Sunday, 4 October 2015

Why Do Some Women Lie About Their Age?

Not Dressed As Lamb | Why Do Some Women Lie About Their Age?
I considered calling this post "Why are some women afraid of revealing their age".

I then thought about "Why is it considered rude to ask a woman her age".

And "Why is it shameful to reveal your age past a certain point".

In the end I went with "Why do some women lie about their age" because that's what I think is the saddest part of the whole women-and-their-age hang up 'thing'.

Why do some women lie about their age...? | Not Dressed As Lamb muses
I was watching the X-Factor a couple of weeks ago - the audition stages - and a gorgeous woman came onto the stage and introduced herself. She was asked "Do you mind me asking how old you are", to which her answer was "over 35". Now, she could have been anywhere between 30 and and an incredibly-young looking 55, but to be honest her actual age didn't matter (with regards to her looks) - she was just stunningly attractive, young or old.

However, my heart sank at the fact that she felt the need to conceal her age. Why hide it? I think (if memory serves) that she was 49 in the end - the show always flash up the contestant's name, age and what category they're competing in - so if successful at that stage, she would surely have known that her age would "come out" at some point in the show. As it was, she must have felt that being 49 might cloud the judges' opinion of her performance and say 'no' purely on account of her being over 22.

So why is it considered rude to ask a women her age? And why do some women feel compelled to hide it, or refuse to give it, or, even worse, lie about it?

That lovely X-Factor contestant made me realise something: Some women, I assume, must feel slightly ashamed to be over 35, 40, 45 (insert age of choice here). However, the reason that women lying about their age bothers me so much is that they're perpetuating the fact that it's 'bad' to be old. It says one thing: I am over 35, and that is not good / attractive / desirable / valued in society.

LYING ABOUT YOUR AGE SAYS ONE THING: I AM OVER 35, AND THAT IS NOT GOOD/ATTRACTIVE/DESIRABLE/VALUED IN SOCIETY.

Why don't women help themselves - and each other - by not lying about their age?

I can see how it's become a thing in the workplace to 'make' yourself younger. I have read how, in some professions, it doesn't help you to be over a certain age. But like wanting equal pay to men doing the same job, does this not tantamount to the same sort of thing? Lying about our age so we're treated the same as younger women who (supposedly) can do the job better? It's nonsense that they could do the job better as much as it's nonsensical to make yourself 10 years younger, but by going with it allows the culture of "youth is better" to continue.

To be honest I like being asked my age. I feel just as proud saying I'm over 40 as I did when I reached the age of 10 and could say "I'm now in double figures!" Sometimes I have a mind block and totally forget exactly how old I am (I've honestly once or twice had to frantically subtract my year of birth from the current year to answer that question), and sometimes I'll remember that I've had a half-birthday and so like to say "forty three and a half"... roll on, January.

There is also the question of feeling that asking a woman her age is considered rude. The question "How old are you" I think sounds rude because the word "old" has negative connotations.

THE QUESTION "HOW OLD ARE YOU" I THINK SOUNDS RUDE BECAUSE THE WORD "OLD" HAS NEGATIVE CONNOTATIONS.

But like wanting equal pay in the workplace, women can't expect that question to be an okay question to ask a man and a not-okay question to ask a woman.  However, I can see that asking the question to a woman (who definitely isn't 22) is a bit like saying, Well you're old - exactly how old?

So we either have to think of the word "old" in a less negative way, or come up with a new way of asking the question. In French they say "Quel âge avez-vous", literally meaning, "What age do you have". So much nicer than "How old are you", especially depending on who has asked you, and in what manner.

So let's change "How old are you" to "What age are you". I'm hoping it'll keep those women who are sensitive about their age happy, and those who are proud of their age, well, still proud.

Or you could really butter them up with a "Quel âge avez-vous". But as I still automatically answer that question with "J'ai douze ans"*, maybe I, too, lie about my age.

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What do you think about being asked your age? Do you think it depends on who's asking, and how they ask, and the reason for being asked? And more to the point...

