When you’re 21 and living a glamourous, youthful existence that resembles a scene from sex and the city, why would you be concerned about your age? For us women, with body clocks, stereotypes, and youthful expectations, age is something that haunts us at all times of our lives. Why? Because according to society, being too old is undesirable and being too young makes you stupid. But what I would like to know is why women have not put a stop to this and instead helped a sister out by giving each other the confidence that we can do anything, at any age.
Despite age being a bodily function that cannot be changed, slowed down, or sped up, society has done everything humanly possible to make these things happen. From anti-aging cosmetic products, to doctoring ID cards, to simply lying, women have always found ways to distance themselves from their true age. So why are we so eager to lie about our age, and should we be on board with it?
Acceptance in the Workplace
Categorised as a self-serving lie, women often lie to employers for a myriad of reasons.
Like Liza in the hit show Younger, many women find it too difficult to re-enter the workforce after having a break to raise children. Due to a rapidly changing tech world, women who have been out of work are seen to be out of the loop with technological advances are it is thought that they will never catch up and be savvy enough to have the skills now required in their fields.
“I bought into the common thinking that once you hit your forties, you were out of touch.” – Cheryl Wischhover, Elle
Taking lying out of the equation and these women have no choice but to not take time off in the first place. In fact, there has been dramatic evidence that this traditional dip in the workforce (women in prime childbearing age: 25-35) is no longer present.
“By 2014, the rate had climbed to 75% for women aged 25-34, matching the rate for women aged 20-24 and 35-44” (AIHW analysis of ABS 2015b)
The ‘stay at home mum’ barely exists anymore, with the role of women transforming into powerhouses; juggling full time careers with child and family care. Women actually now earn the bread for approximately one quarter of Australian families.
However, if we place the option of lying back into the equation, there could be room for this career break again. Liza proved that it was indeed possible for a 40-year-old woman to catch up with technology. If us women are not getting given the chance to prove ourselves or to learn these new ways, what other choice do we have then to do it sneakily instead?
Too Young to be taken Seriously
As a young woman myself, this situation is one I know all too well. Just like older women lie about their age to stay relevant, younger women lie to be seen as more mature.
Millennials unfortunately have such a bad rep when it comes to the workforce – their disdain for hard yakka, only being useful for their knowledge of social media, and their unprofessional ways of doing business. Despite the stereotypical view, millennials are actually more willing to learn and develop to create successful careers that you might think.
The issues with age comes in when older generations become too quick to judge millennials and feed the idea that we are younger than we actually are. This has come about because of the youthful mindset millennials have due to being surrounded by peers for longer than older generations. Rather than going into the workforce and becoming an ‘adult’ straight after school, millennials are constantly connected to their peers through technology and therefore don’t grow those connections with the older generations. This has been looked down upon, in which millennials are seen as unintelligent because they cannot relate to older people. As a smart young woman, if this is the outlook, how else are we going to be taken seriously if we don’t lie?
Societal Expectations and Love Lives
It’s not just about the workforce when it comes to age. Love, friendships, fun; it all is related to age and as you go through life these variables change and evolve.
When you’re a young adult and all you want to do is be surrounded by friends, age can be quite the constrictor. If your friends are of legal age to be going out and drinking and you’re not, your youth can seem like a hindrance rather than help. That’s where fake ID’s come into the mix, with individuals either using doctored ID cards or real cards of another person that they resemble. The most common use of these fake ID’s is to purchase alcohol and get into nightclubs and bars as these are seen to be the best ways of having fun.
When it comes to love, women are notoriously known for fibbing about their age and with modern dating consisting of Tinder and EHarmony, it’s now even easier to shave a few years off. Why? Unless you’re going for the MILF look to appeal to younger guys for a fling or one night stand, women hold the belief they won’t find love after a certain age.
One reason is because of the stereotypical view that being older is, well, yuck.
Add in a woman’s body clock ringing in their ears telling them they haven’t got much time left to bear children and you’ve got a strong argument for the lying option. The role of women has historically been focused on being a mother, and with a timeframe on it (unlike men), women feel the pressure to find love sooner rather than later and lying is seen as a shortcut.
All in all, whatever age you are you should be proud. Although the unfair stereotypes and views on age do make it extremely difficult for women, we need to find a way to empower each other and fight these expectations. How long are we going to keep lying?
Also published on Medium.