Ageism definition: prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person’s age.
This topic of ageism is something I have been aware of for many years and it actually affects men & women of ALL ages. Why is age allowed to define someone? One of the first questions a person is asked on almost any form they are required to sign is; Enter Your Birthday mth/day/year. Why do they have the right to ask you this? Most non medical/government forms do not ask for your weight so why is this “none of your business” birthday question permitted? The minute you tell someone how old you are, their judgment is automatically internalizing. It may not be verbally discussed but it is stirring within the thought process of the person asking. We all do it to some degree as we have been programmed to base people on who they are by how old they are. We need to base our critiquing on not who we think is in front of us, but by what we actually hear!
If employers closed their eyes when they were interviewing a potential employee, they would get a completely different picture of who that person in their office really was. People often become invisible when they reach a certain age. I have the opposite reaction to mature people I come across. I respect & appreciate their years of wisdom & I like to surround myself with their life stories and lessons they have learned with each passing birthday. One of my favorite celebrities is Betty White due to her humor & zest for life at the young tender age of 91! She greatly inspires me as did George Burns for many years. He died at age 100 in 1996 and people still talk about him! I rest my case…
No one should be ignored or considered “too old” by anyone. We also have to abolish the double standard aging female vs. aging men scenario. It is well documented today & in history that men are viewed as distinguished & intellectual as they age, while most women are pretty much viewed as “grazers out in the pasture” after 50. ( I recently got let go from an agency with an email saying due to “market analysis” I can no longer represent you.) Really???
Although certain professions will have age restrictions due to strenuous job requirements, I truly believe that each person should be considered on an individual non prejudiced nature. After all, 50+ is the new 35 and comes with great life experience & expertise. Why wouldn’t a company embrace that? Successful businesses have a variety of age groups in the employee mix as they are intelligent enough to understand how well this works. If there was only “one hiring age” everyone would think the same way, which can lead to a narrow minded marketing strategy down the road. “An innovative business is a successful business!” How many people out there wouldn’t hire Richard Branson at the age of 63? Am I making my point yet?
Ageism is also a difficult time for many people turning 30. There is much anxiety today for this age group due to the expected life path their parents & grandparents led. There is pressure to have children, buy a house & have the perfect career which is not happening as often for everyone these days. (Companies want experience but don’t want to pay for it, so many University grads are getting passed over!) One of my closest friends is an amazing singer/songwriter who is now 31. In Musicland she is considered less & less for her incredible talent strictly due to her age. Basically, she is not as programmable or in my words (easily manipulated) as a 15 year old rising star. This is very sad! Who said that talent stops at 25? Thank God for shows like X Factor USA /UK and America’s Got Talent that does not have an age restriction for mature applicants. Finally someone gets it! (Let’s go Canada, it’s time to do the same & I would love to host the show!)
Speaking of shows…
As a mature woman on YouTube I have taken some verbal beatings with regards to my age. I started my talk show 5 years ago on the YouTube platform which initially had an audience mainly in the under 25 category. I was a called a wrinkled old bag, a transvestite, ugly & old, an aging bitch & a few other names that start with “F.” Moving forward into 2014, I am now very fortunate to have many wonderful comments written to me regularly with regards to my uploaded videos. The negative ones occasionally still happen and it is still sadly apparent that ageism will always exist in social media with young adults. I guess it makes them feel better somehow.
So why did a mature woman decide to put herself out there on HD video & social media?
I started my online Lifestyle Talk Show to help men & women with dating, relationships, self esteem issues & to help them find love in their lives. So many people were complaining of how difficult it was to meet someone & how their self image & low self esteem was playing a big part in their loneliness. I wanted to make their lives easier by discussing numerous topics that I had dealt with during my long lived dating experiences, my divorce and my somewhat turbulent childhood. I do not reap financial payment for any of my work I do to help others & I am happy to say that there are many wonderful people who truly appreciate my wisdom & life experience. There will always be the few people who like to use bullying comments because of my advancing age & maturity but I know in my heart they are lashing out due to their own unhappiness & insecurities. It makes some people feel powerful to put others down; another life lesson many of us learn too late in life.
In closing of this discussion on Ageism, it is time to really think about where we will ALL be down the road with each advancing birthday. It may not be affecting you at this particular moment but before you know it, you will be dealing with it in some form or another. If we choose to keep making age a factor in who we choose to have in our employment, our personal lives or our entertainment choices, we will be missing out on one Hell of a lot of talented & wise people we could learn from. With many companies & establishments not hiring people after 50 these days, there are going to be many financially affected people collecting welfare down the road. This could be one of your parents, yourself or even worse, one of your children.
Susan McCord @ http://youtube.com/twobeavers