In my opinion Ageism has been actively created, in recent history. It is a phenomena that encourages the young to regard their own perceptions and abilities as superior to those of their elders. I did not buy this line when I was a kid, or as a young adult; I do not buy it now.
There is no substitute for experience. Raw talent and intelligence are wonderful gifts, but remain stunted and unbalanced without experience. There are those who will take advantage of the opportunity to learn and grow, those who will decline the opportunity, those who are denied the opportunity, and those who will fail to perceive it. Increasingly, the young fail to perceive it. In this they are encouraged by social media and technology; all of which creates a carefully controlled environment seeking profit by almost any means. Exploiting ignorance and arrogance is nothing new, using Ageism in that pursuit is relatively new.
These images illustrate my point. In striking contrast to the images of slick and young success that bombard the senses in most forms of modern media, these images portray the perception of human skill in the 1500s, in Germany. These images are not free of isms however, cultural, rather than artistic, sexism is blatant; all the skilled workers are men.
Although I have to accept that the powers that be in the present have decided to promote Ageism, I do not have to accept the lie that youth is more capable. Youth is rash, and passionate, and creative… good things at the best of times. We have all been there, we elders. Age offers the opportunity to hone these traits into awesome talent and skill. Age offers us the opportunity to harness our emotions, rather than being led by the nose by every feeling intensely experienced.
From an article entitled “Why Youth Plus Unchecked Arrogance Is A Killer Career Combination” by J. Maureen Henderson, 1/11/2013
“… Twenge and her team analyzed data from the American Freshman Survey and found that “over the last four decades, there’s been a dramatic rise in the number of students who describe themselves as being ‘above average’ in the areas of academic ability, drive to achieve, mathematical ability, and self-confidence.”…
But is there a downside to everyone under 25 believing that they’re destined for the 1%? The Harvard Business Review actually puts forth reasonable argument that people with a certain degree of self-doubt are better positioned for career success – they push themselves harder.
Youth delights me; my own in memory, my children’s in more recent memory, and my grandchildren’s in the present.
Shame on profiteers, and power-mongers, who would exploit the innocence and natural arrogance of youth for gain.
I wrote the above yesterday. I contemplated deleting it all, as it is too obvious for words. But is it?
When I bumped into the video below this morning, I took it as a sign to save and post this entry.
The likelihood of anyone under forty reading my blog is close to nil. So my words are being read by people with experience, and an appreciation for the merits of their own experience.
What can we do to combat ageism and return human relations in Canada (and elsewhere) to balance? I don’t know. My only tools are my experience, self-respect, my determined refusal to accept being treated in condescending manner by younger people, and my refusal to respond in kind to the prejudice that they exhibit. I strive to appreciate everyone for what they bring to an interaction, and to find the best in them, which it turns out, is usually appreciated. I walk out of stores, hang up and call again for another customer service representative, reject product lines that advertise with Agist or other “ism” concepts, and refuse to be called a “boomer”, or any other age related label. I refuse to watch programs or movies that portray life as a “single age” phenomena, I read nothing written as if only a single valuable age cohort exists on planet earth. I also refuse to adopt a perspective that actively labels people, any people, for whatever reason, because labels are dismissive. In my world, labels are what you put on jars, not on people.
Date: 7:21 AM EDT Tuesday 20 August 2013
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Visibility: 4 km
Wind: SE 4 km/h
“Age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
1807 – 1882
And again this morning, as yesterday, I need to go and find some breakfast!
I knew I was finally an adult when my mother bought me a t-shirt with the legend, “Age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill.”
Just heard from several friends that Rhubarb/Sarah Smith has died over the weekend Maggie. I am in shock and wanted her online friends to know. What a loss… what a shame people with so much to offer th is world have to be taken away – even if it is to a much better place. We will miss her so much.
Bex, thank you so much for letting me, and others, know of Rhubarb/Sarah’s passing. She will be missed!
Sarah was intelligent and articulate, but more importantly, fearless, kind, and compassionate. Wishing her a safe journey.
Rhubarb’s blog can be found here: http://www.journalscape.com/rhubarb/
Wendy, wow, what a gift, LOL. Your mother sounds like a realist!
Thank you for the positive feedback Ava!
Bex has written a lovely entry about Sarah, which can be read here: http://www.journalscape.com/Bex/2013-08-20-10:32/
Excellent post! Aging is portrayed in all media as a horror to be avoided at all costs. The young body beautiful is everything. Any expense must be undertaken to prevent even the slightest hint of a wrinkle or sag. If you aren’t already acquainted with it, Time Goes By (http://www.timegoesby.net/)is an excellent blog by an intelligent and articulate writer who advocates against agism.
Thanks Sandra! That is interesting, that you mention the blog timegoesby.net at this point in time. My blog is listed there and has been for years, but I had not been reading the host’s blog on a regular basis, mostly because the political context is purely American. I had not read her blog entries about Ageism, and they are so pertinent to the experience of ageism and aging in North America.
As I get older I like what I see in the mirror more and more. Could it be that there are few attempts by the money-makers to co-opt the image of the older woman? The images of scantily clad old women do not sell cosmetics, clothing, movies, cigarettes, cars etc.. Could it be that in our invisibility allows us the psychic space to actually like ourselves, that is, if we can overcome the pressure to appear young at any cost?