Hi! I’m 28 years old. I was told this summer that “I look 15” & therefore, my comments do not apply! Yes, this has been my life. This has been the way that I have been treated by people older than me MY ENTIRE LIFE. I am almost thirty now and I am still made to feel this way by women older than me.
I was treated this way as a child. To the point that I said almost nothing at all because I was taught by adults’ reactions to me that my opinions are unimportant. It was not until third grade that an adult made me feel smart & important. I had a third grade teacher that gave me praise for my work and school has been my favorite place ever since. Finally there were adults that cared about what I had to say, even if it was just me having figured out the answer to a math problem and had the opportunity to answer it correctly in front of the class.
All of my close friends look like me- my age, cute, somewhat fit, skilled at fashion/makeup, most of us are pretty short too. We find each other because we are all we have! We are also similar in that we are all motivated, successful, and educated. I find that we end up NOT being friends with people who show any kind of jealousy. With jealousy, there is insecurity. Insecure women are threatened by women like us. Confident, pretty, and successful in our careers. They find any opportunity to make us feel less than. It is highly disappointing when it comes from someone you respect, because now you can no longer respect them.
The woman who decided to tell me that I look like I’m fifteen, was an old friend’s mom’s good friend- or someone that I grew up knowing, someone I’ve respected my whole life. She has always treated me well and I really liked her. But now, we find ourselves in a conversation about diets and Lasik surgery and my input about trying the keto diet for Lent was taken badly. Diets are not for someone like me, how dare I enter that conversation, how dare I have an interest in foods and nutrition and the biochemical process of metabolism when I look like I’m fifteen. All of the jealousy, all of the insecurity, all of the comparing of choices that I made to yours are all echoing around your dismissive comment of “well, you look like you’re fifteen”. And that’s the form that discrimination takes when you’re a successful, childless, attractive woman. You don’t get to live freely. You have to live knowing that you are hated by most of the women that surround you. And they want you to know it, too.
It happened again the other night. I was out with friends who are in their thirties, a few years older than me. After the woman next to me made some comments about how smart watches are stupid and pointless (after I talked about some good deals I found and that I was going to buy myself one for early Christmas), the group was discussing whether or not they liked day drinking. The guys seemed to like it and I disagreed and said that it makes me feel tired. The woman who hates smart watches, about five years older than me, decides to chime in with a “it gets worse. If you think it’s bad now, wait until your my age” and I said, “ok, I said that I don’t like it now…” slightly annoyed with her negativity directed at me and only me, and not at all directed at the men, who are older than both of us, and do like it. She said, “sorry, but it gets worse. I’m just saying” Shocked because I didn’t expect those jealousy/insecurity comments to come from a beautiful thirty-something woman who I considered a friend, I made a face that showed my discomfort in the comment and said something like, “yay… so excited for my life now…” and my opinion of her from “someone who had their life together, a successful job, a beautiful family, a possibly good friend” shifted completely into “another addition to my list of frenemies” (women I have to pretend to be friends with that have made clear negative comments about how clueless I am and how I am so young and naive. People who use me to make themselves feel wise and superior in comparison).
So this is the price I have to pay for being the way that I look and the age that I am. Here were a couple recent examples, but it’s much more common than you’d think. My years teaching were the worst. The comments were aggressive and gut-wrenching. I was diagnosed with situational anxiety because of them. And yes, it’s probably why pretty girls are mean.