Lovely isn’t it? There you are at 70+ or 80+ and a well meaning person wishes to be courteous and complimentary. They smile and the standard phrases roll out:
“You look young for your age”. “You are young at heart” etc.
Do you thank them for their kindly remark? And return a gracious smile? YES/NO ?
Think about it. What have they actually said to an old person?
Do they realise that quite unwittingly they have been very rude to you? NO!
Translate it. In effect they said:
“Being young is a good thing. Old age is a bad thing”
Telling someone old that they “look young” is an insult. Isn’t it?
So what has happened to Ageism? Why is it still OK to be Ageist?
Recently ITVs This Morning show presenter Phillip Schofield fell unhappily into that trap. He was interviewing me. I was introduced as an” 83 year old sex blogger” *
The interviewers were, of course, charming. The pleasures of sex in old age were aired happily. Until, he asked very kindly
“ So you are saying it is about keeping young at heart?”
It had to be responded to.
Unthinking Ageism is a serious problem in todays world. The emphasis on Youth has distorted our view of a normal life.
Ageist language demoralises, demeans and defeats.
Worse, it remains unchallenged. And legal!
* Note that! Why is that a big story? That human beings continue to have an enjoyable sex life at all ages should be seen as perfectly normal. Where has the idea come from that they dont? Why would anyone think that strange enough for a TV show? Seriously. Ask yourself. Unthinking Ageism again?