Are YOU honest about your age when asked? Do tell me in the comments!

Catherine
* "J'ai douze ans" means "I am 12" - the age I was when I first learnt French. Answering that to the question in French is a habit I don't think I'll ever be able to break...!

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70 comments

  1. I love this post Catherine.
    I recently had a mini rant about articles fixating on over 40's wanting to look younger, assuming we all hate being over 40 and are desperate to look 25.
    Well I can honestly say I don't want to look younger, I am happy to be 41 (and three quarters).
    I am lucky to have made it this far in life relatively unscathed.
    I am lucky to be of able body and mind.
    I am lucky to be able to do the things I love with the people I love.
    Okay, so I may have a few wobbly bits, droopy bits, grey bits and wrinkly bits...but i have earn't them!
    I find that lying about age just makes it seem okay to disrespect that age.
    Being older is not shameful.
    Older women are smart and sexy and valuable and knowledgeable and generally fabulous!
    Be proud to just BE...that is enough.
    XXX
    Samantha
    Fake Fabulous

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    1. *...I have earned them! (please excuse my rapid typing errors!)

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    2. "I find that lying about age just makes it seem okay to disrespect that age."... YES!! I'm with you there, Samantha!! I don't necessarily want to look younger either - how about "looking your best"? Shouldn't that be what we aspire to...?

      Thank you so much for your thoughts x

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  2. Great post!

    I don't want to be younger or look younger. You can be attractive at any age. In a way I have a hard time with what 45 "should look like." I think when we were little, many people over 40 looked much older than people do today, partially because of the way they dressed, etc. My mom is almost 80, and she looks (and acts) so much younger than her mom had looked in her late 60s (which is the age she was when I first remember her). At the same time, she is very proud of her age!

    Also, the other day I tried on a jacket and thought right away that it did make me "look older." But maybe that's the wrong word, maybe it's just that it looked really hideous with the rest of the outfit...

    I think society's negative evaluation of women over 35(?) has a lot to do with the fact that women lie about their age. I teach a lot of international students, and my students from Asian countries all ask about age freely (partially because it determines how they address each other). Older age seems to be much more celebrated, or at least accepted.

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    1. I know what you mean about certain clothes making you "look older", Andrea - maybe it's more that it makes us look dowdy? And that in turn ages you, I guess...!

      I love the fact that some cultures celebrate the older generation. After all, there's going to be an awful lot more of us percentage-wise when we're pensioners!

      Thank you for commenting xx

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  3. I am 62 and owning it! I think I look and feel my best and I love the reaction when I tell people I am 62! I just started a new business venture at this age as well! We need to be confident of who we are right where we are. It helps to work to look and feel our best no matter the age. Make sure we do not look frumpy but fabuous. I don't understand not owning up to our age...it doesn't change the number. Let'[s change the attitude.

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    1. Yes, yes, and yes, Pam - you've hit the nail on the head with every point you made - especially the last one!! Let's change the attitude, not adapt and apologise! x

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  4. I am going to be 60 this year and planning a big party. So quite proud of this. Also pleased that I look younger although that is a rather dubious approach. But..... I am working freelance and although I do not lie about my age, I don't volunteer it either. I know I am able to do the work I do, but don't want to make it too clear to much younger clients how old I am. Also, my much older partner died just over a year ago, and although I am not ready yet, I occasionally think about online dating and look at some sites. I certainly wouldn't want another much older partner, as I have done enough 'caring' to last a lifetime. I am very aware that men who would have thought me desirable in my 20s would now consider me much too old for them - they can do 'better' ie younger. that shift in power is disturbing. I am not saying that any of these attitudes are right, merely that they exist.

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    1. Oh gosh you're absolutely right that they exist, Archi... and I'm very sorry to hear about you losing your partner, sounds like you had many years of caring (you sound like an amazing person) and I truly hope that you meet another wonderful to share the rest of your life with, I really mean it.

      I think, however, that you might underestimate how much younger clients would respect how many years experience you have, simply because you've proved yourself to be an expert in your field, and that's an advantage you have over someone doing the same job as you who's very young.

