We’ve had an ongoing discussion in our home about a quote from Yann Moix, age 50, who, in Marie-Claire magazine’s French edition, Moix, the author of several prize-winning novels, who says women 50+ are invisible to him.
“I prefer younger women’s bodies, that’s all. End of. The body of a 25-year-old woman is extraordinary. The body of a woman of 50 is not extraordinary at all,” he said, adding that he preferred to date Asian women, particularly Koreans, Chinese and Japanese. He further stated that women in their 50’s were invisible to him.
Naturally, there was a public outcry causing Moix to defend himself. But I wasn’t interested in hearing any more from Moix. I was more interested in the discussion Roger and I shared afterwards about the invisible woman syndrome.
What Causes the Invisible Woman Syndrome?
A little back story: I was married for almost 30 years to a man who wanted anything except what he had. From women to windsurf boards, he was always on the hunt for the next best thing. Bottom line: he loved young, fit women and, after my daughter was born, I no longer met his standards. Like Moix, he wasn’t reluctant to share his disdain for a less than perfect body.
So, at first, I was a bit triggered by Moix’ comments; his words hit a little too close to home for me.
In addition to being generally hurtful, not meeting my husband’s standards had a way of deeply degrading my self confidence. I kept working on improving my appearance in every way I could, hoping my husband would, in the end, love me, while at the same time believing that no man would love me or find me attractive until I achieved a nebulous and ever changing standard of perfection that was just out of reach.
What I didn’t realize at the time, was that my husband’s ideals did not reflect those of all other men on the planet, any more than Moix’ do.
As I moved into a new relationship, my biggest concern was whether Roger would find me attractive… you know… in the buff… (he says he thinks I’m hot) or whether his head would swivel every time a younger woman walked by. I am happy to say that he’s just not that type of guy.
Invisible Woman Syndrome: Why do Women Get Upset?
In our discussions about the Moix comments, Roger was completely at a loss as to why women would be upset. He believes that we all have preferences hardwired into our brains; it’s just a fact of life. And Moix was simply stating his personal preferences, nothing more. He was surprised when he thought I found Moix personal preferences upsetting. I don’t find his preferences upsetting; I just think Moix and people in general should keep their preferences to themselves.
There was a time when such a proclamation would have sent me on an anti aging binge and feeling fearful that I was unattractive because I could never look Asian. Like the time my husband and his friends were into Heather Locklear. I dyed my hair light blond and had wispy layers cut. We women want to be found attractive by men and go to lengths to do so.
We know intrinsically that our appearance matters in the mating game. We don’t want to hear that our entire age group is written off as undesirable. We can never be younger than we are today. Fighting the truth of our age is a loosing battle.
When we hear a man publicly eschewing older women, even though it’s just one voice, we suspect he’s not the only one, he was just the one who said it out loud. Our deepest fear is that ALL men are thinking the same thing: A women over 50 no matter who she is, what she’s accomplished or how well she’s kept herself is utterly undesirable. End of.
…Which is completely irrational given the number of men and women on the planet. And the number of happy mature couples.
Yet, several of my girlfriends using dating websites have discovered that if they say they are over 50, no matter how fit and attractive they are, get no interest. When they drop their age to 49, suddenly their inboxes are full. 50 seems to be the cut off point for dating online. Even men well into their mid 60’s and beyond state (online) that they prefer to date women under the age of 50 regardless of what he brings to the table, (attractiveness, fitness, age, or economic level.)
Whatever delusions older men might have about their desirability to women, their bodies have aged too. Few are anywhere close to being fit and their plumbing is not always completely up to par either. And that nice young girl for whom he has just purchased the latest Dior bag isn’t going to tell him how bored she is until his credit card is maxed out.
In spite of men’s seeming to prefer younger women, women over 50 seem to be finding men and having sexual relationships. The fact is, older people are still hooking up with one another; we have statistics on STD rates to prove it.
Further, I can tell you as someone who is open about her age, there is no shortage of men contacting me online with complements and proposals of marriage. Men looking for older women are out there. Moix is not the only fish in the sea, he’s just one voice out of millions.
As to Moix and his ilk, anyone who is insensitive enough to make comments about women in that way isn’t worthy of consideration by any woman young or not. Think of it: If that’s what he would share to a national magazine audience, can you imagine what it would be like to endure his company on the regular?
It’s important to make the distinction that guys like Moix are not interested in relationships, or anything of enduring value.
We may fear we are on the shelf, but that’s not how it plays in real life. Middle aged men and women still find partners. It’s true. Regardless of what guys say online or to each other, it is as it has always has been: There’s someone for everyone, including insufferable guys like Moix.
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