Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Nobody Believes I'm 30, and That's Actually Not a Good Thing

This post is probably going to sound like a humblebrag, but it's not. This is legitimately something that bugs me.

People don't believe me when I say I'm 30. When I moved into my apartment my roommates were surprised to hear it -- they thought I was about 25. And then yesterday at work it happened again.

I recently dyed my hair brown. I was trying to cover up the pinkish undertones that wouldn't leave after my most recent foray into purpledom, and to do so I had to go fairly dark. The woman at work commented that it made me look more mature, and I said, "well, I am 30." She was pretty shocked, because she thought I was in my twenties.

I'm not lying. See:

I'm 30. Not to mention 5'6" with brown eyes.
I inherited my complexion from my grandmother, who had beautiful skin. Even at her death at 87 she didn't really look her age. And I know that some day, likely not too far in the future, I'll be glad of this. But for right now it's annoying.

See, young women don't get taken seriously. We just don't. I know someone will try to argue that young people in general don't get taken seriously, but let's not split hairs: it's worse for women. We get talked over and mansplained, there's the obvious and well-documented wage gap, we get covertly and overtly discriminated against because the assumption is that a) we don't know anything and b) we're just going to leave next year to make babies.

I'm the second-youngest person in my cohort (and the youngest woman). It hasn't been too big of an issue, but I do sometimes feel that when certain topics come up my word isn't taken seriously. Like there's an unspoken assumption that I have less "life experience" and therefore can't speak with authority on some subjects. (That's not to mention the "you're young, you'll change your mind" I once got from someone when I mentioned I'm not planning on having kids.) I feel that having less of a personal attachment to some topics means you have a more distanced and objective viewpoint that can be beneficial. Not for everything (for example, I wouldn't presume to know more about racism, homophobia, or cissexism than someone who had experienced it), but there are places where distance provides clarity.

The things I've addressed here actually were a lot of the impetus for starting this blog and giving it this title in the first place. I know there have been many posts that don't have to do with adultishness (what, that's totally a word), but the spirit is still here. And I've been trying to present myself with a more mature persona. Hence the dark hair. I've also been trying to dress the part -- those cut up punk tees are only for casual lounging -- to maintain an air of professionalism. It's hard, of course, and not without its sacrifices. But it feels like something I need to do.

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