Age gaps between people who are in a romantic relationship is always a tricky and sensitive issue. However, the double standards when it comes to age gaps are glaring and apparent. In most relationships, society prefers men to be older than women. It accepts the age difference only if the man is older than the woman. These double standards are most visible, especially in Bollywood. Relationships like that of Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas face heavy criticism, trolling and hateful comments. Why do we, as a society, condone such double standards? Why is it objectionable when a woman is the older one in the relationship? Does age really matter when it comes to an adult relationship? Watch the video or read the article below about double standards in Bollywood and our society.
We Accept It When Men Are Older
Society, in general, has no qualms with the man being the older one in a romantic relationship. The examples in Bollywood are aplenty. Kareena Kapoor Khan is 38, while her husband, Saif Ali Khan is 48. However, they’re one of the most popular couples in B-Town. Heartthrob Shahid Kapoor is 14 years older than his wife, Mira Rajput who is only 24. However, their relationship doesn’t face much scrutiny over the age difference.
Relationships like that of Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas face heavy criticism, trolling and hateful comments. Why do we, as a society, condone such double standards?
There are many more examples in our film industry that reflect how men marrying much younger women has been normalised. Ritesh Deshmukh is 40 while Genelia D’Souza is 31. Alia Bhatt is 25 while her boyfriend, Ranbir Kapoor is ten years older than her. Aamir Khan is 54 and his wife, Kiran Rao is 45. The age gap further widens for Sanjay Dutt, who is 59, and his wife Manyata, who is 39. Their 20-year age difference is hardly discussed as much as the age difference between couples where the woman is older.
So, Why The Double Standard?
Society doesn’t question a relationship where a man is five, ten, or sometimes even twenty years older than his partner. Then why the double standard when it comes to older women? When the woman in a relationship is older than the man, our society freaks out. A major reason for this is the supposed idea that women should be submissive to their male partners in any heterosexual relationship. An older woman, who earns more, and is even taller, threatens this norm. She is perceived to be dominating, the one calls all the shots in her relationship. Society is unable to handle the idea of a woman being more experienced or wiser than a man in a romantic relationship.
Society doesn’t question a relationship where a man is five, ten, or sometimes even twenty years older than his partner. Then why the double standard when it comes to older women?
Perhaps this is why Priyanka Chopra, who is ten years older than her husband, Nick Jonas, receives so many bitter comments. “I find it really amazing when you flip it and the guy is older, no one cares and people actually like it,” said Priyanka Chopra in response to her trolls. Her statement points out the double standard in society. “People gave us a lot of shit about the age gap and still do.” Malaika Arora, 45, has talked about facing the same because she is seeing Arjun Kapoor, who is 34 years old. “If I want to marry a man younger than me, it’s not your problem!” she boldly declared.
However, trolling and criticism hasn’t stopped many Bollywood divas from following their heart. In 2016, Urmilla (45) married businessman and model Mohsin Akhtar, who is ten years younger. Sushmita Sen, who is dating the 28-year-old Rohman Shawl also faces criticism online. Farah Khan, 54, is married to 46-year-old Shirish Kunder.
Love Above All Barriers
It is important to recognize the power of love beyond the constricting boundaries of age, gender, race, caste, creed, religion and class. When two adults are in a consenting relationship, society has no right to judge their love based on their outdated notions and double standards. Let us all accept love above everything else.
Picture Credit: The Cheat Sheet
Prapti is an intern at SheThePeople.TV