OPINION: Millennials may have grown up online, but they don’t know everything | Perspective
by Helene Cohen Bludman, For the Inquirer
EXCERPT: Last week I attended a digital marketing conference in Philadelphia, an educational opportunity in my own city that I could not pass up. I was psyched for two intense days of learning.
….This was indeed a diverse crowd. White, black, brown faces. Probably half women, half men. A variety of dress, from suits to jeans.
There was one demographic noticeably absent, however: The 55 and over segment.
…”What can I do about my clients who are, like, in their 50s and 60s?” the first woman asked the presenter. “You know, like, … giggle … these old people, they are so clueless when it comes to social media, they just don’t get it …”
I couldn’t stop myself.
“I resent that,” I said.
The second woman swiveled her head to stare at me. She tittered nervously. The first woman looked aghast. I felt my face redden but plunged ahead.
“What you just said. You realize that’s ageism, right?”
AMEN. As a proud 54 year old blogger who was blogging long before these kids were driving, let alone old enough to drink legally, I love this.
I also love this because ageism is real and lordy you see it online every day. Try being an older parent in a parenting group of parents in this millennial and every so slightly older category. It’s damn insulting the way they condescend at times. Sorry not sorry I don’t know, became a parent much later than you, but at least I do not have to crowd source my every blessed moment of every day.
My recent favorite crowd source was how to get a food truck to come to a child’s birthday party. Uhhhh, call them up and find out how much and either hire them or don’t.
They also crowd source super personal marital woes online. Like infidelity. Substance abuse. Abuse abuse. They actually do not seem to know what to do. I find that sad and terrifying. That is interesting sociologically. Our grandparents’ generation just didn’t discuss it period. It was suffer in silence. Our parents’ generation might maybe discuss it with regard to others, not themselves. My own generation will provide support to one and other and discuss it. But the generations below my own? They will just put it all out there on social media….sometimes. There is also the camp that only posts perfect photos with everyone in matching Lilly or Ralph Lauren (if they still buy Ralph Lauren, maybe my age is showing?)
This is also the age group who often has the most problems with my blogging. I never know if it is because I am not a compensated blogger, or if what actually matters to me puts them outside of their comfort zones.
And I would definitely say my age alone puts them out of a lot of their comfort zones.
It’s not like I am particularly old. But ageism is real and people practice it every day.
I had to deal with a lot of it getting married for the first time in my 50s. I ended up working with people in my own age group because the younger “it” crowd of caterers, planners, dress providers, and so on were incredibly condescending. A lot of them I could not even get to have a conversation with me, they wanted to do everything by e-mail. And were incredibly inflexible as well as ridiculously expensive.
Then try finding the right dress in your 50s. Talk about ageism. Check out the bridal gown and fashion industry. They are true examples. You either supposed to look like a hooker or a Puritan. There is no in between.
And the job industry. Have you ever watched the television show Younger? It’s about a 40 something old divorcee who has to get back into her industry. Only no one wants to hire her at her real age. So she lies about her age and pretends she is in her 20s and that is how she restarts her career.
Not so far fetched. At our age, many employers seem to think we should stick to being greeters at Target and WalMart. Mind you they want to hire young because they don’t have to pay the kiddos as much. Ageism every day. They try to be clever about it so they don’t end up with EEOC complaints, but it happens.
For a few years I worked for a regional publication very part time keeping their events calendars filled. I was behind a screen so no one knew how old I was. Every once in a while I would meet someone younger who would say “YOU do the events? YOU?” Implied and unsaid was of course “You? You’re kind of old.” Yeah I am not in my twenties yet I can load an events calendar with the perfect events for you and your kiddos you never thought to look for yourselves.
Ageism is not just for my mother. It is indeed for my age group as well. I don’t feel my age except when I realize I can’t go out dancing all night anymore and garden for eight hours straight. But I am made to feel my age sometimes through the eyes of those who are younger. They will of course understand as they gain age and life experience.
Here are a couple of recent articles about the topic of ageism:
How Do We Combat Ageism? By Valuing Wisdom as Much as Youth.
JUNE 21, 2018
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