Special to CSMS Magazine
I know this isn’t exactly the same as the race stereotyping, however it does follow a similar pattern. It seems that since the beginning of time, it has always been okay for a man to date or marry a woman or a girl younger than he is. Of course back then, women were expected to marry someone older, not younger. As times have changed, it seems that society has not forgotten the old customs. I feel as though men are not being putting through the same scrutiny as women, when they choose women or girls that are in some cases twice younger than their age. What makes it right or wrong for society to make some women feel ashamed because they choose younger men to date or marry?
The custom of men dating and marrying younger women dates back to middle Ages. Back then they felt a younger woman or young girls were better at producing children. A younger woman could also keep up with more children and household duties than an older woman. An older man was considered better fit to produce and take care of his household. Better fit meaning, they were more established, mentally matured, and financially capable. As times have changed, these things still hold true but with major modifications. We know that older women can produce and keep up with their children and household duties with no problems. A change over time has also shown that the household roles have merged and both women and men are responsible equally for the household. So, why can’t society look at things on an even playing field?
If we were to look at how society has scrutinized those men and women who are in the lime light, we would see how such practice is definitely uneven. The most recent couples we’ve heard about are Demi Moore and Ashton Kusher and Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. These couples were badgered in two totally different prospective. The reports on Demi Moore and Ashton Kusher was how could she date a man so young, why would Ashton choose such an older woman, and oh my goodness they’re getting married with such an age difference. On the flip side of this, we have Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes where age wasn’t the big deal of their public relationship. It was him jumping on Oprah couch proclaiming his love (How ironic is it that I said earlier that men were considered to be more mentally mature?). Speaking of Oprah, while she has already produced a show on Older Women in Love with Younger Men, I have yet to see or hear of her doing a show on Older Men in Love with Younger Women.
When do we say enough is enough? If a person is of legal age to be with someone older, then who are we to judge? Right now, I have a friend who’s forty and her boyfriend is twenty-six. In our circle of friends, everyone is about the same age with the exception of him. Therefore, we are having a lot of issues arising in our little click because of the age jokes that just won’t stop. I must admit that I, at first, had a problem with it, but as the years went by, I have noticed that he loves her and respects her very much. He has proved himself to be a very responsible young man and he’s able to hold his own against all the jokes targeted at him. The funniest thing about it is that with every couple in our circle, the men are all older than the women—only by five or six years, but still older.
The point is times have changed. Women are dating and marrying younger men because they can, just as men have done for years. If a man and a woman fall in love, who are we to say anything? As long as no laws are being broken, it should be accepted or, at the very least, tolerated. Their relationship is what they make of it. We as a society don’t need to add our two cents. We must accept the change and go with the flow.
Note: Melissa Ray-McCann is a student at Nova Southeastern University, near Fort Lauderdale, Florida.