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There are many types of discrimination based on different variables: sex/gender, race or skin color, age, sexual orientation or identity, status or economic level, religious beliefs and ability, among others.
Age discrimination is called ageism and involves a type of inequality of social origin, culturally constructed by the patriarchal system and maintained over time.
It usually appears transversally, finding or crossing different aspects of the person; and interacting between two or more social factors that define a person.
Age affects our whole life but in different ways according to the years we add. The usual thing is to find greater ageism towards the elderly or childhood; not listening to their opinions, minimizing their decisions, questioning their ability or worth and imposing our criteria on theirs. But the level of discrimination could increase, decrease or disappear, depending on other variables such as gender, economic level and social status, for example.
Francisco Olavarría, an expert in communication and renowned activist for the rights of the elderly, determines that "we have mislearned that age is a limit and a burden, it conditions us in all areas, from the world of work, aesthetics to that of relationships".
DOES IT AFFECT WOMEN EQUALLY?
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Taking into account that our society is sexist and women are objectified and hyperxualized to a greater degree, it would be logical to believe that they will be more desired and will like more than older men, and, therefore, suffer less ageism in terms of eroticism. However, it is precisely women who, for all these factors, are most rejected when they reach a certain age, unless they 'take care of themselves' and delay their signs of age, thus entering the ageist game that generates so much damage.
Surely you have heard of the feeling of 'invisible woman', expressed by them when wrinkles become evident and it is intuited or known, that they have reached 50. But they also have them, they show them, and despite the metrosexuality that marked an era and the increase in male care, you only have to turn on the TV to verify that they, the presenters for example, can appear older, pretending how old they are. They, on the other hand, are either significantly younger or try to look so, in many different ways, some more invasive than others.
CULT OF YOUTH
Now quite a few women show white hair and proud gray hair, claiming their attractiveness in maturity; Thus questioning that the wrinkle is beautiful and loving herself very much so as not to fall into the trap of the 'need' to be loved by others at all costs. But there are more women who continue to dye their gray hair and comment on 'I'm going to fix myself', as if they were broken; Spending hours hiding wrinkles, dark circles and bags, offering youthful blush to their cheeks when they put on makeup, or commenting 'it makes you younger', to encourage a friend to buy the dress.
The cult of youth, what an invention of marketing and capitalism. "For women, aging is a condemnation, which implies the rejection and mistreatment of one's physical appearance and mental health, but also invisibility and economic ruin," says Olavarría.
In this way, an older woman 'who does not take care of herself' especially, that is, who loves herself as she is and wants to be loved and desired for what she is, not for what she appears, will be rejected by the majority, of men, above all. Or, it eroticizes as a 'paraphilia', as when something is eroticized to someone who is not normal to eroticize. Let me explain; It occurred to me to introduce 'old skins' in the Internet search engine, and to my surprise, only porn appeared. Could it be that the older ones are eroticized but hypocrisy desires them in privacy and relegates them from the public? Come on, I like them but nobody knows.
THE EROTICA OF POWER
Man, probably, will have it simpler on an aesthetic level, at least, and his maturity will be valued by associating himself with wisdom, protection and money. By likelihood, men have more money than women and more access to it. Remember that there is still the shameful wage gap or the unbreakable glass ceiling, by which women do not reach positions of power or the economic level of men, therefore. This generates obvious benefits for them, including status and power.
The erotica of power is powerful and we have been made to believe that 'there is no ugly man but extra money'. Also that women need physical and economic protection, and that if she invests in us, she loves us, so we feel more loved and desired if this happens.
The phenomenon of sugar daddies, works thanks to all this, based on the 'myth of romantic love'. They are "the privileges of being a straight, white man with money," says the expert. But it also contributes to raising the likelihood of relationships being built where they are significantly older than them, or alarmingly.
It is also often easier to relate to a young, inexperienced woman than to a mature woman, who learned to set limits, and therefore, is less easy to handle. Although it is probably much more interesting and enriching to be able to build non-hierarchical and balanced relationships, by showing both these skills.
Of course, not all people possess these skills, no matter how many years they have. I always comment that maturity is not offered by age but by the level of consciousness, with 's', because it does not refer to morality but to self-knowledge. Critical thinking is built and trained, like empathy, self-esteem, desire, relationships, and love. That mindfulsex, to which I always refer, who manages to see us as we are and allows us to get out of the game of being who they want us to be; Whether in relationships, sex or in the rest of our areas of life.
Indeed, love has no age, in the sense that anyone could fall in love regardless of their age, however, the way of loving evolves and can be very different depending on that age, because of the learning it grants.
By the way, ageism would also significantly affect the decision to be a mother at a certain age, punishing little or nothing, if it were paternity. They don't say, 'You're going to pass the rice,' do you?
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This violence is present in everyday language, sometimes subtle, going unnoticed if the existence of micro-ageisms is not paid attention or is unknown. Francisco Olavarría makes them visible in his manual, Micro-ageism we are going to retire.
Among the most common ages we can find phrases, which surely sound like you or have ever pronounced, whose message we do not usually associate with this discrimination that generates so much damage. Some as everyday as:
1. How young I see you.
2. You keep yourself very well.
3. For the age you are...
4. Woman, and at your age what do you want!
5. You look younger.
6. Your mother must have been very beautiful when she was young.
"It is convenient to unlearn all this culture of rejection and mistreatment that leads us to a tragic fate. No person should assume that aging is something shameful or guilty," concludes the activist for the rights of the elderly.
Ana Sierra is a psychologist and sexologist.
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