I’m a feminist with strong self-esteem — so why do I care so much about looking old and fat?

Amanda Hirsch
5 min readNov 2, 2021
It’s hard to see myself free of society’s fractured mirror (photo by Joeyy Lee on Unsplash)

Earlier today, a man on the street thought I was my daughter’s grandmother.

First of all, a quick PSA to dudes on streets everywhere (as well as indoor dudes, and really, all dudes, and you know what, it’s not about gender, I’m addressing everyone, here): Never, ever call someone a “grandma” unless you’re reallllly, completely, totally sure that they’re a grandma.

Seems like that should go without saying, but here we find ourselves.

I’m 45 years old, and until now, literally no one has ever mistaken me for older than I am (or if they have, they’ve kept it to themselves). When I was 21 and my then-boyfriend, now-husband, Jordan, was 20, we ordered wine at a restaurant, and only I got carded. I got carded well into my 30s. When I tell people I’ve been married for over 20 years, their jaws often drop: “What, did you get married when you were in high school?!” (When I tell them that, no, I was 23, their jaws often drop once again, because no one in my circles gets married that young, apparently—but I digress.)

I have a young face — or so I thought. The truth is, I’ve been so busy hoping people don’t see me as fat, it never occurred to me to hope people didn’t see me as old, too.

I got fat in this pandemic, going up two clothing sizes. I’m trying very hard to embrace self-love and body positivity and all of the things—to remind myself that size and health are not interchangeable, and neither are size and beauty. That genetics has a huge role to play in how big we are. That more and more research shows that diets don’t work:

“According to a 2013 review of common commercial weight loss protocols, people lose around 5–10% of their body weight in the first year of any diet, but over the next two to five years, they gain back all but an average of 2.1 pounds.”
— Virginia Sole-Smith in an article about weight loss app Noom on Bustle

(God bless Virginia Sole-Smith and her Burnt Toast newsletter, about how we navigate diet culture and fatphobia — it has taught me so much.)

The truth is, I think older women are powerful AF; it kills me that our culture diminishes them (though that tide may be shifting)…

Amanda Hirsch

I write about raising women's voices, power, and motherhood.