We Asked Desi Women About Why They Lie About Their Ages And Wow, This Explains So Much

By Momina Naveed | 4 Jul, 2018

Mashallah betay, how old are you now?” is a question almost all of us, women, have come across. Be it from someone as intimidating as a rishta aunty or a person as casual as a distant relative, this question undoubtedly makes most of us break a sweat and a half. Why is that, you think? Well, I was just as curious as most of you reading this, but in lieu of sitting down with my hands crossed, I figured why not ask some desi women what they think?

And here are the million dollar opinions I found:

1. The age-old age stigma

Source: Dhivya Gunasekar

Dhivya Gunasekar had the following to share: ”

I personally think there’s a certain stigma surrounding a woman’s age which causes them to think, otherwise. Most women, at least the ones I associate with on a daily basis, believe that revealing their ages might cause the society to judge their abilities to accomplish things and make meaningful choices. If you have noticed, this is usually quite prevalent among women in their mid 30’s-40’s. Although, I don’t think that should be the case. If men can go around unbothered about their age affecting their abilities (and job opportunities for that matter), so can women.”

 

2. Being “useless” after a certain age – true or nah?

Source: Arushi Tandon

Here’s what Arushi Tandon shared:

“I personally feel like women lie about their ages because we live in a misogynistic environment where women apparently get “useless” with age and are more of a liability and less of an asset, so coming across as younger, even if it’s by a few years, is supposed to benefit them in the wretched patriarchal eyes of society. It’s really fucked up but it’s the actual fabric of our society right now. It’s like the younger the woman, the more desirable she is- this extends to not just romantic/sexual connotations but also to economic and sociopolitical aspects.”

 

3. The whole women being younger than men bs

Source: Eman Akram

Eman Akram stated the following:

“They lie because there’s this sexist system of our societies which stresses on the notion that women should always be younger than men which is very stupid as our religion is even against it. I guess this mindset of women always being younger than men and the concept of ” right age for marriage” that is set by our societies makes women lie about their age.”

 

4. The fear of being judged

Source: Rukaiya Gohar

Rukaiya Gohar shared the following insight:

“I feel women lie about their ages because they don’t want to be judged. The minute a woman reveals her age, the person opposite her or let’s say society thinks that she should be at a certain level in her life. For example, if someone mentions that they are 26-27, the next question would be ‘Oh are you married or aren’t you getting married?'”

5. The idea of appeal

Source: Arsh Khan

Arsh Khan had the following to share:

“I think it all comes down to the appeal of youth, particularly in society. Everyone considers younger women to be at their prime, both in terms of success and beauty, so that’s why women often lie about their age; often opting for a younger persona for the masses (and self-denial).”

 

6. The process of conditioning

Source: Saffiyya Mohammed

Saffiyya Mohammed stated:

“I think women lie about their age because they are conditioned to think that they 1) shouldn’t age and always look young and 2) at a certain age they should be at x stage in life (ie married with kids etc) so they think that they may be breaking the mold by not doing what they’re ” supposed” to do.”

 

7. Societal expectations come into play

Source: Zoha Imran

This is what Zoha Imran shared:

“I think women lie about their ages because they feel that their maturity level gets judged by it, a lot. But not just that, our society is quite messed up; no one is as lucky as Meghan Markle. Even if you look young, there’s a really small percentage of males who would want to marry a woman older than 30 years of age.”

 

8. Dodging assumptions

Source: Arshiya Ahmed
Here’s what Arshiya Ahmed shared:
“Usually, women lie about their ages to avoid certain assumptions made about them; these are ruled on the basis of certain cultural ideas. For example, how society has set random ages for certain actions (done studying by 25 etc), could easily be dodged by lying about age. On the other hand, few women are in love with their youth, so they never want to get over the fact that age brings wisdom and grace or that age doesn’t define beauty.”

 

9. The pressure women face

Source: Minahil Anjum

Minahil Anjum stated the following:

“We are told that age defines youth. As soon as someone hits forty, we say “forty is ancient”. Its just a fraught age for a woman. Your fertility recedes to basically nothing and we just aren’t actively indulging in life as we were. This is what we have created for people to believe in. We live in a world where wrinkles, dark spots and, cellulite are airbrushed so the outcome is pleasing to the world.”

“Every woman wants to look fresh and dewy simply because it’s ‘appetizing’ to the world. Hence, we are taught to hide our imperfections, color our hair, and camouflage ourselves under layers of makeup or go the permanent way by throwing ourselves under surgical knives. We have linked a certain appeal to every age. So considering this, which woman wouldn’t want to lie about her age?”

“Which woman wouldn’t ask for some “fountain of youth” to make her appealing again? Which woman wouldn’t want to fit in in order to be accepted by this society? Every human requires love and attention and if it is taken away from them they opt for things like lying. Point is, we force women to hide their true identities and so they do.”

10. Internalized issues

Source: Fatima Shafique
Fatima Shafique shared the following:
“Ask any aunty how old she is and you’re bound to get “16”. We make fun of it, but do we realize how internalized the problem is? Since childhood girls are bombarded with visuals of how important their youth and beauty is. As if 29 is a woman’s expiry date but men age like fine wine. Women lie because they’re told once you cross 30 you’re not attractive or even worthwhile. It’s because it’s virtually unacceptable for older women to exist as more than “aunties” and we’d all hate to be just that.”

11. Societal restrictions

Source: Manahil Naveed

Manahil Naveed had this to share:

“Society loves to bind women with restrictions. If a woman above the age of 40 decides to do her makeup & wear whatever her heart desires, she will face a butt-load of judgmental looks. Women want to be able to do these things for as long as they can, which can lead them to shave off a few years from their existence.”

12. The obsession of others with youth when it comes to desi women 

Source: Emaan Mujahid

Emaan Mujahid stated:

“Most women lie about their ages because of the attitudes of other people. In particular, other women around them. Our society gives utmost importance to the youth of women. For example, while trying to marry off their sons, people generally give preference to younger girls. Even if a woman is married and older than her husband she becomes an anomaly. This attitude ingrains the fear of being called an ‘aunty’ in the minds of young girls and compels them to hide their true ages.”

Overall, everyone pointed towards the patriarchy ingraining a certain mindset, and societal expectations, but each response had something unique to offer. What are your thoughts on this? Why do you think this happens with desi women? Let us know in the comments.

 

Sorry “Characterless” Women Of Pakistan, There’s No Place For You Here

 

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Cover image via PBS Studio

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