Who Are You Calling Old Lady?

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Greetings and Salutations,

Today we're talking about ageism and archaic linguistic idiocy.

Yeah, it's about to get real.

According to Dictionary.com:

"OId Lady: An elderly woman.

Elderly

eldərlē/ 

adjective

  1. (of a person) old or aging.

    "she was elderly and silver-haired"

    synonyms: aged, old, advanced in years, aging, long in the tooth, past one's prime;

    gray-haired, grizzled, hoary; 

    in one's dotage, decrepit, doddering, doddery, senescent; 

    informal getting on, past it, over the hill, no spring chicken

    "her elderly mother"

    old people, the aged, senior citizens;

    geriatrics, seniors;

    retired people, retirees, golden agers;

    informal oldsters, geezers"

First and foremost, who are you calling hoary, honey?

No spring chicken?

Cluck off.

Decrepit? Grizzled? Doddering? Geezer? OLDSTER?!

Seriously?

Nope. Not having it today...or tomorrow. Fairly sure that I'm not having it ever. Take that and stuff it in your toaster oven. 

Ageism is real, it's shitty, and I'm done with it. Why do we continue to cling to these archaic modes of thinking? People are living much longer, and more than that they're thriving and evolving and contributing much longer. They're retiring later, and many people aren't retiring at all. Old age is not what it used to be, and it's is changing rapidly as science continues to discover new pathways for longevity and vitality. Yet, our attitudes towards numbers on a timeline have not shifted, we're more age-phobic than ever.

Long in the tooth. Aged out. Over the hill. Past one's prime. There is inherent bias in all of these phrases and that bias trickles down into our cultural subconsciousness. Then it filters into the way in which we treat people over a certain age, and the manner in which we lump them all together and roundly dismiss them. We don't respect the elderly, we just insist that they disappear so we don't have to think about them. This starts at age 50, which is patently absurd as I've bemoaned vociferously in the past. 

We are terrified of death, and concurrently we are terrified of aging. Old people remind us of our fragility. Old women, in particular, terrify us. After all, the archetype of the wicked witch is the haggard old woman so desperate to regain her youth she'd murder children or beautiful young women for it. Youth being the prize we all covet, above wisdom, experience, insight, skill, and knowledge. All of the things we gain as we make our journey from youth to old age are meaningless when compared to youth, according to our cultural mythology. 

Age may just be a number, but people are obsessed with the numbers. They're also obsessed with telling other people how to think, act, dress, love, and live. This is particularly true for women. It is even more true for women of a certain age.

Age gracefully! Don't dare wear this after 50! Act like a lady! Act your age! You're too old for that!

The scrutiny is excruciating, and the rule making and judging relentless. 

I will not fit into your box. I will not conform to your requests. I will not accept your labels. I will not age gracefully. I will not make myself smaller to make other people comfortable. The world will have to shift, because I'm not shifting. I'll be an 'old lady' when I'm damn good and ready and not a moment sooner. I don't owe anyone an explanation or an apology for being five notches too loud, three notches too sparkly, and aging disgracefully. I will wear what I please, say what I please, think what I please, love whom I please, vote as I please, and live as I please. I will allow everyone else the breathing room to do the same. You do you, I'm going to keep doing me over here. I intend to keep being a bold, bodacious, bad ass bitch until the bitter-no scratch that-until the blissful end. If that's a problem for you, it's entirely your problem.

That's all I've got to say about that. Today. 

I made a video to go with this post, perhaps you will enjoy it. 

(If you like this post, you might like my new book Fifty and Other F-Words. I'm just sayin'.)

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