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May 21, 2015

Rebel Wilson may have Lied about her Age—& That’s OK.

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Earlier this week, the news was abuzz with claims that the Australian actress and comedian, Rebel Wilson, lied about her age.

According to former classmates, Wilson not only came from an upper middle class background and used to go by the given names, “Melanie Elizabeth,” but is actually 35 and not 29 like she claimed.

As a fan of Ms. Wilson’s, my initial reaction upon hearing this was, “So? Who cares?” My reaction upon hearing it several times since and following “confirmation” by the Sydney Morning Herald that she is indeed 35, remains the same.

Wilson is hardly the first or the last celebrity who ever fudged the truth about her age. Indeed, throughout the history of show business it has been somewhat of a tradition for entertainers—especially females—to either outright lie about their age, or in the case of the legendary Mae West, be as vague about it as possible.

Speaking as someone who has never been in show business and has no desire to either, I have known more than a few women who followed the example cited above.

Growing up in the South, I was familiar with the often-repeated phrase, “A lady never tells her age.” Indeed, my oh-so-Southern aunt-by-marriage was 39 for as long as I could remember. Even my mother, a Baltimore transplant who had very little vanity, would often shave a couple of years off her age. (I can recall being about eight or nine years old and correcting her when she gave her age to someone. I don’t remember who she was talking to, but I do remember she was not happy with my chiding in.)

I’ve noticed over the years that the majority of my female Facebook friends have either removed the year they were born or do not make it public.

I joke that I am one of the few people I know who has never lied about my age, but the reality is I don’t have the need. More often than not, I am mistaken for being younger than my actual age of 38. (I credit that with being part-Asian.) Whenever anyone asks how old I am, I do not hesitate to tell the truth.

However, I am now of the age where if complimented about my appearance, it is often with the addition, “For your age.” While 38 is hardly a dinosaur, there is no denying that I am no longer a fresh young thing especially since I live in a college town and the average age appears to be 25.

Whenever the entering freshman class files into town to begin the fall semester, I am amazed at how young they look. Not only is that because they are young, but I am old enough to be the mother of the majority of them.

That alone is enough to make anyone hesitate about telling their own age, but I cannot even begin to imagine the pressure that Wilson and other women face in Hollywood.

As someone who does not look like the conventional Hollywood type, Wilson already has an uphill battle. Add to that she is over 30 in a business that fetishes youth, and it makes even more sense she may have fibbed about her age.

Many Hollywood actresses have spoken out publicly about age discrimination in Hollywood and the decision by many to pair leading men with women who are often decade younger. For proof of that, one need only to go to the movies and see 47 year old Will Ferrell star along side 32 year old Alison Brie in Get Hard. And 15 years isn’t even a big age gap by Hollywood standards. Now, try to think of a leading lady have a much-younger male love interest in a movie where the age gap isn’t a major part of the plot. (I couldn’t think of one either.)

While some may argue this isn’t fair or right, it doesn’t change the reality of the situation.

Therefore, I can’t criticize Wilson. After all, she didn’t harm anyone and she handled her outing with grace and humor tweeting, “OMG I’m actually a 100 year old mermaid formerly known as ‘CC Chalice’ ….thanks shady Australian press for your tall poppy syndrome x…Okay but all jokes aside now…my real name is Fat Patricia x.”

I noticed she didn’t apologize, and I am glad she didn’t.

She has nothing to be sorry about.

~

Relephant:

This is the Best Possible Age to Be.

~

Author: Kimberly Lo

Editor: Travis May

Photos: Wikipedia

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