole premise of this piece absurd. The threshhold this writer is concerned with, when women suddenly stop being sexual objects in our culture, certainly is not at 30, but is closer to 50. You can see this proven quite simply by looking at the careers of Hollywood actresses who are/were considered to have high sex appeal. They don't disappear at 30. They disappear in their 40s.

And this bugs me because there's no comparison between that 30 threshold and that 50 threshhold. The 30 threshhold is "old" in a variety of ways and, yes, does include some lessened sexual attractiveness but is also very much about how one's role in our culture changes in one's thirties and how that's related to sexual attractiveness (specifically, availability).

But the 50 threshhold is severe, women pay a huge cost in being seen as aged and sexually unattractive in a way that men don't. And that doesn't happen at 30. It does happen somewhere around 45-55. So there's something kind of clueless, in my view, about someone writing about this very real issue, but at the age of 30 and using that age as the dividing line.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:50 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


The threshhold this writer is concerned with, when women suddenly stop being sexual objects in our culture, certainly is not at 30, but is closer to 50.

Oh, no, there are several thresholds where you stop being as attractive to male peers and a bunch of them decide you're not as hot as you were yesterday. I'm pretty sure one of them is about 18 so one of them being 30 now doesn't surprise me.
posted by immlass at 7:59 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


I am really, really grossed out by all the "could be worse!" and "you just wait!" oneupmanship.

She has a legitimate personal perspective based on her thus far lived experience. Of course it could have been arguably worse. And yes, it's likely that will get worse as she gets older too.

You know what hurts a whole lot worse than being dismissed by ignorant misogynists, though? Being dismissed by other women and even feminists minimizing your experiences and second guessing you.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:04 AM on January 30 [6 favorites]


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