CharlieMC (charliemc) wrote,
CharlieMC
charliemc

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Ageism

I just found out the year my friend June was born -- 1933.

That makes June almost twenty years older than I am, which surprised me.

Why?

I guess because she never seems 'old' to me. But then, her mother was 89 and didn't seem 'old' to me, either.


My own parents were 'old' in their 40's, on the other hand. Not because I was younger and found 40 old, but because they saw themselves that way and acted accordingly... (That was more about them than how others saw them. I know a lot of people who felt both my parents were young for their years. Except maybe at the very end of them...)

Hey? The term 'blue-haired ladies' just burns my ass, by the way!

Yeah, a number of older women who have gray or white hair do tend to have it treated in a way that makes their hair seem to be 'blue' (or sort of blue-ish) in color.

Yeah, they'll often wear their hair in some stiff, bubble-head hairdo. You know, I think that beats the hell out of never bothering to do anything at all with your appearance -- which is often true of those people who are the most critical of the 'blue-haired ladies'!!!

Of course, the term is just a way of denigrating a certain age group.

Well, don't worry! If you're a man who uses the term, you'll never end up as one of these blue-haired ladies. (In fact, chances are good you won't have any hair at all, much less blue hair.)

And if you're another woman who uses the term -- clearly younger -- then perhaps you'll never age at all...

Wait!

That's a foolish thing to say, isn't it? After all, what's the alternative to aging?

Oh... Right! (smile)

So I guess there's a pretty strong chance you'll age, after all! Hopefully you'll dye your hair until the grave and never end up blue-haired. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, as it's exactly what I do! (grin)

Heaven forbid we think of anyone who is ten or more years older than we are as equals, rather than 'old.'

Sure, you can tell me that even though you use this term, you don't really mean anything by it. Yeah, I've heard that one. But face it, okay? You've got an age bias.

You are practicing ageism -- whether you believe you are or not.

And why don't I tell people I don't know very well exactly how old I am?

Believe it or not, it's not about me. I happen to like my age. (Obviously, as I'm entirely up front about it here online.) But when someone treats me as an equal -- yes, you can read 'young' here -- right up until they hear I'm in my 50's, but then treats me differently afterwards, you can see why I avoid the question! (Been there.)

I recently attended a funeral for a woman who was vibrant and involved in life -- and various activities which included politics and performing -- until the day she died. (No, I'm not talking my friend Dorothy in this case.) This woman was in her late 70's. I think she leaned slightly toward the 'blue-haired' look in her appearance, just for the record.

So many people at her funeral spoke about how vital and fun-loving she was. No one was ready to lose her...

Here we are in a modern and youthful society, wild for things like vampires -- the older the better! (Well, probably only if they're vampires who don't look old, I suppose...) We love movies and TV shows like "Highlander" and LOTR (where the elves appear youthful, but are very, very old).

How hypocritical can you get, people?

By the way, I really fight not treating younger people unfairly, too -- because I think ageism is a two-way street. So if you're sitting back and thinking the older generation is unfair to you as a youth, I'd agree that's often true. But it's not true for me.

I can honestly say I don't judge people based on age -- and I never have.

If you do, you're going to miss some wonderful opportunities to know others -- simply because you've made certain assumptions about them because of your bigotries and biases.

(I could go off on the flip side of this ageism coin, because I also feel our current society treats children unfairly, too, by the way. I'll simply mention how I was babysitting -- all by myself -- at the age of ten. I took care of two six-year-old twins and their baby sister, who was in diapers. And I could cook a full meal that including a roast at the time. But now we act like it's wrong to give children responsibilities and trust -- and ever leave them alone at home. Excuse me? How strange! I ironed clothes and washed dishes from the time I could reach the sink or ironing board by standing on a chair. It wasn't drudgery -- it was helping run our home and learning the value of work...)

Well, I guess I'll climb down off my soapbox for today. This is an on-going theme of mine that I've spouted for years -- long before I could be counted among the 'old' side personally. You can always tell a young person who has been open-minded regarding age, by the way, when they support anti-ageism policies. They probably had some chance to be around people of other ages -- and learned that age doesn't have to be a barrier to friendship and love...

I feel so lousy today. I'm actually not feeling up to defending older people -- or debating politics or anything else.

The bottom line is that time takes care of the ageism issue, anyway. Eventually you're no longer that cool, young person (that you feel you are). Next thing you know there are wrinkles on your face and body.

People discriminate without even realizing they're doing it. But no matter who you are now and how young you might be, eventually you'll age. (Unless you die first.) Sooner or later you'll get to see why I go on about all this with such passion -- and do so up close and personal! (grin)

Tags: 2004, ageism, june, november-2004
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