      I ALWAYS think there are advantages to being older, like me with this blog: I may have thought "oh blogging is for younger girls" but it's totally worked for me in the end...!

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, best wishes to you x

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  5. Honestly, I would lie if I say "I don't want to be younger". It is not true, I wish I were younger! I never thought about it when I turned 40 or in my mid 40s but now my body shows I am getting older, that's a fact and it is not always easy to cope with it (then I usually call my best friend and we laugh about it!!)

    Of course, I know I am lucky to be healthy, to have wonderful grown up children who enjoy a fabulous education and follow their dreams, to have a fantastic job and to live in a safe country... but just looking at myself, a single woman in her 50s is not the ultimate feeling ;-)
    Nevertheless, I am always open about my age and I am happy to share it (I will turn 53 soon) but in our society it is still considered as "getting old".
    On my blog I also moved from calling it "40+" to "50+" because that's what I am!

    Thank you for this great post, Catherine!
    xo
    Annette | Lady of Style

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    1. Oh I totally get the wanting to be younger, Annette - I sort of do and I don't: I don't because I'm really happy the age that I am (I wear 40-something like a badge of honour), but I DO because I keep thinking "how fast is my life going?! slow down!!"

      The way you described yourself sounds EXACTLY like my sister: Single, great job, healthy, grown up children (she's also a grandma) - I'd be interested to know how she feels about the things you're saying. I know that she's so independent she always says she couldn't possibly live with someone or marry again, but I think if the right man came along...? Who knows, he may change her mind!

      Anyway I'm glad you've changed your amazing blog to 50+ because you'll be reaching out to all those women of your own age - not just the 40+ - who will be inspired by you, and THAT is a great reason to shout your age from the rooftops!

      Thanks so much for commenting! x

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  6. I used to scratch my head and wondered why I was hushed when I asked how old someone of the same sex was. Some would act coy and said "guess" (which I hate to this day because you're screwed no matter what number you blurt out) and a few would mention that they'd rather not answer the question. These days, I'm seeing less and less of this which is a good thing. Ageism exists and is glaringly obvious in certain industries, particularly if you're a woman.

    I'm with Annette, I won't lie and say that there were days when I wish I were younger but I love the experiences and wisdom I've gained. I'd hate to go back in time and make those mistakes again!

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    1. Funny isn't it, the asking someone's age thing, Marlene?! The day that a woman's age - especially the older women - gets an indifferent reaction (meaning no-one's bothered how old you are) will be a great day, the same goes for sexuality or race or any other supposedly "touchy" subject.

      I wouldn't want to go back again either...! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts :)

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  7. I've never understood the need to hide one's age, either. I used to work with a woman who would never tell her age. As a result it became a lunchtime game to trick her into revealing a clue...how old she was when she started teaching (everyone's date of hire is on the staff senority list), how old she was when she got married etc etc. But she never fell for our tricks. Turns out that she's only one year older than me. And I mention my age all the time....with respect to approaching "big" birthdays or other times when age comes up in the conversation. Funnily enough I ran into this colleague's sister a while back at the mall and she said that they were planning a party for her sister's 60th birthday. And I felt kind of sad...not that my friend was turning 60...but that she had gone to such lengths for so many years to hide what her sister had so easily let slip in a moment. And really ..who cares how old we are?? The fact that she hid it so strenuously must mean that she felt ashamed of her age....mustn't it?

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    1. You asked if the woman wasn't feeling ashamed of her age. I know someone like that and this would be the interpretation of what you wrote based on the explanation given to me, which had a huge impact on me.

      Maybe the woman really didn't care about age; it truly wasn't a big deal for her to disengage on the topic. As a result, she might feel sad that the bunch of you attached such significance to age that you kept after her for years. You ask "who cares how old we are?" From her viewpoint, you and your colleagues cared or you wouldn't have kept asking. I don't think she was ashamed at all but simply had a different life outlook.

