Emile Ratelband is a television host. He works as an expert in positivity. But he says that his age is having a negative effect on his ability to find work and love.
Video: I suffer under my age: Dutch man seeks to legally change his age
So, Ratelband went to court to get his birth year legally changed from 1949 to 1969. He told the court that he did not feel comfortable with his age. He said he self-identified as 20 years younger.
Ratelband says he wants to avoid age discrimination in society. He says that when he asks for a mortgage, they say its impossible."
He complains that when he tries to get dates on a dating site called Tinder, he only gets women his age, in their late 60s. He says that with his youthful face and an age of 49, he would get more dates, possibly with younger women.
He told the Associated Press on Thursday, "With this free(dom) of choice, choice of name, freeness of gender, I want to have my own age. I want to control myself.
Marjolein van den Brink specializes in human rights and gender issues at Utrecht University. She said, "Its quite clear that elderly people have a much smaller chance of getting a job than younger people.
However, she says that age is different from the issues involved in reassigning gender. Age discrimination, she says, happens only at certain points in your career, usually between 40, 50 or 60 years of age.
Ratelband says the Dutch government could benefit if it were to accept his age demand. He says he would be happy to give up his monthly pension of around $1,370. That would be a savings of $343,000 over the 20 years for the government.
mortgage – n. a legal agreement in which a person borrows money to buy a property and pays back over a period of years
pension – n. amount of money that a company or government pays to a person who is old and no longer works
At first blush, this headline sounds like a sad and desperate ploy to hijack the legal system. But under the surface there’s a lot going on here. Serious questions about age discrimination, the role of the government in defining personhood, and male privilege run rampant. And, yes, an opportunity to bask in the glory of the world’s oldest hipster.
Emile Ratelband is asking the Netherlands to legally alter his age so he’s 20 years younger in defiance of the passage of time. Specifically, he’s asked a court in Arnhem to change his birthdate from March 11, 1949 to March 11, 1969 [the CNN article says “1960” but since that’s not how counting works, we’re assuming that’s a typo]. What does he hope to get out of this?
“If I put on Tinder that I am 69, I will not get a response…[As] 49, with that face of mine, then I’m rammed,” he said.
Pfizer should file an amicus brief laying out the risk to the global supply of Viagra if this guy wins.
But while it’s easy to dismiss this case as just some horny old dude who hasn’t fully considered the repercussions of losing his discount at Denny’s, Ratelband also lays out a serious concern:
Nowhere are you so discriminated against as with your age,” Dutch paper De Telegraaf quoted Ratelband as saying.
We’ll just chalk this up to Europe because there are lots of discrimination over here more extensive than age. Not that it doesn’t happen every day, but cops have rarely shot people in the streets for looking too satisfied with CBS’s primetime lineup. Though they should.
Ratelband is a DJ — and not a talk radio personality warning about caravans, but an actual club DJ spinning at the clubs. The CNN article even comes with a shot of him in action. It’s utterly unsurprising that this industry would be rife with age discrimination. Though one might think the easier route would be to, I dunno, outlaw age discrimination and create some agency with the teeth to enforce those rules rather than flood the courts to ad hoc requests to adjust someone’s age. But if they aren’t going to take on that task, why not just give the guy what he wants?
This whole affair forces us to confront just how much power we afford governments to define basic personhood, a phenomenon not lost on Ratelband:
No. Look, there’s something to this argument that government shouldn’t define you, but let’s not try to hijack trans rights with “but I’m missing out on some choice Tinder action!” There is some general conceptual overlap, but it smacks of male privilege to run into this fight with these complaints. But that’s just how men who actually grew up in the 1950s are.
On the other hand, a DJ working his Tinder profile with a hefty side of casual narcissism? Maybe he’s got a great case because as this sounds like a guy going through the sort of egregious mid-life crisis way more befitting a 49-year-old than a 69-year-old.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news.