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Why do people looooove to comment on how old a woman looks?

So, I’m sure this has been discussed here before, but I haven’t seen it recently. This rant was precipitated by this situation:

I spent the weekend on vacation with my high school friends to celebrate our 30th birthdays. This morning, I posted a bunch of pictures on Facebook from the trip. One was of my friend wearing shirt that said “Caution! Science in progress!” We’re both grinning, pointing at the shirt, and making thumbs up signs. It is a fun, silly picture.


So my stepdad (who I dislike for a variety of reasons) comments “teenagers on the loose!”

No. I am not a teenager. He knows I’m not a teenager. My friend is an OR/ER nurse and has been for 8 years. She is not a teenager.


I’ve been “young-looking” my whole life. I understand that humans naturally categorize things, and because of that, a person might involuntarily assume that you are a certain age when they meet you. If they are a person without a filter, they might express surprise when they find out your actual age. Fine.

In the past, I’ve been actively angry when someone feels the need to tell me that I look young because of how often it was used against me when I was a teacher. I taught for 5 years and quit when I was 26. Even in my last year teaching, parents who thought I was being unfair or too harsh on their kid regularly complained I “just didn’t have enough experience.” First year teachers who were in their 40s or 50s never got that complaint. I’ve also heard of it being used against women in medicine, law, etc.


I’m not going to “take it as a compliment” as so many people urge me to. If you thought I was 22 and I’m 29, there’s no need to babble on and on about how great it is. Younger is not better. People get so goddanm forceful, INSISTING THAT I MUST TAKE IT AS A COMPLIMENT. (“Sehjma, I really mean it a a compliment when I discount your last 8 years of work experience and 6 years of homeownership.”)

It also really pisses me off that this is such a gendered thing. I routinely see these types of comments of my female friends pictures, but never my male friends. Can you imagine a comment like that on a 30 year old man’s picture? No, because presumably he’s accomplished a lot since high school, and you don’t want to discount that.


So I commented back “Definitely not teenagers...adults with jobs, mortgages, and responsibilities” and might go back and delete both comments later.


My kick-ass lawyer friend (one of us on the trip, but not the one in the picture) just commented “And some with children. And all of us with higher education.”

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