Wednesday, May 16, 2018

An 'ism' to be Reckoned With


To achieve an anti-ageist future for a culture on trial,
the whole society needs to hear, in many media,
not how wonderful or dreadful being old is,
but how destructive ageism is.
                                                             Margaret Morganroth Gullette*


While truck driver whistles as a young woman were never appreciated; as an old woman I admit missing them or, better put, simply miss being noticed. This is reflective of my own internalized sexism. The 'ism' that has valued women for their youth and beauty. Today, with no more winks from handsome strangers, the 'ism' I deal with is 'ageism.'

Rarely do we see olders in ads – unless an ad for medication or adult diapers. If there are olders in films, more often than not they are seen with cognitive or physical impairment. Rather than the culture creating an environment bringing generations together – olders are seen as bankrupting the country through Medicare and Social Security. The 'old lady' and 'old man' labels are put-downs for olders.

All of this is reflective of the ageism that runs rampant in our culture and which many have internalized. I recognize my own internalized ageism when someone tells me, “You don't look 71.” Initially, I hear it as a compliment, I then catch myself and politely respond with: “This is what 71 looks like” or “You mean I don't look like your concept of 71.”

Unlike the protest movements of racism and sexism; ageism has yet to catch on. I can't help but ask myself is it because we olders fail to recognize the subtleties of ageism in our own lives. I end today's blog with asking you to examine your own awareness of how ageism impacts you and how you may have internalized it.

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*Gullette Morganroth, Margaret:
 Ending Ageism or How Not to Shoot Old People (page 201)


through email (see panel to right of blog.

Note:  Last blog, 12/5/17, found me  a 'witness' to the ageism of our culture; today's blog finds me a 'victim'. Whether 'victim' or 'witness' (though witness feels better) -- the important point is that ageism is abusive and is an 'ism' to be reckoned with.