Ageism

My Open Wallet, a blog written by a female New Yorker, looks at the recent NYT article (“Nice Résumé. Have You Considered Botox?”) about women, aging, and job security. Or is it about job security? Based on the study mentioned in the article and by My Open Wallet, one’s age may influence hiring behaviour, particularly for entry level jobs, but we can’t deduce anything about how influential looking old is in the hiring process.

More telling, I thought, was this from the original article:

“Many people would shun a book if it were titled ‘How Not to Look Jewish’ or ‘How Not to Look Gay’ because to cater to discrimination is to capitulate to it. But the success of ‘How Not to Look Old’ indicates that popular culture is willing to buy into ageism as an acceptable form of prejudice, even against oneself.”

I admit it: I’m aging. So are you. Perhaps My Open Wallet’s conclusion, and mine, is simplistic — ‘fear of aging’ is code for ‘fear of dying,’ which can actually happen any time but is more likely to happen the older one is. Fear of aging may also intertwine with ‘fear of losing control’ — of reproductive ability, of the ability to attract or keep a partner, of one’s bladder, of one’s ability to see and hear well, of the car keys and driver’s license, of choosing where one lives, of managing one’s own money, of one’s intellectual capacity, and so on.

It’s almost laughable that the book cover jacket apparently says “Looking hip is not just about vanity anymore, it’s critical to every woman’s personal and financial survival.” In fact, the author of the book, More magazine columist Charla Krupp, believes that her book “‘is hitting a nerve because I am giving not looking old a spin as if your life depended on it.'” On the contrary, “looking hip” is not going to lead to survival; it won’t keep any of us alive.


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