Gladly, I haven’t been for a long time.
On Election Day the man working the polls, who was not much older than me, greeted each woman with a smile and “Hello, young lady.” Of course he greeted men with a smile and a regular “Hello”. When I came up to him I chose to look him in the eye, smile, thank him for volunteering, and say, “Actually I’m a grown woman.” He seemed surprised.
I have no doubt his intent was to be kind, but intent and impact are different and we should acknowledge that each time he said it he reinforced the idea that women are more valuable & noticed when they are young. This really discounts all the experience, strength, and wisdom we gain through the years. Who wants our primary value to be based on something that expires, like youth?
Women- We’ve been conditioned to believe it. We accept these compliments as harmless and an ego boost. But please consider how they chip away at us as we age. We also offer “young is better” compliments to each other. Let’s acknowledge we are complicit and do better. Men- Please help us by letting go of the idea that saying we look young is a harmless compliment. The flip side of this coin is it implicitly says, "It's best if you don't grow older". You are setting us up for failure.