7 Things We Need to Stop Saying to Women Over 40

Sex and the City women over 40 cast
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The best part about getting older is all the skills and confidence you’ve picked up along the way. Think about it—you’ve got your personal style down pat, you know how to calculate your net worth and your home is filled with items that spark joy. And hey, you’re just getting started. Because haven’t you heard? Forty is the new 20. Except—groan—please don’t say that. This, and six other phrases that people really, truly need to stop saying to women over 40.

1. “Forty is the new 20!”

The sentiment behind this phrase is a good one (i.e., you still have a lot of living left to do!), but who the hell would want to go back to their 20s? Sure, there were some fun times but for the most part, your 20s were a blur of insecurity, comparisons to everyone around you, paying your dues, late nights and drinking too much. No, thank you. Forty is the new 40 and thank god for that. If you need us, we’ll be sitting on the sofa (Pottery Barn, of course) with a glass of Pinot and in bed by 10 p.m.

2. “Wow, you look amazing for your age!”

Equally annoying: “You’re so strong/fast/energetic…for your age.” Come on, has J.Lo taught us nothing? Beauty, power and drive have nothing to do with age. If anything, now that you finally know how to compliment your coloring and pick the right foundation, you’ve never looked better. Let’s squash the narrative that youth equates with beauty and embrace the fact that getting older is pretty damn sexy. 

3. “You’re such a cougar.”

This one is so offensive and cringe-worthy that we almost don’t even want to bring it up. Do we call men who date younger people the name of a ferocious feline species? No, we do not. Besides, why wouldn’t a younger person want to date an older woman? She’s confident, she’s authentic and—importantly—she knows her way around the bedroom.

4. “There are a lot of health issues with pregnancy over 40.”

Trust us, any woman over the age of 40 who is considering pregnancy knows this already. Oh, and she has a doctor. So unless you have an M.D. after your name, you can just zip it.

5. “Are you sure you should be wearing that mini skirt?”

If your 20s were all about making mistakes and your 30s were all about finding your groove, your 40s are about not giving a f*ck about what anyone else thinks. Meaning, you should absolutely rock that mini skirt, sequin top or ripped denim if you want to

6. “Oh, it’s a young person thing… you wouldn’t get it.”

She knows what TikTok is, OK? Sure, you may have to explain what BeReal is or what “drip” means, but remember that you too will one day be over 40 and have to ask someone to demystify the latest social media trend or slang term. So cut the patronizing and be nice.

7. “Are you going through menopause or something?”

Excuse you? Have you ever had someone chalk up your behavior to PMS? Did you like it? We think not.

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Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...