WORDS By Raelee Lancaster
A man who has flown around the world, teaching children to read and building schools for the disenfranchised, and a woman who has found the cure for cancer. Two kind-hearted, loving people. But what does society focus on? The fact they have partners who are significantly younger themselves.
News articles which include ‘interviews’ on health and relationships, such as “The bigger the age gap, the shorter the marriage” from New York Post, do not help society move toward a more discriminatory-free world. Loving a person, regardless of their age, does not make someone a ‘cradle-snatcher’ or a ‘gold-digger’. As people mature, they don’t look at someone’s age as a degree of compatibility—they look for shared interests, for understanding, and for someone with whom they can share their life with.
“They are at different stages in their lives,” people say. But what does a person’s year of birth have to do with their maturity, their desires, or love? Sure, maybe one partner has more ‘life experience’, such as children, a steady career or copious amounts of frequent flyer points. However, just like with any other relationship, the so-called-obstacles can be overcome if both parties communicate and see each other as partners, not as sexual playthings like so much of society assumes.
One example of such a partnership can be found in the newly married Stephen Fry. The media announced their relationship with distaste, calling Fry’s partner, Elliot Spencer, a ‘toyboy’ and making a mockery out of a loving, consensual relationship. Soon Twitter users, always there to put their two cents worth into a conversation, began turning the media’s mockery into a bloody circus. Almost every Tweet was included into news articles—yes, news articles. Whatever happened to fact before gossip? All the media was able to see and do was pick apart Spencer and Fry’s relationship by noting how Spencer “looks like his son”.
The question now is, when, and how society is going to stop sticking their nose into other people’s business? When are they going to stop saying, “He’s old enough to be his son” and start saying, “He’s old enough to be his husband.” When are they going to stop looking at younger women as ‘trophy wives’, objects for another persons pleasure, and starting acknowledging them as someone’s wife.
Unfortunately, I do not believe that time will come at some point in the near future. However, with the acceptance and anti-discriminatory rallies that are slowly rising and making society rethink their blatant disregard for a person’s right to love who they want, I can only hope that that day will arrive soon rather than later.