What's The Big Deal About Age In Heterosexual Relationships?
Before we start off, let me ask you a question. What is common between Nick Jonas and French President Emmanuel Macron? Well, they hit the headlines because their partners are older to them. Irrespective of whether or not this is right, we should understand why this is such a big deal. Because, at the end of the day, all that should truly matter is whether the two individuals are willing to get into a relationship. In this article, we explore the same to help you form an informed opinion.
The Right to Choose
We are aware of the fact that Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Indian Constitution has been interpreted by the judiciary in many ways. One of these interpretations is that the Right to choose a partner of choice is an integral part of Article 21. Setting aside the all-time controversies surrounding relationships between people belonging to different castes or religions, there’s something more interesting- Why are relationships between an elder female and a younger male (in the case of heterosexual relationships) considered immoral?
The Half-Your-Age-Plus-Seven Rule
Ever heard of the Half-Your-Age-Plus-Seven rule? According to this rule, a male should never date a female whose age is more than seven added to half of his age and is believed to have originated in France. Though this is not being practiced by most people today, it has had a deep impact on couples all across the world. Those couples that deviate from the conventional ‘elder male and younger female’ witness backlash from the entire society. These include the usage of slang words, of which ‘Gold-Diggers’ is the most popular.
The other day, my mother was telling me one of my cousins got an alliance with this man who was a bit younger than her. Her parents were absolutely okay but here comes the astrologer who says couples like that can never be happy in the long run. Now, what about Sachin Tendulkar whose wife Anjali is a year older than him? And what about Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, where the latter is 2 years older than the former? They should have not been together, had we gone by the logic that most astrologers (or for that matter, society) says.
Violation of the Tradition
The reasons for this practice are many. But the most evident ones are those of financial security for womxn (since men ideally earn more as they grow older) and the fact that this age disparity can push couples to bear children earlier. Besides this, there also is the practice of a woman respecting a man older than her- which many people think would be lacking if the woman is older (doesn’t make sense to me either). Also, in India, when a couple violates this ‘tradition’ where a woman dates/marries a man who is not elder to her, society says that kids these days are becoming ‘Westernized’ and blame education for this. I think, education should absolutely be blamed- because it puts sense into people!
Another important issue here is the fact that men perceive younger womxn to be beautiful and would rather date them. These womxn also apparently have high fertility rates. Many surveys show how much more important beauty is for males, when compared to females. On the other hand, womxn who give importance to looks prefer older males since they have more prominent masculine features such as facial hair.
At the end of the day, we are all individuals and we have the liberty to make our own choices. We are not liable to answer to anyone just because of our preferences. On the other hand, it is important that society understands the same and doesn’t bother couples talking about some obsolete traditions that are baseless- plus at the cost of peoples’ happiness. Remember what Article 21 is about? Good!
Illustration by: Tanvi Mohanty