An Open Letter To Women Over 40 And The 20-Somethings Who Write About Them

by Phoebe Holmes

I’m officially in my forties. I’m surrounded by teenagers. And I’m tired of fetuses on the internet telling me what to do.

The other day, there was some slideshow on the internet, yet another “Things Women Shouldn’t Do After 30.”

One of the things? Wear big hoop earrings.

My response? A two fingered salute to the screen.

Seriously, fuck you and your “You’re too old for hoop earrings” noise. I’ve had a life-long love of hoop earrings. I just bought a pair of big-ass, to the shoulder, silver hoops. 

And yet some woman-child who thinks she’s all grown up is going to tell me what I can’t wear anymore because I’m too old?

Liz Lemon

Seriously — fuck that noise.

It’s partially because I am “old” that I’ve stopped caring about what’s socially acceptable for me to do or wear. I got my first tattoo at forty. This year, I had my hair dyed teal. And you know what? It looks fantastic. My favorite pair of shoes are my Doc Marten boots, and I dare any child on the internet who’s probably younger than some of the underwear I own to try to tell me I can no longer wear them.

You know what women shouldn’t do after the age of thirty? They shouldn’t tell other women what they can and can’t do. They shouldn’t accept the bullshit that’s piled onto them by other women. They shouldn’t try to repress their true selves to fit into societal standards. They shouldn’t listen to anyone who says, “You can’t do that.” They shouldn’t let complete strangers with less life experience then they have bully them into a corner.

How are we supposed to tell our daughters they can grow up to be whatever they want to be if we bow to the pressures of toddlers on the internet telling us we can’t wear hoop earrings after our thirtieth birthday?

Nope. Sorry. I reject your standards of how a woman over thirty should dress, should act, should style herself. I was never one for peer pressure, not before my thirties, and even moreso after my thirties.

Listen missy, here’s the deal. You’re too young to tell me what to do. Survive to my age and then you can make your own rules. Meanwhile, I’ll be wearing any length skirt I damn well please with my old Converse sneakers.

And for the record, you know who compliments my teal hair the most?

Females under thirty.

Even they aren’t buying this line of bullshit.

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This post originally appeared on It has been reprinted with permission.

Published June 9, 2016

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