I found ageism rampaging
in my neighbourhood
in job descriptions and prescriptions
in jokes and compliments and ads
on every screen, in tips and fads
on videos and TV shows
in greeting cards, in camouflage
and tiny acts of sabotage.
I found it looming over me
on billboards big and bald.
(The assumptions, the assumptions
dooming youth to aspirations
dooming age to loss and pain.)
But the very shockingest of shocks
was to meet the advocates of ageism
Glumia of the sorrows and Smugilla
that nasty bitch —
using my mouth to speak their nonsense
sniping and sneering and whining
and lobbying and mocking
the old for being old
from a stadium under my skin.
Once you’re conscious of ageism you see it everywhere. Sexism and racism will always exist but today are recognised as such. Ageism, not so much: old people are still unthinkingly stereotyped and mocked and rejected for their age alone. For me, the first, worst, and toughest call was when I recognised in myself the very same contempt for old people. That puzzled me, and I still find it both weird and unacceptable. Doing my best to change my own attitude and other people’s!
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CC BY 2.0 Rachel McAlpine