Too often society tells women their biggest asset is their youth. The older a man gets, the more “distinguished” and “noble” he becomes, while women are increasingly encouraged not to reveal their age, as if it’s a matter of shame. As women approach 30, we should embrace it with open arms. But remember: Lots of people will say negative jokes to you about your age, things that shouldn’t be said because they are also overtly racist statements. Here’s how to deal:
1. “Are you upset about turning 30, or are you thinking about why all Latino people are so deeply religious?”
There’s no need to associate negativity with a person’s age, especially a woman’s. Instead of this, try: “Aren’t you elated to be turning 30? I welcome the new wisdom and confidence I gain with every year of life, and also, I don’t believe in myopic stereotypes about entire races of people. Hope you can make it to the wine tasting!”
2. “You don’t look old enough to be 30, and I bet you can sing, girl!”
Do not say this to an African-American woman turning 30! Age is relative. Just tell her she looks great. Also, don’t assume she’s a great singer or good at sports just because she’s black. You may think it’s a “positive” generalization, but it’s still a generalization.
3. “You must be starting to worry about having kids and forcing them to play the violin, huh?”
The “biological clock” is a myth and many more women are waiting to have children until they are older thanks to advancements in fertility treatments. Also, not every Asian person had a “Tiger mom” who made them play a string instrument. Shame on you! I mean, really, why do you talk like this?
4. “30? You’re basically a cougar now, you dirty Jew!”
Cougar is such an offensive term! When men date younger people, they’re celebrated and applauded. When women date younger men, we get labeled with “cougar” or “dirty Jew!” Definitely don’t say “Jewgar.” It’s racist.
5. “Just tell people you’re 29 or that you’re Latina. Latina is less threatening than being a Muslim.”
Embrace your age, ladies. It’s when we lie about our age that we give it power. Also, Islam is a religion, not a race.
6. “You shouldn’t tell people your age because one of my best friends is black. I even dated a black guy once.”
I recently read an interview with a 108-year-old woman. They asked if she ever felt the need to lie about her age. She laughed and said, “You reach a point where you realize age is an achievement, and just because you have one personal relationship with a person of a different race, doesn’t mean you can’t also be racist.”
7. “It’s probably time to settle down now that you’re 30, and also maybe you should move to a ‘better’ neighborhood.”
You’ve lived in this area of Flatbush, Brooklyn without children for four years. You’ve felt happy, safe and grateful that you don’t have another mouth to feed. But what makes you think that just because your neighborhood is diverse that it is dangerous?
8. “Your metabolism is going to slow down, and I don’t like China-people.”
If someone said this to Oprah, she’d laugh in their face for MULTIPLE reasons. Oprah drinks three cups of green tea and goes to the gym every morning. Her metabolism is better than ever! Also, “China-people?” Really?
9. “Don’t worry about turning 30. It’ll be okay because the South will rise again. Here’s your white hood, Michelle.”
Oh. Just don’t say this.
So as you enter your fourth decade, do it proudly! Just make sure it’s not racist!