      What do you think? : )
      I don't care if people know how old I am, but after hearing that viewpoint, it made me ask all kinds of questions. I personally like to know age so I will know if someone experienced world events at a similar time of life.

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    2. I think the mere fact that she went to such lengths to hide it made it all the more fascinating and something that everyone was desperate to found out, Susan - as you proved by turning it into a game to guess her age as you said!! I'm sure if she told everyone straight off you'd have been interested for about 30 seconds and then forgot it, no need to ask again.

      And to Melanie: You've TOTALLY said why I like to know a person's age - finding out if someone has the same life experiences as me!! I'm very big on movies, music and any other pop culture, so if I discover someone is about my age I'll mention things from our youth, assuming they'll have similar stories to tell.

      Back to Susan(!): I think she must have known that hiding it would make people more interested, so if you're really ashamed about it then you should expect the attention to be honest. A bit like not revealing your (awful?) middle name - people are going to hound you till they find out! Tell them right up front and they'll tease your for five minutes...!

      Thanks - both of you! x

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  8. I absolutely love this post! I used to always wonder this when I was younger, especially as my sisters would get really funny about birthdays. Age should be celebrated rather than being considered as a sell by date. I also find it really strange when older women get funny about younger women. I've had this in my work place for a few years now and find it so strange!

    Rosie
    Damzel In This Dress

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    1. Now I don't get that, Rosie - being funny about younger women you work with...?! Doesn't it make life a bit more interesting to interact with people of all ages? And I've never got the not liking birthdays thing either - but maybe that's because I'm happy being the centre of attention on MY birthday, yay!!

      haha ;) thanks sweetie for your comment x

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  9. To be honest, yes I have lied about my age in the past for all sorts of reasons. But I totally agree with you - why should I? I'm 49 and I think I'm doing alright. My mother had a terrible habit of fibbing. She'd say she was 38 when she was 48 and she'd get away with it, but it was so much more impressive when she told the truth!

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    1. Now THAT I really don't get, Emerald - taking ten years off? You run the risk of people thinking "crikey she looks old for 38"!!!!! I like the idea of saying I'm much older, you're more likely to get people saying Wow you look amazing...!!

      But I hope you'll continue to own your age - be proud of everything about yourself, your age included! x

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  10. My question is, why is there this burning need for people to know and ask about age? Why ask in the first place? Clearly we judge by the responses - oh, she looks so young/old for her age. Some people are young-spirited, some not, regardless of number. I think that often people don't want to say their age not because they are ashamed but because they are pissed off about how they will be slotted after they tell. Obviously the person asking about age puts importance on the number or they wouldn't be asking.

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    1. I think you answered the question in your reply to Susan above, Melanie - I like to find out what things I have in common with people when talking to them, so if someone turns out to be about my own age I'll think "yay! we can talk about Duran Duran and the days before mobile phones and seeing Top Gun when we were 15 - and loving it"...!!

      For me it's definitely a pop culture thing. I don't think it should be any different a question than asking someone what places they've been on holiday or what sports they like watching - it's about finding common ground for me.

      And it doesn't just work for people my own age - it works for every age. I remember when I was younger I found out my boyfriend's (very young) mum was in her 40s, so I worked out she was a teenager in the early 60s. And she lived in Liverpool. The first thing I asked? "Did you ever go and see the Beatles at the Cavern Club?" Turns out she did.... O.M.G. ;))

      Think of the interesting things we might never find out about people when you have no clue about their age and what their life experiences may have been...!!

      Thanks sweetie for your input, it's always interesting to hear everyone's viewpoints!

