In 1999, while writing Older Women/Younger Men, one of my interviewees stated, “We’ve had to find forgiving friends.” Though that statement may sound extreme today, it was the reality many of us experienced only a decade ago. Hooking-up with a young guy was acceptable… but loving, committed partnerships were chastised. It wasn’t just the women suffered social reproach. The men, too, were diminished. Seen as opportunistic boy toys, they were saddled with “what’s wrong with them,” for loving an older woman. Gratefully, society has come to understand this union as just another option for love and romance.
It’s also losing its “fad” status. No, it’s not just a “celebrity” thing. It’s a choice that’s representative of a shift in mainstream thinking. Now that a younger man is on the game board of every woman’s options, and older women increase a younger man’s choices as well, everyone benefits. The liberation is not only one of love, but of an entire social consciousness. Accepting love, and seeing beyond of image of age, signals female emancipation and male evolution. It’s the freedom to see women’s sexual desirability beyond the cage of youth and beauty. It’s the freedom to see men’s worth, beyond power and status.
This ideological opening extends from a greater message. Barriers that limit love are crumbling. Whether racial, religious, or gender-based; love is what matters. And the freedom to love, should know no boundaries.
Each decade creates more choice, extending the realm of who we are, and what we can be, in the world. Each generation becomes more tolerant and inclusive. The rigid format by which we once viewed social structure and its corresponding roles for men and women is shifting to accommodate new choices and expanded liaisons