#Personal Stories

Gold Digger: How Society Shames Young Women For Dating Older Men

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A few weeks ago, all the tabloids went berserk about the news of Sushmita Sen and Lalit Modi allegedly dating. Every person with an access to the internet was quick to judge Sen and her choices, some going to the extent of calling her a gold digger. Was it any of our business to have opinions on a person’s dating preferences? Did we have to bring a relationship under scrutiny merely because of an age gap? Love comes in all shapes and sizes, what has age got to do with it?

If you look it up on the internet, you’ll find a roster of celebrities from Bhutan’s King and Queen to George and Amal Clooney with a huge age gap between the partners. They’ve been together for years; some even have children and are enjoying a blissful marriage. The question here is, if the couple is happy and content with their relationship, who are we to judge them? Why are we calling the women gold diggers just because they chose to be with men older than them?

Are young women gold diggers simply for dating older men?

If a man dates a younger woman, his choice is rarely questioned but if a woman decides to date a younger man, she automatically becomes a cougar or in the case of an older man, she becomes a gold digger. Do you see the hypocrisy that we as a society perpetuate? We are quick to judge women because we are used to policing every move that she makes, whether it has to do with jobs or personal lives. It’s simply another way to criticize and demean women, dismissing the younger ones for dating older men and according to the place of a predator for dating younger men.

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As women we are expected to live by societal standards of what’s right and wrong, personal choices are no longer treated as ‘personal’, it is taken up on public forums to diss and dismiss. While looking at matrimonial matches, elders dictate what an appropriate age gap is. I’ve heard stories of grandmothers and great-grandmothers being married off at eight or nine years of age while their husbands were 20 or above. Go through history books and you’ll notice a pattern here on old kings marrying much younger princesses. And yet, what comes under scrutiny today is women taking agency and deciding to date men older than them. What is the big deal?

As a society we are intrusive and judgmental, and it needs to stop. Dating or marrying should be a personal choice, undictated by what our families, friends and friends of friends think. Age is just a number, there’s much more that goes into the making of a relationship. Instead of butting in on relationships and gossiping about it, aunties and uncles need to keep their phones down and focus on how flawed their worldviews are. Leave the women alone, let them date who they want to and respect their choices. We’re fully grown women who can decide for ourselves and no one else gets to decide what’s appropriate and what’s not.

This article has been published under SheThePeople’s Young Writers Training Program. Views expressed are the author’s own.