Ashton, Is This Ageist?

The author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism weighs in on what is—and isn’t—ageist.

By Ashton Applewhite

Reader: I think this photo represents ageism because it is a joke towards older adults. The joke is portraying that older adults are not up to date on the new technology that we have. The technology in this case is Netflix. Older adults are used to turning the TV on and scrolling through their favorite channels. Netflix is not on TV, so that is where the joke resinates from.

Ashton: You are so right.

Read more: What Is Ageism?

SAMSUNG: “The Greatest Barrier to [App] Adoption Is Age.” Direct quote from a writeup on Samsung’s website about what gets in the way of caregivers using a caregiver app.

Ashton: That’s not ageist; it’s a fact. Likewise, Samsung’s suggestions that developers streamline apps, simplify user interfaces, and solicit feedback directly from users are practical, not condescending. Caregivers have plenty on their plates already.

Reader: Rent the Runway is an online service that offers women’s apparel and accessories for rent. The New York Times recommends it as “a strategic solution for professional women … women of all ages.” Really? Rent the Runway’s age categories are Teen, Early 20s, Late 20s, 30s, and 40+. As if 24 and 26 were more different than 42 and 62! The trendy, casual office clothes seem better suited to junior colleagues than senior executives. I’m disappointed and feel misled. Is this ageist?

Ashton: It sure is, just like those marketing checklists with boxes for age 18-24, 25-32, etc., that end at age 65. Only this is more egregious, for exactly the reason you give. Yo, marketers, women over 40 are even more diverse than younger women! Not only that, we spend more on clothes. Ageism doesn’t just discriminate, it hurts the bottom line.

Blog post headline: 24 Things Women Over 30 Should Wear—Warning: Curves Ahead!

A blogger’s response to one of the many articles detailing all the things women over 30 should stop wearing —in this case, leopard print, graphic tees, and short dresses.

Ashton: Delightfully anti-ageist!

Reader: I am a 21-year-old, but when I am out in public most people seem to think that a look like I should still be in high school. When I go to the grocery store during the day, I am often asked why I am not in school. Are these people being ageist?

Ashton: They sure are. Ageism is any judgement about a person based on how old we think they are. Try responding, “Why do you think I should be in school?” They’ll have to spend an uncomfortable minute thinking about it, and that’s when mindsets shift.

Read more on my Yo, Is This Ageist? blog

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