Age-ism by definition is about prejudice/discrimination based on a person’s age. It’s often brought up in relation to societies weird relationship with people over 60. However I think it needs to be pointed out that in today’s world (and often historically) young people tend to be the target for people ire just as often as the elderly. The idea we have that age suddenly means a person is wiser and deserves respect creates a odd power struggle between adults and children and I think does more harm than good.
As I’ve alluded to a bit in the past few weeks, my Grandmother is A LOT to deal with. She’s been through and lived through many changes for better or worse and does have plenty of interesting stories to tell. She’s also awful for my self esteem and has routinely called me/ my face fat almost every time I see her again when she visits. She still has plenty of internalized misogyny, some prejudice issue’s, and can be a generally negative unpleasant person to be around. To top it all off, she doesn’t really seem to be self aware at all. The idea that her advanced years (she’s 83 going on 84 and waaaay more spry than you think she is) give her diplomatic immunity is kind of ridiculous and even my mother breathes a sigh of relief when she goes back home after her visits.
For every kind and caring grandma there’s, more than likely (given the history of this country), at least one racist and bitter one. I’ll of course concede that this country tends to dump on the elderly often and I think shows like Gracie and Frankie (which I mentioned in a past recommendations post) do a great job at highlighting that. On the flip side as with any issue there’s often more nuance to it than that. We can both acknowledge that old people are often brushed to the side, while also treat them as individuals who can just as often lump young people into categories and dismiss them because they equate youth with inexperience.
For example, Hollywood has a huge age problem especially with women. This feeds into a culture that is obsessed with youth. You don’t ever see ads for products trying to make you look older and many people stop caring about adults once they can no longer work/ ‘contribute’* to the world. The resentment this creates causes a vicious cycle of “Evil Queen’s” hating on Snow White’s knowing full well they’ve still got a lot to offer. Meanwhile young people can’t help but want to be older because that’s the only way it seems people will listen to them/ give them any respect.
The relatively small gap in your life (late 20’s to early 50s) where people take you seriously leaves much to be desired. Sometimes people grow older, but learn nothing, while someone in their teens could have the twice the growth and life experience and you wouldn’t know it because we have weird hierarchy in order that helps no one. Essentially this is why my policy is that respect is something that can be freely given, but to keep it must always be earned. Other people don’t need prove themselves to me in grand gestures, but if you respect me than I’ll do the same it’s that simple. Age has nothing to do with your intelligence or your integrity in my book.
Anyway, as per usual stay informed and see you Friday.
*I don’t really believe people need to do something special/ make money for them to be considered important or worthwhile. Therefore the idea that one must contribute something to society to deserve to live is a bit archaic to me.