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Age discrimination: Don't call me grandma!


Older women are often referred to as grandma - not just by their children and grandchildren. Also from strangers, in the supermarket, on the street. Our author resists it.

I don't want to be called Grandma, neither by strange children nor by my grandchildren. Knowing that this wish is very personal and has little understanding, I always state with certainty that I do not want to be called that.

I know that many grandmothers are happy to be called grandma. You will find it so loving and lovely, especially if it is one of the first expressions that the little darling brings out.

With my request, I regularly trigger astonishment. It even leads to pointed comments such as: "Someone has problems with aging" or: "The child has to learn what kind of relationship you have with him."

An older woman, whether she has grandchildren or not, is almost always called grandma. For every kindergarten child, an older woman with gray hair is a grandma. She has no name, she is just a grandma.

How often do I have to tell strangers, if they call me that, that I'm not their grandma? They don't understand what I mean, of course, and they look at me with wide, astonished eyes. They take over what they have heard from their parents: "This is a grandma" or "... leave the grandma alone."

How about grandmother?

The term grandma is the child-language transformation of grandmother. This also applies to grandpa, grand dad. The terms first appeared in the 19th century. Grandma is easy to pronounce for the little ones, so they can say this word soon. Nobody will mind if they call their grandmother that way at first. But why does it have to stay that way and why must the young mothers and fathers continue to speak of grandma? Surely you no longer have any language problems.

"Don't annoy Grandma. Don't scream like that, Grandma doesn't like that." It sounds very different if you say instead: "Don't annoy your grandmother. She doesn't like that." Or you can use the grandmother's first name.

Grandmother is a precise kinship term like father or mother. Only my grandchildren can call me that, because what reason should other children have to say grandmother to me? I also have a first name. With this my grandchildren can also address me. I suspect that many grandchildren don't even know their grandma's first name.

Source: zeit

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