This is what a senator looks like

Happy First Saturday in November! I love November for lots of reasons:

For starters, pumpkin flavor is everywhere, Thanksgiving and my family will be around the table, autumn leaves are beautiful and okay, I’ll admit it:

my birthday. I’ll be 49 in 10 days and I’m really excited about it. Really. Plus, I’m going to New York to celebrate! I love New York.

Recently, I was introduced at a meeting at work and the person doing the introducing did one of those “slurring of the sounds” when the introduction got to the part where it revealed how long I’d been teaching. Why slur it?

I’m proud of my age and experience! I’ve been teaching for 25 years and I’m almost 50!

Not only is gender holding women back in this country, there is also a age bias. Is it real for men, too? You tell me; I study women. If women are to be elected to the presidency, they probably aren’t going to be twenty-five when it happens. We need to get used to aging faces.

A wise mentor recently told me that in the few years leading up to her retirement she was called (behind her back) the “menopause” dean. I thought this kind of vicious name calling ended in middle school. If we want to level the playing field for our daughters we need to confront not just gender discrimination, but age discrimination, too.

I’m happy to see these two senators on the front page of my NY Times today debating military sex assaults in the senate. It is progress, but we have to confront the nasty stereotypes and bias against women aging in our society.

Next year I’ll be 50, and I want to have a big party to celebrate it. I’m proud of it and all you aging men and women ought to be proud of your ages, too. It beats the alternative.


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