There was a discussion in one of my classes last week on the various stereotypes that can affect a just legal outcome.
Income level, social class, race, disability, sex and sexual preference ... and age.
I am increasingly aware of my age ... and just got pricked with it again as I cruised a message board that I frequent. There are so many conscious and unconscious references to age in that ongoing discussion of fragrance, beauty, fashion ... often disparaging.
And I find myself getting angry when I feel that age has been singled out as a negative. Invariably the individuals who make the disparaging age references are the ones whose intellectual shortcomings I fight back the urge to remark on -- or their shallow political views -- or their obvious "I define myself by the man I managed to catch and isn't my lipgloss stunning?" frame of mind. Too bad they don't demonstrate the same self-discipline in their remarks.
I think you can tell I'm pissed. But why? Why should I care what some insensitive, not too bright, not too emotionally developed twit thinks about middle-aged women? (And it's especially ironic when I further assess the twit: I'm pretty sure she's not too far away from the age range under discussion.)
I'm pissed because this type of disparagement of a group, the stereotyping of a population segment, IS unjust. It's limiting and it can lead to limiting of opportunities.
A wise man once told me all anger is rooted in fear ... and I am afraid. Not of being old, but of being kept from opportunities because of stereotypes surrounding age.
I read this to Jim and he said, "Sadly, women who react that way to age, who feel that it is diminishing, will have the most to lose as they age. But your response demonstrates you're buying into the argument to some extent."
And he's right. I need to not care. I need to laugh at the stupidity. And keep living my life as fully, as vibrantly, as richly as I am right now.
Stereotypes be damned.