Showing posts with label age prejudice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label age prejudice. Show all posts

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Eye-Catching Thong Worn by 52-yr-old Woman

A 52-year-old woman is suing Victoria's Secret because a metallic ornament popped off a thong she was trying on and hit her in the eye, damaging her cornea, according to NYDailyNews.com.

I read the article, then started perusing the reader comments. I stopped in my tracks when I read this:

this woman is to old to be wearin a thong , eeeeeeeewwwwwwwww. what she needs to be wearin is some big grandma underwear. 52 years old is to old to try and look sexy at that age.

It seems I can't go a week without encountering anti-sexual, ageist stereotypes like this. The flying ornament aside, can we focus for a minute on what this reader is saying (with apparent disgust and shock): a woman over 50 is too "old to try and look sexy."

It's what I call the "ick factor": society's view of aging women as either sexless or ludicrous and pathetic if they see themselves as sexy. No wonder women fear aging and do everything they can to hide it, convinced they lose their attractiveness at age 50 (or 40!). They fret that they can't look sexy for themselves or their partners if they have a few wrinkles or their bottoms and bosoms hang heavier than they used to.

I've railed about this before, and I'll keep on railing as long as I keep reading statements like "eeeeeeeewwwwwwwww...52 years old is to old to try and look sexy"!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Funny or Offensive? Please tell me.

Of course yesterday's New England Journal of Medicine report on senior sexuality prompted not only a respectful and informative media blast, but also the kind of stereotypical response we've come to expect, such as "Senior Sex Study Shows Nana and Papa Still Getting It On"
by Ted Gay. An excerpt from Gay's satirical site:

Jane Stacy, a ninety-four-year-old paraplegic who is cared for by her husband, Van, said that their love life was sparked after she showered and he placed her in her chair to dry and fell face down in her twat.“I said, ‘as long as you’re down there, Van, tend to the clitoris,’ which I was most happy to say he did,” Jane said.When he was asked what Jane tasted like, Van shrugged his shoulders and said, “Depends.”


Is this funny? I know, Postcards is a satirical site, and it even says, "the editorial content on this page is fictional. It is presented for entertainment purposes only. We cannot be held responsible for the actions of anyone who takes this sort of thing seriously." What I'm bothered by is that the elderly seem be fair game for ridicule, and that's what I don't like.

Am I oversensitive when I say this is the kind of senior sex stereotyping and putdown that I resent? Should I just laugh, as I'm sure Gay intended? Or is this just one more example of our society's view of elders as pathetic and ludicrous if they enjoy and/or desire sex?

What do you think? Please tell me.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

North Bay Bohemian: Birds, Bees, and Oldsters Do It


Thanks to Cole Porter, we know that birds do it, bees do it, even overeducated fleas do it. Well, apparently oldsters do it, too.

Happy Valentine's Day! I was delighted to be profiled in the North Bay Bohemian's 2007 Sex Issue in a lively article by Brett Ascarelli titled "Certain Age." Here are some excerpts:

Last fall, ABC Nightline sent a crew to Sebastopol to interview author Joan Price about seniors, sex and dating. Price, a former high school teacher turned fitness author and guru, fell in love a few years ago, drawing media attention when she claimed that she was having the best sex of her life. In 2006, she released Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty (Seal Press; $15.95), already in its second printing. The book features interviews with "sexually seasoned women," experts' advice about keeping the nethers in shape and Price's own musings on the challenges of being a sexy senior. The book's popularity spawned a related blog, in which Price moderates discussions about sex for the mature set.

One recent afternoon at her Sebastopol house, the 4'11" Price is wearing a rhinestone-covered blouse and Mary Janes. No wonder she's getting some; at 63, she's super-fit, thanks to a frequent work-out regimen and what must still be damn good metabolism, given the chocolate cookies she's munching.

... Price is a poster-adult for the cause and now fields sex-related questions from mature adults at workshops across the country.

"I call myself an advocate for ageless sexuality," Price laughs, "but maybe I'm trying to do more than that: I'm trying to change society one mind at a time, I guess."

Ascarelli, a young woman, took to heart my comments about the need for society to change its ageist attitude toward sex. She quoted me saying, "I think it will be easier [for women in the future], especially if younger people pay attention to what we're going through now and don't see us as the Other, but just as themselves in a few decades."

photo by Brett Ascarelli

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Don't call me a "little old lady"!

I'm always surprised by how acceptable it is in our society to call older people disparaging names.

I was reading a newspaper article today about Barack Obama's popularity in Illinois, which quoted Emil Jones Jr, president of the Illinois Senate, as saying, "Sitting across the table from me was a little old lady, said she was 86 years old," who hoped she'd live long enough to vote for Obama for President.

I was startled by reading this mature woman described as "a little old lady," and I didn't like it. OK, I'm little (4' 10"), 63 years old, and female -- but "little old lady" belittles my maturity and experience and sounds like it would be uttered while patting me on the head. Didn't the 86-year-old elder deserve a more dignified description? If she had been male, would she have been described by Mr. Jones as "an old geezer"?

When the creeps trashed my blog, they talked about it among themselves (yes, I was able to electronically eavesdrop) as "the old lady's sex blog." That amused more than insulted me, because it was so far from the truth of what happens here or who I am. But it's part of the bigger picture of older people being seen as subjects of ridicule, especially regarding sexuality.

I know there's no consensus about what to call older people without offending us! I like the term "senior," although I know some dislike it. I like "elder" because it connotes wisdom and sounds respectful, even reverent -- but I don't feel old enough to deserve being called an elder. "Mature" is a nice adjective, though "mature adult" sounds stilted.

What do you like to be called? Which terms feel dignified to you? Which feel belittling? Post a comment or email me, and let's talk about this. Young people, you can chime in, too -- is it a dilemma knowing what to call us? What about what we call you?

Looking forward to your comments,

Joan

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Who Called In the Creeps?

I apologize profusely to any readers who were subjected to the dozens of nasty and profane comments that were posted to my blog the morning of Dec. 5. I deleted them and easily traced the trashing of my blog to an organized attack led by the fan message board of a shock-jock radio show.

The listeners apparently found the idea of joyful senior sex icky and set out to trash "the old lady sex blog," as they called it, by posting more than 40 obscene, racist, sexist, ageist, offensive messages.

Wow, this really surprised me, and continues to.

Too many people with too much time on their hands, too much meanness in their hearts, and too little capacity for intimacy, perhaps. I wonder how they treat their grandparents. We might discuss their fears of aging and sexuality, and their need to keep us as the "other" -- easy, even enjoyable, to stereotype and demean.

If you've tried to post a comment and it hasn't been accepted, I'm being particularly careful here because they've tried to continue the assault with comments that pretend to be sympathetic.

Chris Smith wrote a nice paragraph about me in his column in the Press Democrat Dec. 5, and I had many new visitors that morning. I hope they realize that I was sabotaged, and they don't stay away because of what they read before I got to it. I've changed my settings so that now I'll moderate all comments before they appear. Sorry it was necessary.

-- Joan

12/7 update: I was able to listen to the radio show that set off this assault by reading aloud from this blog for many minutes. I sent this note to the producer, who invited me to appear on the show:

I heard [the hosts] discuss my topic, book, blog, and the personal stories of those who opened their lives to me. I choose to preserve a level of dignity about older people enjoying sex and intimacy that is at odds with the show's glee at ridiculing them.

Therefore, I decline your invitation.