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Lady Kitty Spencer, Princess Diana's niece got married to a man 30 years older - and that reminded us of how a much older man is given a pass, unlike an older woman in a relationship who is brutally trolled.
Lady Kitty Spencer, Princess Diana’s niece got married to a man 30 years older – and that reminded us of how a much older man is given a pass, unlike an older woman in a relationship who is brutally trolled.
So…Princess Diana’s niece got married yesterday. I remember seeing her during Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nuptials. I remember the breathy and very enthusiastic TV commentators gushing over how pretty she was and how excited they would be when she – Lady Kitty – would announce her wedding.
Well…she announced her engagement last year, and then got married yesterday, and the headlines in the news are… to put it mildly… interesting.
Thing is – Lady Kitty is 30. And, Michael Lewis, her husband is 60. Lady Kitty’s husband is older than her father. Her husband’s children from his first marriage are older than Lady Kitty.
This is just FYI. I have NO issues one way or the other about anyone marrying anyone else as long as the folks getting married are OK with it.
But what I am NOT OK with is how these so-called “age-inappropriate relationships” are reported in the news media. I did a quick google search this morning with the following words “Lady Kitty Michael Lewis age difference” and the following screenshots came up.
The very first headline that shows up mentions how Lady Kitty, 29, is to wed £80 million fashion tycoon. All of the subsequent headlines make no reference whatsoever to the VAST age difference between the couple.
I then google searched the following “Priyanka Chopra Nick Jonas age difference”.
And this is what showed up.
Literally, EVERY SINGLE STORY on page 1 of the search results threw up the fact that Priyanka Chopra is 10 years older than Nick Jonas.
Oh, what horror has befallen upon the world when a woman is older than her male partner!
When Priyanka Chopra married Nick Jonas – predictably, the comments came by furiously.
“She looks like his older sister. She looks like his auntie. His mummy.”
New York magazine had a woman writer of color who tore apart Chopra’s marriage to Jonas on the DAY OF HER WEDDING and called it a scam. Some of the pearls that oozed out of the writer’s – Mariah Smith – venomous column include, “Nicholas Jonas married into a fraudulent relationship against his will this past Saturday. All Nick wanted was a possible fling with Hollywood’s latest It Woman, but instead he wound up staring straight at a life sentence with a global scam artist. Nick, if you’re reading this, find that horse and gallop away as fast as you can!”
The implication being that unless Chopra did some voodoo magical shit on Jonas or paid him to marry her – Chopra couldn’t attract a man ten years her junior. That Chopra – while a Hollywood newbie at the time – was a global superstar, was not a factor. That she was/is stunningly beautiful, smart AF, and ambitious and hard-working did NOT matter. That this was written – not by a man but by a woman and a woman of color – just shows how pervasive slut-shaming is and how dismissively these so-called age-inappropriate relationships are talked about when the woman is older.
Remember the hue and cry that was made when Demi Moore married Ashton Kutcher? I remember the comments that came by fast and furious when the two of them got hitched. “Dude had her poster on his wall growing up and wanted to do her. Dude…you didn’t need to marry the grandma!”
There was such a “How dare she marry someone so younger?” and “Does she not know that their marriage will never last?” and the whole “There will be a time when the guy will fall out of love and marry someone younger?”
That may all well be true but so what? Even marriages that start with the best of intent and are the most age-appropriate, income-appropriate, religion-appropriate don’t work out. There is no guarantee that ANY relationship will work out. So why not spend your energy sending good wishes to the couple in question instead of either being snarky about them or predicting doomsday scenarios for their future? Which, BTW, is something that never ever factors in when the guy is older than the woman. At the very least – wish them the best on their – then – happiest day.
Clearly, Circa 2021, this trend continues unabated. The very casual misogyny towards these so-called ‘age-inappropriate relationships’ are still thriving in our world.
A few years back, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey said this in their opening monologue as hosts of the Golden Globes in 2014. “Gravity is the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.”
It was obviously a joke, but one that not just makes you hahahaha laugh-out-loud, but is also a commentary on the man-woman relationship.
When the joke came out – Clooney’s previous three girlfriends were Stacy Keibler, Elisabetta Canalis and Sarah Lawson. And the age difference between Clooney and his girlfriends were more than 20 years. Even when he married Amal Clooney – the age difference between them was 17 years.
No one even batted an eyelid when Clooney went around with these young women. Sure, there were cute quips about his age-inappropriate relationships – but there were never any scathing snarky comments that typically accompanies stories when it’s the other way around.
And this respect is given not just to Clooney but other top-list A-list megastars and the not-so-famous stars as well.
