Friday, May 23, 2014

Ageism

This is the Oxford dictionary's definition of ageism: "Prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person's age". Although this definition is more than correct in theory, in practise, what happens is that the term "ageism" is used mainly to talk about age discrimination for people being 50+. And this is the aspect of the term that I'd like to talk about here.


More and more, we see stories that mention people about 50+ being fired, or unable to find a job because of their age. In our society, is seen as a major flaw to have some years (and the wisdom and experience) in your curriculum. We see it everywhere, youth, just as slimness, seems to be the ultimate beauty. One could even wonder, from seeing the advertisements, where the majority of the population has gone? Well, it's been hidden away. Be it by botox, or photoshop, or diets, or cosmetics, lies, or what have you. And, even though some might argue that it is due to my own young age, I find this all disgusting. I don't really have a problem with someone wanting to "fix" something that makes them uncomfortable in their skin with surgery, or make up, etc. I get it, everyone wants to look as best as can be. But still, are wrinkles really a flaw? I always thought that people's wrinkles made them look nicer, more attainable, less arrogant, more human, more unique, more beautiful. I particularly find people in their forties to sixties, really beautiful, they seem to embody all that life means, a mix of being active but having experience as a back-up, being less enthusiastic about some things but so much wiser than young people! A mix of having lived the life and having so much life ahead! So yes, there are differences between being younger or older people, ages changes the person, but I don't understand why that is a problem, and I certainly don't get how that should be bad or shameful.

Why would someone, of let's say 60, desperately try to look younger than he/she actually is? Is that a shame to have a history, to have a life behind us? I thought that was the beauty of it all! When you're young you have dreams that you hope to accomplish in your life, and so you work for about 40-50 years, and then you finally get the chance to enjoy all that you have accomplished, and all that you still want to do! I thought that one would aspire to that time of life, just as any other time of life, because the real thing isn't about age, but about health, and about trying to live a happy life. Since when has it become a fashion to worry about silly things like looking 10 years younger, rather than to enjoy your life just as it comes... Don't people have enough to worry about already? Why make age a source of problem, of shame, of depression, of suicide, of unemployment, when it is actually the best of luck to be alive?!

And then, what about work? Why wouldn't someone want to hire someone with experience? Well, fr many reasons, actually. Because experience means a higher salary, greater expectations about either the job itself, its comfort, or its pay. Because people in this society have to do everything as fast as can be, the ideal seeming to be to rush into everything that you do. So, I guess that after 50 years of rushing through your life, the last thing you'd want to do is to rush at work too, since you have other values that you've acquired as the years have passed. But why is that a problem? I think that objectively, it isn't. On the short term, the young person might be more active, and quicker, but also knows nothing about working! The younger person will probably make mistakes thrice as often as the older person... So on the long term, who's more efficient? I think it is quite even. I think that in order to have things that work in the best possible way, you have to have diversity. Of everything really, be it age, economical background, cultural background, political opinions, active & passive people, introverts & extroverts, etc. Why? Because that is who we are. How can you represent society if the only ones representing it are people in the same 20-years range, roughly speaking? I'll let you ponder on that.

In the meantime, here is a website which, although still in creation, is very interesting and questions all that is related to age discrimination:

And if you'd be interested to read an in-depth article about ageism, here is a very complete article from the University of Webster:

Have a great day, and keep your mind sharp!

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