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  11. Great post :) I work with younger people around me and I like that they think I am their age but they never really asked me about my ages. We all want to feel young so I think that is a main reason to lie about ages

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    1. I have to admit that lying about my age wouldn't make me feel any younger, Ivana... Am I the only one who thinks that? Having more energy and not having so many slightly aching joints would truly make me feel younger, but apart from that there aren't any major advantages for me. I have to admit I love feeling slightly (and I mean this in the nicest way) more 'knowing' than younger girls, but only in a "I have more life experience than you, you'll find out about X, Y and Z soon enough" kind of way!

      thanks sweetie x

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  12. I LOVE LOVE LOVE being in my 40s, why some women feel ashamed is beyond me. "Your as young as you feel" embrace your age and enjoy being you like many of the wonderful woman who have made great comments above. Life is far to short to worry about what age you should look feel etc I'm proud to say I am 46 and loving life :) So stand up and shout it out and be proud!! great post Catherine (again :) ) xxx

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    1. Gail thank you - what a great attitude! I honestly think that if all women thought that way - whatever their age - there would be no "need" to lie about it (in workplaces, certain industries etc.). People would get the message eventually...!

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  13. Well, here is one who hasn't got any problems with telling her age: me. As a matter of fact, I say it quite often and quickly as I am rather proud of looking like this. Hah. On to the barricades...CHARGE...
    Greetje

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    1. You're a superb example of someone who OWNS her age, Greetje!! I love that you're proud of it... what a great role model you are x

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  14. Great post!!! I'm happy to be almost 41. :)
    Jaymie
    www.jaymieashcraft.com
    Fridays Fashions link up

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  15. Great article Catherine. I have always owned my age even though I have found the fashion world to be quite ageist. But honesty is my middle name and I could not do anything different. I'm turning 50 next year and even though I considered that to be quite old, I met so many vibrant, gorgeous and full of life 70+ women these past 3 months that I have started to feel like a spring chicken again. There is no limit to what you can do (health permitting) even in your later years!

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    1. It's funny what you say about the fashion world being ageist, Sylvia - I've not found that myself, but maybe I'm just a little blind to it... Whether on purpose or not, I'm not sure really!! I too, want to live life to the full even in my later years: I mean, what's the alternative?!!

      Thank you for your interesting insights to this...!

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  16. I have never understood people that lies about their age. I try to enjoy every age.

    Alice
    www.happinessatmidlife.com

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  17. Well . . . I must say that most of this past year I have been kind of fibbing about my age . . . well, sorta, kinda. I am so very excited about turning 70 next year that I am forgetting about the fact that I still need to turn 69. I have been going around telling people that I will be 70 next year.

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    1. heh I think I'm going to be the same as you with every new decade, Liz!! Good for you :)

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  18. Oh, Catherine, what a wonderful post. I love reading the comments especially about other women who are proud to be their age, whatever it currently is. I turned 50 this year and I was very excited about it. I don't mind getting older at all - and I prefer it to the alternative. And while I know things are different some parts of my life are better! :)

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    1. I think so women forget about all the things that are so much better at an older age, Ana - you're right!! And I have to say: How can you be turning 50?!!! How is that possible, you look incredible!

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  19. Great post Catherine. I don't see the need to lie about my age really. In fact most times when I tell people my age they are so shocked they think I am just giving them bull till I tell them I have a 22 year old son and that just knocks them off the ball park. I am happy with being a young looking, healthy and hot 44 year old even if I say so myself. xo

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  20. I absolutely am proud of my age! I have only gotten better, much better with age...wiser, more confident, happier. Actually, this fifth decade of my life (I am 41) has been the best decade yet and I am only 2 years into it. I can't wait to see what lies in store for me as I grow wiser in years! And I love when people ask me what my age is! Perhaps, I love it because I usually get disbelieving stares and comments like, "You are not that old!" Which is suppose I should take offense that 41 is considered so old that people are shocked by the number, when in fact, I feel younger at 41 than I did at 26! So, in a nutshell, I guess I'm old and proud and wise and happy and fun and beautiful...and that's all that really matters!

    Shelbee
    www.shelbeeontheedge.com

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  21. I would never lie about my age, why would I? I think it's actually quite silly to do so. Mostly I'm considered much younger than I really am, maybe that's why? But I'm quite sure I will never change and start lying. We should be proud. Love, Kirsten xx

    www.thelifbissue.com

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  22. Great post Catherine - I'm also enjoying all the comments!

