Sundays With Susanna – Ageism. Does It Exist ?

I recently turned fifty five years old. In all honesty I don’t feel any different to the previous year or the previous ten years ! I still have the same sense of humour, the same interest in fashion, the same hobbies and I am still ME ! However I am continually faced with ageism in a negative way. This can sometimes makes me feel inadequate and can knock my confidence.

 

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My dog George loves me for who I am and he isn’t too fussed about my age !

 

WHAT IS AGEISM ?

Ageism is the stereotyping and discrimination of individuals because of their age, usually an older age. However it can also occur against the younger generation. But this is far more unusual. This can have a negative effect on society as a whole, as the general perception of ‘older’ people can make these individuals feel useless and less part of society. Because of this, the younger generation can feel negative towards the older generation and this can lead to resentment, prejudice and disrespect.

There are laws against age discrimination throughout the world with respect to employment and public acceptance. However ageism is still prevalent in the modern world.

 

AGEISM WITHIN THE FASHION WORLD

One of the main areas of age discrimination is within the fashion world. We are still faced with young models on television, magazines and advertising campaigns across all areas of fashion, whether this be high street or top designer houses. My main question is …. do the advertisers not see the over 50’s as loving their fashion ? Do they think we hit the age of fifty and suddenly lapse into a world of nylon skirts with elasticated waists and frumpy shoes ? Do they really think that we stop caring about how we look once we celebrate our fiftieth birthday ?

Well, I can categorically say NO WE DON’T ! I still love to wear pretty dresses, and have my hair done with a full face of make up. I love to shop at all the high street shops including Top Shop, River Island, Primark and my two favourites, Zara and Cath Kidston.

Honestly, when was the last time you saw a fifty something modelling for any of these companies ? I would say never ! Even Cath Kidston, the traditional British brand uses models which portray a typical young mother or a trendy twenty something career girl. Do these companies ever look at the demographics of their customers ? Are they not missing a trick here by ignoring the over fifties who are loyal regular customers with a good dispensable income ?

 

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I am a massive Cath Kidston fan and wearing their pretty dresses makes me feel so good !

 

AGEISM IN THE FITNESS WORLD

I recently saw a request by a gym and health club asking for users of one of its fitness classes to volunteer for a promotion campaign. The only restriction was that you had to be under the age of forty ! Why ? Don’t they know that they have plenty of over forty’s taking part in their club classes every single day ?  As a member of a gym myself  I take part in four classes a week AND two sessions of gym. AND I play tennis every week ! I regularly use Boditrax to track my weight, muscle tone etc and I am happy to report my metabolic health age is 40 which is a massive fifteen years below my true age. Not bad going for an ‘oldie’ ! 😉

 

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AGEISM IN THE BLOGGING WORLD

Now that brings me to a subject close to my heart.  Ageism in the blogging world. The blogging world is one of the fastest growing groups in social media with bloggers producing content on almost every subject you can think of.  Beauty, fashion, health, parenting, house decor, food, pets are just some of the topics covered.

Blogging is such an exciting outlet for so many people and is a wonderful point of reference for us as readers. I read so many different blogs and I have learnt so much over the past few years. I have also made some wonderful online friends through my blogging. Many of these friends have been such a support and I value our friendships.

However I have seen a darker side to blogging where I have been at the receiving end of ageism within the blogging world. I do believe that there is a place for everyone in the blogging world, regardless of age, background or life experiences. However I have seen and experienced ageism as a blogger over fifty.

 

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF AGEISM

I was once asked why I blogged at ‘my age’ as ‘no one could possibly be interested in what I had to say’ ! The comment knocked my confidence for a few days. However I gritted my teeth and decided to carry on writing as I had been doing. I love blogging and writing about topics that are meaningful. From the messages I receive I know there are many out there who also enjoy reading my thoughts.

I was also approached by someone who commented on the fact that as a fifty year old I couldn’t possibly write about anything to do with parenting as my children were now grown up and I was too old ! This astounded me ! My reaction was …..Er why not ? I have had three children, I have suffered a miscarriage, I have raised my children ( in part as a single parent ). I have seen them through their teenage years and beyond. And, I am now a grandparent. Does that make me any less of a mother ? Do I not have a vast amount of parenting experience that comes with having children who are now aged 31, 29 and 25. Not forgetting my grandson who will be three this year.

Above all, it is quite an insult to be told I cannot possibly have any valid advice or thoughts on motherhood. Yes, I do not have an opinion on the ‘best nappy’ on the market or which pram is best value for money in 2018. BUT please give me a little credit for having a vast amount of parenting knowledge that can never be taken away from me.

 

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I am the proud mother of three beautiful young women.

My blog, of course includes topics that are more relevant to the over fifties including menopause, the loss of parents, empty nest syndrome etc but I also like to write about food and health and fashion reviews.

I also run my own business which I started in my fifties, as do many women who reach a crossroads in their life with their career. Becoming self employed at this age is so fulfilling and rewarding and should prove to many that we are not on the scrapheap. Even those over the age of fifty still have such a lot to contribute to society.

 

EMBRACING ALL AGES

Ageing is not a negative curse and society should embrace it instead. Style is nothing to do with age and more about confidence, something that the over fifty’s have oodles of. I wish that society as a whole would start giving more respect to the ‘older generation’ and letting them play more of an active role in life and especially in the media. I think it will be a slow process, although many brands are trying to make a change already. Companies such as l’Oreal, Lancombe and Marks And Spencer now recognise that it is far better to have a wide age representation which is a reflection of true life. These companies should be applauded for their efforts and I am hopeful that others will follow too.

 

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At the age of 52 I was featured in a national womens magazine Prima for a fashion shoot. What an amazing day ! Thank you Prima !

Have you encountered ageism in any form ? Let me know your thoughts and concerns and any improvements that you have already noticed.

Until next time dear friends

Much love

Susanna xx

4 Comments

  1. 19th March 2018 / 7:00 am

    Great blog, Susanna, I’ve shared it to the ‘Old and Bold’ facebook page. The over 50 age category has a lot of spending power, companies will miss out if they don’t consider this. Besides, many over 50s have skills, talent and experience to share. Companies would do well to look to them for hiring. If the pension age keeps getting moved higher, then we have to make it possible for people to keep working and earning.

    • Susanna
      Author
      21st March 2018 / 9:49 am

      Yes very true Toria. A big oversight by all these companies I think but I am hopeful the penny will drop soon when they realise the over 50’s have bags of talent, experience and wisdom and are a force to be reckoned with !

  2. 19th March 2018 / 7:45 am

    Oh my, what a strange comments people can make! The fact that you were featured in Prima says enough doesn t it! Beautiful photos!

    • Susanna
      Author
      21st March 2018 / 9:51 am

      Thank you Nancy. The magazine shoot was such fun and they treated me like royalty. It was such a shock seeing myself in a national magazine a few months later but the photos were excellent and even made me look half decent ! Haha x

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