3 Apr

Another great article by TSM contributor, James Queale.

Ageism: prejudice or discrimination against a particular age-group and especially the elderly. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
Does age define you or is age just a number? This question came to my mind recently because of the artist Madonna. She has been advertising her new album for some time and it was released the other day. What does this have to do with ageism? A lot! I’ve noticed there has been a good amount of criticism of her lately, not because she has done something controversial or because people are not into her music. The big issue people seem to have is that she is fifty-three and still performing. I’ve seen many comments for example like, “I don’t want to see GRANDMA dancing around!” or “Why doesn’t she just stop, she’s so old? That is not sexy.”
Madonna is not the only person of course that has faced ageism. Ever since I was a child there has been a stigma that if you are thirty or older, that’s it, you’re done, you can never be successful or find a career after that point. Really?
How many times has someone older been let go from a job because the company would prefer a “younger perspective”? Even though the older person may have vast amounts of knowledge compared to the new guy.
Sometimes ageism can be gender specific. For example, a man can date a younger woman, but an older woman dating a younger man is looked at as a taboo. These woman are even given a predatory name known as “cougar.”
Where age can get muddled is in politics. There are numerous times that I think we need a new and fresh perspective and society tells us that that means someone younger. But, I’ve seen younger politicians have outdated views just like some older government members.
One industry that continually sees growth is plastic surgery. As a person gets older wrinkles appear. One solution to that is getting botox injections. Some take it to the extreme and their face can end up more distorted then if they had of kept their wrinkles.
This topic hits a nerve because my partner is older than I by a good amount of years and I don’t see him as useless or unable to be sexy. I see him as being just as vibrant as us young folk. What I want to convey today is that we need to change our perspective on what age means. Because of modern medicine and so on, people live longer and they should be able to enjoy their older age and not feel like another outcast of society.

15 Responses to “Ageism…”

  1. prideinmadness April 3, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    I used to be ageist. Then I met my partner who is 13 years older than me. Age is nothing, it is about the person! I’m offended by some of the comments I’ve heard about my partner and I! I’m more in love and have a more functional relationship with him than any other boy my age!

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 3, 2012 at 8:49 am #

      Yes, I think James does a great job of pointing to the very real problem in American culture of how youth obsessed we are.

      • prideinmadness April 3, 2012 at 8:57 am #

        Yeah, we need to get over it! I’ve read a lot of articles that are stating people in their 60’s are identifying with their current age being the best time of their life! Not 30’s, 20’s or teens! I think that’s great!

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 3, 2012 at 9:46 am #

        That is good news! I wish the media would cover that more.

      • James Queale April 3, 2012 at 11:20 am #

        Thank you Michael. The idea came to me because of Madonna, but it has been something I think about often. This topic is so broad I could have written a book about it, but I tried my best to hit the key points. There are so many people who are older that put a lot of us younger folks to shame like, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Joan Rivers, etc. I wish I had their energy and vibrant nature.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 3, 2012 at 11:35 am #

        Ageism is a serious conversation that we need to have and make a serious part of our culture. Thank you for doing such a splendid job with it.

    • James Queale April 3, 2012 at 11:30 am #

      @prideinmadness I’m glad that you were able to change your perspective. Personal experience is the best way to change minds. I wish you and your partner all the best.

  2. nevercontrary April 3, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    I hate the idea that you are too old to do things in life. I feel myself putting those restrictions on my life. I feel like I am too old to change careers even though I know darn well I am not.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 3, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

      I catch myself feeling the same way, Bonnie and I have to force myself to do new things and lean into the discomfort.

      • nevercontrary April 3, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

        If only I could figure out what I want to do next. hmm

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 3, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

        I see some type of activism/social work in your future🙂

      • nevercontrary April 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

        If only I had won that lottery I could have started my own foundation

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 3, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

        You and me both. I will confess that I am playing the lottery.

      • nevercontrary April 3, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

        me too. shhh dont tell

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