    My Mum would never admit her age, at least not until she turned 75 and we took her to Paris to celebrate her birthday! I suspect it may have been because she was a couple of years older than my father. At work she told them she was 38 (when she was in her early 50s) and then had to explain how she had a 28 year old daughter when I worked there for a while as a temp! She told them she was a child bride.......!

    I started running in my late 30s, so everyone knew my age as soon as I entered races. Anyway, I always had the attitude that if i lied and said I was younger than I was, perhaps they would think I looked old and haggard for my age, so better to be honest!

    I still can't hide my age as i write a blog called "Over 60 and Over Here", which is a bit of a give away. Come to think of it, as I was 68 last month, I'm going to have to decide whether to change the name in two years' time to "Over 70 and Over Here!"

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  23. I agreed about embracing your age. But I can tell you that there is still a very real and pervasive stigma about age and women. As ac actor, for example, because I'm past 30 - I rarely, if ever get sent out for the hot love interest because it's impossible for viewing audiences to imagine me as sexually desirable. It's impossible for casting directors to view me as such therefore because producers all want a hot 20 year old.

    So I get. I get the desire to lie about age. But like you I myself do not. Or at least try my best not to evade the question because at 33 I am at my fittest - mentally, emotionally, and physically - and that's something to celebrate. So thanks for the post. I hope more women embrace their beauty and their age and that things shift. Because women are stunning at every age.

    Sincerely,
    Joanna

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  24. I am with you, Catherine. I wrote about the exact same thing a few weeks ago...http://www.thefabjourney.com/beauty-embrace-your-age-dont-hide-from-it/

    In the end, you are really just deceiving yourself. Age happens to everyone.

    Shellie

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  25. I agree one thousand percent. I always tell my age when asked (60) because it's nothing to be ashamed of, it's called living! Come share with Vis Monday when you have a moment, xox.

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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  26. I am age proud but I would be lying if I did not admit there are parts I do not like. On the majority of cases I wear my agre very proudly and I never, ever hide it. I am 51 and damn proud that I am where I am and look and act how I do ( but I could do without some of the aches and pains and sags.)

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  27. I love this post. This whole 'old' thing is something that really bothers me too. I mean, I'm nearly 40 and I LOVE that! I've always been honest about my age... and I enjoy getting a year older every year. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that my mum died when she was in her early 30s and so getting older is something that just means a lot to me, you know? I feel like I should live and enjoy every year to the fullest for her. I'll still be smiling when I turn 60 - I just know it. I'll be proud of it, in fact. It's exciting!
    Suzy x
    www.suzyturner.com

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  28. It's definitely a cultural thing, ageism and sexism is so prevalent, women are scared to reveal their age. I agree, we mustn't be ashamed in the least. I know many actors who won't reveal their age as female parts are so limited as women get older, we need a cultural shift and quick.

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  29. I agree with you and I wrote about an 80 year-old blogger once, that some think "too old to blog", but what is "too old"? There's no such a thing, in my view, but I also do understand why people or women hide their age. It's not because they feel old or ugly, in fact - purely my opinion, but because the society has this concept. Then it's better to hide then to be put into categories - you're 20, time to date, 30, time to get married and have children, 40, time to dress "appropriately", 50, time to play with grandchildren only, 60, time to stay inside a cave and don't dare to leave it. I guess it's because of that. Because of the general society's views. On the other hand, there are some countries where asking the age of someone is very rude. Then we get uncomfortable with that, since it's ingrained since childhood. I loved your post!
    DenisesPlanet.com

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  30. I own it...always. I'm 61 and just started a new career. Some of my best friends are older than I am and they inspire me every day to live authentically and with enthusiasm.

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  31. I work in Silicon Valley. Age discrimination is rampant here, especially in the startup world and it's worse for women than for men, so I'm lucky that I look younger than I am. I don't outright lie about my age, but I do let people assume I'm the age I look. At my last job I decided I was going to be honest about my age and that people could just deal. I'll never make that mistake again.

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  32. Great post...thank you! I am on the cusp of 54 and always honest about my age. I have some older women friends and they inspire me to be my best.

