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Ageism is a social disease.


Do you consider “young” a compliment and “old” a derogatory synonym for ugly, decrepit, out-of-date (“You don’t look your age.”)?

Do you speak/do for an Old Lesbian instead of letting her speak/do for herself and assume she needs help?

Do you view an Old Lesbian either as a burden or an icon, rather than as an equal with whom a reciprocal relationship is desirable?

Do you patronize a courageous Old Lesbian by trivializing her anger as “feistiness?” (Would you call Superman “feisty”?)

Do you categorize an outspoken Old Lesbian as “complaining,” “difficult,” or “crotchety?”

Do you assume that an Old Lesbian is asexual?

Are you unsupportive of an Old Lesbian looking for a partner, or disrespectful of an Old Lesbian’s choice to be single?

Do you refrain from confronting ageist remarks because they are “not really meant that way?”

Ageism by Mary M. Morgan, born 1925

    • The systematic discrimination and oppression of people solely because they are old.

    • The belief and practices that equate youth with health and old age with illness and disability, youth as beauty and old as ugly and aging as a disease and anti-aging as possible and necessary at any cost. Aging is not a disease.

    • Every living being is aging. Anti-aging is as impossible as anti-gravity. We all age at the same rate, one day older for every day lived.

    • Ageism creates a universal market for products, potions, and surgery. Ageism is cruel, affects employment health, self-esteem, income.

    • “You don’t look your age,” is not a compliment. The best age is the age you are.

    • Isn’t everyone older than someone? Old is spelled O L D, not B A D

    • Ageism fosters distrust between age groups.

    • Most birthday cards reinforce ageism.

    • “Aging graceflily” aids passivity, discourages activism, promotes invisibility.

    • Ageism diminishes us all. Fight ageism, embrace longevity.

Ageist greetings, remarks, responses and questions that all too common in U.S.A.

  • Good afternoon young lady, I’m Doctor Brown.

  • You are in pretty good health for your age.

  • Age is really just a state of mind.

  • You aren’t old. You’re young at heart.

  • You may be 72 but you still act young.

  • You must be very lonely at your age.

  • You don’t still drive your car, do you?

  • Have you thought of including our group in your will?

  • Social Security is going to bankrupt the country.

  • To feel young again try this: (products, exercises, recipes, meditation, etc, etc.)

  • To stay young keep thinking young and associate with young people.

  • Oh, I know with all your experience you must be a really good cook.

  • I must be having “a senior moment”.

  • I’m so glad you spoke up at the meeting. I like a feisty woman.

  • You certainly don’t look like you’re 68 years old.

  • You’re only as old as you feel.

Mary M. Morgan, age 81
Ohio OLOC, 3-5-07

Permanent link to this article: http://oloc.org/statements/131-2/