By Margaret Morganroth Gullette
Let’s face it: virtually everyone fears growing old. We fear approximately wasting our appears to be like, our well-being, our jobs, our self-esteem—and being supplanted in paintings and love by means of more youthful humans. It appears like the traditional, inevitable end result of the passing years, yet what if it’s now not? What if approximately every little thing that we predict of because the “natural” strategy of getting older is something yet? In Agewise, popular cultural critic Margaret Morganroth Gullette finds that a lot of what we dread approximately getting older is absolutely the results of ageism—which we will be able to, and will, 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 agents who are looking to promote us an illusory imaginative and prescient of younger perfection. Even worse, rampant ageism explanations society to undefined, and every now and then thoroughly discard, the knowledge and event received by means of humans over the process maturity. The costs—both collective and personal—of this tradition of decline are virtually incalculable, diminishing our team, robbing more youthful humans of desire for an honest later existence, and eroding the satisfactions and experience of productiveness that are supposed to animate our later years. after 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 formidable plans for the full lifestyles direction, from educating childrens anti-ageism to fortifying the social safeguard nets, and therefore eventually making attainable the genuine pleasures and possibilities promised by means of the recent toughness. A bracing, debatable name to fingers, Agewise will shock, enlighten, and, maybe most crucial, carry desire to readers of every age.
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Extra info for Agewise: Fighting the New Ageism in America
Since I was then already into my sixties in a culture increasingly obsessed with youth, this experience was rare. But The Eskimo on the Ice Floe : 33 had I ever seen an image created from the point of view of a woman looking down at her own body from above? Never. Nor could a mirror show it. Certainly no TV or magazine ad had ever captured those satisfying curves. The assumption of our culture is not just ageist but middle-ageist, that bodily decline starts not in old age but ever younger: for women and even some men, as early as thirty.
My mother is still my informant. Luckily, ﬁrst she told me a progress narrative about herself, and then, boldly peering forward, arming me for life, she dreamed one for me. I latched on to our best and longest-running story at an early age. And I see my mother now, despite the drastic losses of the last few years, holding on to it gallantly and tenaciously. Every time one encounters the sad hate words or spots terms like “the new longevity” used as a problem, there’s an imaginative beneﬁt to recognizing—as young as possible—that the people referred to are not strangers, not others, but our parents or relatives or mentors or friends.
They make odd bedfellows. Some no doubt pride themselves on their patriotism for trying to save the country money. Most would be horriﬁed to think of themselves as potential executioners. Ageism’s everyday authors are just us, at our various ages: those of us who have not trained ourselves to self-identify as future old people. Watch us in our victimhood squawk like ventriloquist’s dummies, repeating embarrassing jokes, “explaining” life to our children as decline, innocently passing on neocon propaganda, praying our parents have saved enough to be independent, passively imagining a dreamy convenient easy exit for our own precious self before we can be led out on the ice.