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  33. A dear friend of mine and my husbands, an older gentleman, had a wonderful saying: "Age is just a number". I think this is great. I am 48 and I am never offended by someone asking me what my age is, cause I know they are not trying to be hateful, just curious. Sadly our friend lost his battle to cancer a couple years ago. He was in his eighties. He always had a smile on his face and enjoyed life to the fullest. Don't worry about how old you are, enjoy life, have a positive outlook, take the best care of yourself; both physically and mentally that you can and remember Age is just a number!

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  34. I am turning 44 next month and I'm totally confident about my appearance and age. More importantly, I've had so many fantastic life experiences that I am proud of how far I've been and what I've done. I always tell the truth when asked! In addition, when it comes to admiring beauty, I'm far more impressed and in awe of healthy beautiful stylish women older than 35 who have sunspots, some wrinkles, and maybe a few extra pounds. They are interesting and lovely to look at. What's more, they have a range of life experiences that we can all admire!

    http://www.districthilo.com

    Love,
    Mary

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  35. I think that part of this is missing the point and that is that ageism is rampant. Just try telling anyone you're in your late 40's and looking for work. They don't want to hire someone that is over 35. People lie about their age to protect themselves against discrimination. Discrimination in the work force, in dating, in life. Women are discriminated against much more than men due to age. It is a sad truth that will take an eternity to change.

    Intersting post.

    bisous
    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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    1. Well that's the crux of it isn't it? Women are the most discriminated group in society!
      As Erica Jong said "Women are the only exploited group in history to have been idealized into powerlessness.'

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  36. It's lovely to see how many don't mind about our age. However, sadly the reality is that many women feel society puts a stigma on their age and as Suzanne has pointed out ageism is rampant, especially as others have noted, in certain industries. I used to work in one where mentioning your age really counted against you even if you looked younger than your age. I'm with Melanie on this, once you're past the legal age for things, why even ask? I wonder what relevance it has to ask someone's age. I think it can lead to pigeon-holing people. I work with clients who are in the older, even elderly bracket (my oldest Pilates client is 86!) who are physically and mentally a heck of a lot younger than some of the 30-40 year old clients.
    I dislike being asked my age - not because I'm ashamed of it - far from it but because I just don't think it's relevant and people attach particular, mostly negative expectations to certain age brackets. But I haven't lied about my age for about 15 years now.

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  37. Please, Catherine, do not tell the world you are 12! Back in the days when I was a news reporter I always had to make a note of people's name, address and age. Women would frequently refuse to answer the question about ageIt is a sexist thing...but I think it is, ever so slowly, becoming les and less acceptable to ask men that question. As you say, it's not acceptable in the workplace and I think older men are getting worried about being passed over for younger guys. Stupid really seeing as we're all living longer. #BrilliantBlogPosts

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  38. Congratulations to those who are radiantly confident and happy with their age and stage. Do please understand though, that the stigma around aging women is huge (just look at Hollywood casting of love interests for 50+ men!) and can be hurtful.

    Personally, I have never lied about my age, but I do avoid sharing it in some circumstances as I feel it will negatively affect how people treat me. I want to be approached on my own merits, not through a lens of preconceptions.

    I am also NOT HAPPY with wrinkles and age spots and I don't see why I need to have them (I dye my hair, so that's alright). I cannot see them as anything other than a slow disintegration or degradation of what used to be perfectly fine. I don't see why the knowledge and experience I have gained in my mind ought to be accompanied by outward signs on my face.

    I have issues...

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    1. I don't think you have issues at all! Why not go ahead, have some age maintenence? I've had a chemical peel & I'm really pleased with the result. I'll probably try more non surgical procedures in the next few years. There's no shame in it, the whole point is to do what's best for you. I'm right with you about age spots!

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  39. Proudly 48. I've earned every. single. year.