Look at Leonardo Di Caprio. His ammo is very simple. It’s a two-pronged attack to how he scores his girlfriends. They HAVE to be models. Not even a stunningly beautiful but just-an-actress like Blake Lively would do for him. Oh, no. They HAVE to be Victoria Secret or Sports Illustrated models. AND every new model should be younger than her predecessor.
As Di Caprio gets older – his girlfriends get younger.
His newest model girlfriend Camilla Morrone is 23 years younger than him. For once, he went against his normal type and hooked himself a brunette. At 46 and with a girlfriend who is 23 Di Caprio is perilously close to bypassing women young enough to be his daughter to reaching a stage where he will soon be their grandfather’s age. I can totally see him at 70-years-old with multiple homes all over the world, still getting the best roles in Hollywood AND consorting with 20-year-olds.
And he will get a pass for his behavior.
Not that he shouldn’t get a pass. It’s HIS life. It’s his money. And he can and should do whatever he wants. What bothers me are how sexist the stories about Di Caprio’s relationships are.
The compliments abound when it’s a man with a younger woman. He is such a player! I wish I was as lucky as him. Dawg!
Take a look at more of these celebrity relationships where the dude is so much older than his partner.
I, personally, don’t give a rat’s ass about who marries whom and how old they are. If the people in question are happy with each other – who the f… are we to say anything? What does, however, PISS me off is the narrative that surrounds older men with much younger women (Rah rah! Player, Dawg) but how it all shifts and changes and there is so much venom spewed when it’s the other way around.
And in the event that an older-woman and younger-man relationship actually works and stands the test of time – Hugh Jackman and Deborah Furness (Furness is 13 years older) – then there HAS to be a more nefarious reason why it survived, right?
Me: Uhh…they’re actually in love?
Them: What? Are you f…ing crazy? There’s something between them (cue HAHAHA laughter here) but love ain’t it. She’s with him because…duhhh…he’s Hugh Jackman. But why is HE WITH HER?
Me: Fact is that when they first met it was Furness who was a much bigger star and Jackman was more of an upstart. She did HIM a solid by marrying him and putting her career on hold.
Them: (one second pause and then) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!
There are still stories that abound in the online world about how Jackman is secretly gay and very much in the closet and scared to ‘come out,’ so, Furness is ‘actually his Beard’. The fact that the two of them are VISIBLY in love with one another seems to not matter very much to these truth-seekers and truth-tellers. That a well-respected actress like Furness who is also witty and smart and gorgeous was clearly in love with him did not matter. What mattered was that she was older than Jackman and did not ‘look’ the way a woman is supposed to if she was to hook a man like Jackman. You know – the skinny, drop-dead traffic stopping gorgeous woman?
Like…uhh…I don’t know? Someone like Priyanka Chopra?
But, hey…they didn’t leave her either. Priyanka Chopra ‘looks’ exactly the way a hottie like Nick Jonas would fall for. But even that did not satisfy the viciousness dealt towards her.
It feels like there’s NO winning for us women and it’s so f…ing depressing.
BUT…us women…we don’t just give up. Like, Heidi Klum…after saying for years that she would never ever remarry – when she finally did it, it was with Tom Kaulitz who is 31 to Klum’s 47.
What a big fat F… YOU to the systemic patriarchal misogyny of the world!
A version of this was first published here.
Images source: YouTube
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Hi...I'm Roopa. I'm also a messy optimist! I'm an academic-cum-artist. I'm a writer, filmmaker and professor of creative writing. Academically, I've a Double Masters and a Phd read more...
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I recommend reading Manjiri Indurkar's Origami Aai alongside her memoir to have a fulfilling and enriching experience of telling one's story with grace.
It’s All In Your Head, M famed author Manjiri Indurkar’s debut poetry collection, Origami Aai, is independent and yet an extension of her memoir in which she speaks with utmost grace about all forms of abuses that she has survived. In this book of intriguing and evocative poems, the poet weaves words to form images of the everyday life of her middle-class family, love found and lost, trauma, and healing.
The collection is divided into four segments, beginning with the family, slowly moving towards the world, and finally colliding them together.
We aren’t in mourning, but we are creatures of habit.
So we talk of each one who died of drowning,
and I listen to her stories with the patience
of a chronicler.
– Funereal Stories
When someone accuses you of "too much feminism", what they are really saying is, "I am uncomfortable with you challenging the status quo and disrupting my privilege".
Time and again, there is one phrase that keeps coming up in the social media discourse on feminism. Any guesses?
Ah, no prizes for guessing the infamous “itni bhi feminist” or “too much feminism” phrase, a classic eye-roller for me, and I am sure for many more of my tribe, in the realm of gender equality discussions.
Pray tell me, how can an ideology, a movement be too ‘much’? It’s not salt or the seasoning of your soup where you can go, “Oops, too much salt, only one spoon was required”. Either you stand for what feminism stands for, or you don’t.
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