Essays On Ageism

Essays On Ageism-78
SCF: The 13 items in your “Declaration of Grievances” are varied and inclusive.

SCF: The 13 items in your “Declaration of Grievances” are varied and inclusive.For example, you mention distorted depictions of older people in the arts, discriminatory laws and hiring practices, and the treatment of older people as burdens. MMG: The “Declaration of Grievances” covers the grievances that the book covers. Now when I started writing the book, I did not think that I was going to write the “Declaration of Grievances.” In fact, quite the contrary.

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I said to myself, “This is for a decade hence—or maybe two decades hence—when we really understand ageism.

That’s when somebody will write, in wonderful language, a declaration. It was almost serendipitous that by the end of the book, I could write it.

This article is the next in our series on the future of aging: interviews with people who are experts in their fields and are also visionaries.

We’re asking them to talk about what they believe will happen in the years ahead to change the experience of aging.

“The narrative gets reproduced by the people who live in the culture,” Gullette says.

“They’ll have black-balloon parties at age 30, or they’ll start sending jocular cards to friends.

The Declaration of Grievances Gullette is one of only a few American scholars to have long specialized in middle-ageism—a term she coined. She’s written a number of award-winning essays and books and has taught at Harvard, Radcliffe and Berkeley.

Now a resident scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, Gullette fights what’s called the “decline narrative”—the idea that youth is the best time to be alive, and then it all goes downhill.

People underestimate our suffering and the violence that’s turned against us. I think being made to feel ashamed of being old is a form of violence. MMG: Because the effects are so violent—to turn a whole group of people into self-conscious individuals who may be ashamed of aging, which is a natural phenomenon—just as natural as being a woman or a person of color. But actually they didn’t make that happen; their parents made that happen.

And they’re unwilling to look us in the eye or spend time in our company. To be an age shamer is a disgraceful form of being. But the weight of the evidence in my book means you cannot deny that there is a range of ageisms—that many of them are experienced in violence. So I think a lot of things that the boomers were said to have done they didn’t really do.


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