By Margaret Morganroth Gullette
Let’s face it: nearly everyone fears growing older. We fear approximately wasting our appears to be like, our future health, our jobs, our self-esteem—and being supplanted in paintings and love by way of more youthful humans. It seems like the common, inevitable end result of the passing years, yet what if it’s no longer? What if approximately every thing that we expect of because the “natural” means of getting older is whatever yet? In Agewise, well known cultural critic Margaret Morganroth Gullette finds that a lot of what we dread approximately getting older is basically the results of ageism—which we will be able to, and may, conflict as strongly as we do racism, sexism, and other kinds of bigotry. Drawing on provocative and under-reported facts from biomedicine, literature, economics, and private tales, Gullette probes the ageism that drives discontent with bodies, our selves, and our accomplishments—and makes us effortless prey for dealers who are looking to promote us an illusory imaginative and prescient of younger perfection. Even worse, rampant ageism reasons society to undefined, and from time to time thoroughly discard, the knowledge and event bought by way of humans over the process maturity. The costs—both collective and personal—of this tradition of decline are virtually incalculable, diminishing our crew, robbing more youthful humans of desire for an honest later lifestyles, and eroding the satisfactions and experience of productiveness that are meant to animate our later years. when we open our eyes to the pervasiveness of ageism, in spite of the fact that, we will be able to start to struggle it—and Gullette lays out bold plans for the full lifestyles direction, from educating teenagers anti-ageism to fortifying the social security nets, and hence eventually making attainable the true pleasures and possibilities promised by means of the hot durability. A bracing, debatable name to palms, Agewise will shock, enlighten, and, might be most vital, carry wish to readers of every age.
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Additional resources for Agewise: Fighting the New Ageism in America
The ice ﬂoe jokes are a good introduction partly because the perils they point to come dressed in humor, one of decline’s typical disguises. ” That joke treats AARP—which embraces all of us as soon as we turn ﬁfty, a youngish age these days—as a group marked for senility. rh I used to think that midlife fear of memory loss was exaggerated but trivial. My mistake. Ageism is often quiet, factoidal, unheated. Nevertheless, many negative stereotypes and arguments should be considered hate speech. Terms such as “demented” and a new concept like “living too long,” when put together, can generate hateful thoughts, promote hateful outcomes.
But because the story of native elders forced to die in Arctic cold circulates widely as fact, it has plausibility—enough that JAMA accepted the article and that most people are surprised to learn that the myth is just that— a myth. I admire cultural anthropology because its working attitude is suspicion toward conventional wisdom. My mother, an anti-ageist, then ninety-four years old, objected as soon as I told her the story, “Why would they say this about the Eskimos? ” Geronticide is an old story, but it hasn’t always been set near the Arctic Circle.
Let me use the hot shower as a symbol of resistance, which enables us to defend our body-mind from cultural assault as it grows older. ” Were the steady assault of decline practices more widely recognized as a crisis, many people in later life could certainly be vital enough to confront its commercial/political/economic/medical challenges. Millie Beck, age seventy-four, interviewed by Studs Terkel, says that she became active in her federal housing project when she retired at age sixty-four: I wanted an “over-sixty” clinic, because I found that doctors weren’t treating their elderly patients right.