Urban Legends Reference Pages: Politics (In Praise of Older Women)

A few weeks (months) ago, a friend forwarded me an email with the contents of the above link. Well, I say they were a friend, but anymore, I’m not so sure. See, while it is a somewhat humorous diatribe, it is as most generalizations are: false.

Many of the assertions this essay makes are quite true, but they are really depending upon the female in question. I’ve met women of all ages who, to one extent or another, embody any one of these characteristics. Most of us learn as we age, but that does not mean we improve as we age. Some women learn that it is inappropriate to have a yelling match while in public, but that does not mean they transfer that knowledge of right and wrong into a wise action.

Likewise, age does not in any way have a lock on wisdom. Children, often without totally understanding their actions, will embody what it means to be wise. We have all heard sayings entitled “out of the mouthes of babes”, where children “say the darndest things” and make us all laugh, until we pause in mid-chuckle, get that slack-jawed and wide-eyed gaze, then realize what we really just read.

The problem I have is the statement that a 40+ year old woman is sexier than her 17 year old counterpart. I believe that, as we age, we come to appreciate the sexiness of older members of our species, but that does not equate to any increase in the absolute sexiness of older people. That is not to say that there are no sexy women of that age, Salma Hayek is a perfect example of this, but a woman in her 40s looking anywhere close to Salma is a lot less likely than is a woman in her teens who looks like Maria Thayer, who I found on IMDB.com. Just take a random sampling and I assure you that this statement is true.

But why would this be? Obviously all that I am saying is pure conjecture, but it is based on not only my own experience but the reality that so much of our culture is focused on youth and beauty. Pick up any magazine and you will see tons of airbrushing being done. A perfect example showed itself to me just yesterday, when Katie Couric was airbrushed so that she lost nearly 20 lbs as this article shows (second article down). Katie Couric is a very beautiful woman who is over 40 years of age, yet someone decided to airbrush her to make her even more pleasing to the eye. Let us suppose that the author of the urban legend above is right, how do you explain taking a 40+ Couric and airbrushing her to a build that looks more like someone in their early 20s?

What I do agree with is that a man in his 40s chasing after a much younger woman does look silly, but no less silly than the opposite situation. The difference is that a 40s male is much more likely to pursue a 20s woman than the other way around. When a woman does this, it is so rare that we laugh at it as an amusing side note to life. We shrug our shoulders and move on with life. When a 40s man does this, he’s derided as a pervert and many other unflattering terms. I say that the woman gets off light in this situation. However, you will notice that in either situation, nearly always you find the older person pursuing the younger. My point is proven yet again by the fact that the beauty of youth is perceived as more valuable than the beauty of maturity.