Ageism is the perennial scourge of heterosexual dating. It’s 2020, but the social norm of older men dating younger women endures. Ageism is a heteronormative cockroach – it just won’t die, no matter how much money you spend on eco-friendly exterminators.
This week, Kaley and Sarah decided to tackle age discrimination against female daters. It’s a cathartic conversation about the subtle – and super sometimes obvious – ways our society devalues women as they age. Here are three main takeaways:
Ageism Gives Men Bonus Years
Because our society values older women about as much as expired supermarket sushi,men are socialized to date younger women. The average age difference between an American man and his heterosexual female partner is 2.3 years, according to research compiled by Mona Chababi. That number may seem innocuous, but it’s not.Why? Because men get 2.3 extra years for personal development before settling down. Chalabi refers to this time as straight men’s “bonus years.” It’s a time when dudes can travel the world, go to grad school, focus on their careers, move to new cities, or drink beer and play video games whenever they want. Unfortunately, our ageist society means women have to get serious about their love lives sooner, or risk not finding a mate. Is this fair? F-ck no! Is this the way things should be? Obviously not! But the stats prove this phenomenon is all too real. Sigh…
Cougars Are a Sexist Trope That Needs To Be Retired
Ah, cougars! That problematic trope of the sexy older woman who wears little black dresses and picks up barely legal boys at the bar. From Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate to Stiffler’s mom in American Pie, cougars just won’t die! However, this trope should absolutely go the way of low-rise jeans i.e. out of style, and (let’s hope) never to return again.
In popular culture, cougars are represented as hot, seasoned older women who’ll teach the boyish protagonist about sex and buy him dinner. They’re rarely three-dimensional characters in their own right. The idea of the male lead ending up with her is laughable; she’s portrayed as a stop on the hero’s journey towards monogamy (presumably with a slightly younger lady)…
Well, it’s time to stop mocking older women’s sexuality by suggesting they’re cougars every time they date a man who’s spent less time on this earth. As long as everyone is of age and their relationships are consensual, we’re all for older women dating whomever they want!
All Women Should Be Open To Dating Younger Men
It’s not just straight men who have an unconscious – or sometimes conscious – bias against dating women who are their seniors. The truth is many women buy into the myth they need to find an older guy to be happy. Well, stop holding yourselves back, ladies! It’s time women open themselves up to the idea of dating younger men. Next time you open Tinder, try lowering your age range and see what happens! Or perhaps approach a cute twenty-something on a patio (post-pandemic, obviously). There’s no harm in opening yourself up to a new pool of people!
Listen to You do You a Dating Podcast below: