There is a trend in social media where women give themselves credit for doing something serious and/or grown-up by calling it “adulting.” I’ve seen shirts emblazoned with the words “I Can’t Adult Today.” Instagram-ready coffee mugs stating that “Adulting is so hard.” Apparently, this new verb is meant to be an irreverent way of patting oneself on the back for acting your age. Though it may be intended as a way to show you aren’t taking yourself too seriously, it belittles the user. It mirrors the way some women act dumb for the benefit of a man’s attention. I have two college degrees and worked hard to increase my intelligence. Why would I want to downplay my success by acting like I don’t know how a bill becomes a law, for example?
Similarly, I bravely survived childhood and adolescence to join the adult world when I bought a house, started and developed within a career, had children, etc. Do I really need to downplay those accomplishments? What exactly is the purpose of pointing out how you folded laundry or paid a bill in this way? Women (and men) do these things all day, everyday.
“Adulting” undermines not only your success, but also your abilities. For example, I would not likely hand over a work project to someone who highlights making dinner or emptying the dishwasher as a primary accomplishment.
Society pushes against aging and the default caricature for mature women is the old hag. As we grow older, women are seen as less effective in their jobs. Hollywood doesn’t often feature successful older women in the same way it does a young, sexy 20 year old. It is hard enough out here for anyone over 35, so why are women self-infantilizing themselves with terms like “adulting?”
Grow up. Be proud. Spend less time posting your adult-like responsibilities as triumphs and more time posting about your child-like wonder and silliness. I’d much rather read about the snowman you built with your kids than how you sorted your mail this afternoon.