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  40. So many great comments here Catherine, good to see a lot of women standing proud. I am 53 I dont hide it at all
    Laurie x

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  41. I'm 28 and I have lied about my age more than once after I turned 24. I know it sounds ridiculous but this is quite simply because I'm self conscious about the fact I'm not yet graduated from university/don't have a real career yet/or am not married. My peers started calling themselves "old" once they turned 22 and started having kids or getting married. I see how ridiculous this all seems as age really doesn't matter one bit (a person can sometimes be just as annoying or nice at 30 as they were at 12) but still, I personally just feel like I don't want to give someone the opportunity to question or ridicule my current stage in life. Silly insecurities, I know!

    In one of my classes, a girl told me she was 20 and I, without even realizing, blurted out that I am 24 to which she looked surprised (she had thought I was her age!) I wouldn't even imagine how surprised she would've been if I'd told her my real age. I don't think she'd have looked down on me, but still, I just didn't know her well enough to feel comfortable telling her my age- how silly, right?

    I can only hope I live to be a very very old lady of 100- that would seriously be amazing and there would definitely be no shame in that!

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  42. I've actually thought about this often because I noticed people apologising for asking my age e.g. "Sorry do you mind if I ask how old you are?" i.e. it must be a bad thing, as you pointed out. The question is perpetuating that feeling of inadequacy.
    I turned 48 last Monday & wrote a post about how that feels. Like you I sometimes forget & genuinely think I'm younger - not trying to hide my age just not thinking of it all! It truly is a state of mind but I do believe having friends of all ages makes a difference. Perhaps giving me more perspective & varying points of view? Whatever the reason it's time we stopped giving ageism credence & let IT die out.
    Fun reading everybodies comments on this one Catherine - thanks for getting the conversation started xxx

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  43. No matter how others view age, I see it as my advantage. I'm proud to say I'm reaching 40. To me I'm saying: I have some life experience so don't mess with me. I put everything I've got in everything I do and I'm not stupid or naive anymore. The only time I don't feel comfortable with my age is when I say I have a teenage daughter. I have 2 actually but one teenager. I had her at the age of 24 which I really should be proud of but more and more as women are having kids later these days I feel removed from them. I'm glad I had kids young because I couldn't have the same energy if I had them now. I wouldn't change it for the world but I do feel like I get judged sometimes. It's like it's not cool anymore to be a young mum.

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  44. Really interesting post. I'm turning 30 in 2 months and I've been feeling a bit despondent lately. I wouldn't lie about my age because I'm only fooling myself in the long run but age is such an evocative subject for some reason. #brilliantblogs

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  45. Wonderful post, Catherine. Society's demonization of aging has always confused me. While I understand the evolutionary influences, and support the idea that youth can bring creativity and ingenuity as well as a sense of freedom, each passing year has made me infinitely stronger, smarter, kinder, and more beautiful inside and out. I can't wait to meet the person I will be in my 40s, 50s, and beyond!

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  46. When I was 20 and modelling in Hong Kong, I used to lie and say I was 18. Imagine that! The hottest newly discovered model at the time was 14, so I guess it was the circle of friends and industry that I was in made me feel old and devalued. I finally quit modelling at 24, completed my studies and am now proud to announce my age to the world.

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  47. I've come back to this post from February via #brillblogposts again. I've now turned 30 and you know what? I'm embracing it. Yeah I sometimes get days where I think oh I'd love to be in my twenties again, but it's a fleeting thought and I'm soon back to being glad I'm 30. Age is just a number and I'm happy with how I am at the moment in myself and that is what matters.

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  48. I don't know?! Why do they? I have a friend who is 50 and looks in her thirties and doesn't tell people her age. If it was me I'd be shouting 'look how fabulous I look!'. I'm 38 and I am very much looking forward to my 40's. I am feeling more confident about myself and having just left my second husband...I feel I'm about to enter the most important decade of my life as a woman. I'm going to make my forties matter and I for one, will be shouting about it. Great post and lovely to come over to your blog, I'll be back! Tor xx #coolmumclub

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  49. I'm much happier & more confident in my 30s than I was in my 20s, and looking forward to my 40s. I really don't care about my age. My grey hairs though, they can sod off! #BrillBlogPosts

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