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To think ageism is rife on Mumsnet

(100 Posts)
IPityThePontipines Wed 16-Dec-15 23:21:00

Any thread featuring a woman over the age of forty will feature the following comments:

Old bat,

Poisonous old hag

Shrivelled old woman

Nasty old bat

and many others.

Old women are spoken about on here as if they were Gollum's uglier sister with a personality to match.

Considering that 95% of the posters on here will be old women someday soon, it seems utterly bizarre. Where does this loathing come from?

RuckingMarvellous Wed 16-Dec-15 23:24:22


Can't say I've ever noticed that, am I'm nearing 40 myself!

Junosmum Wed 16-Dec-15 23:24:58

I can't say I've noticed any of those to be honest. I'll be on the look out.

PurpleDaisies Wed 16-Dec-15 23:26:35

I suspect we've been reading the same thread op. Very depressing.

ilovesooty Wed 16-Dec-15 23:26:59

I agree. More posters are challenging ageist comments now but there's still a long way to go. Ageism is often still tolerated where racism, disabilism or homophobia wouldn't be.

Arfarfanarf Wed 16-Dec-15 23:28:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

honeysucklejasmine Wed 16-Dec-15 23:30:36

There is also a fair amount of the opposite too. If an OP is young they do get a tone of condescension quite a lot.

Neither is acceptable.

asilverraindrop Wed 16-Dec-15 23:30:46

YANBU (or only a bit, I've not seen the shrivelled one). Also, people often mention age when it's irrelevant to the point of the post and they would not do so for race or religion, but use it in an unthinking and slightly negative way. I am 50, and am bemused by how many people write about MILs a few years older than me as if they had one foot in the grave (though TBF some of the MIL thus described seem to behave that way).

VashtaNerada Wed 16-Dec-15 23:32:33

Yes I agree, often see ageism on here. Particularly in relation to altercations with strangers in public settings for some reason!

PacificDogwod Wed 16-Dec-15 23:34:07

Yeah, well, I don't disagree but it's a reflection of wider society, isn't it?
MN is simply a reflection of how women of a certain age are regarded in general hmm

MistressoftheYoniverse Wed 16-Dec-15 23:35:21

Really? I haven't noticed!...maybe it's my 43 yr old, shrivelled, hag-bat eyesgrin

PacificDogwod Wed 16-Dec-15 23:35:22

Tbh, blatant ageism is more likely to be called out on MN than in RL IME.

And I don't know what thread you might be referring to.

GiddyOnZackHunt Wed 16-Dec-15 23:37:21

Oh I don't agree. There are threads about pg over 40 so plainly not everyone sees 40 as shrivelling up.
You don't know how old people are unless they make a deal of it. There almost certainly is some pejorative language but rife? No.

0christmastree5 Wed 16-Dec-15 23:42:18

Ssshhhhhh you old bat! Sorry.... I'll go.

IPityThePontipines Wed 16-Dec-15 23:46:30

There have been looooooooooads of threads, so this isn't a TAAT in particular.

Yes, I know it does get called out upon, but it's depressing women say those things in the first place.

ChopsticksandChilliCrab Wed 16-Dec-15 23:55:06

YANBU OP I have noticed this this week. I have also noticed more people coming on to justify themselves when their child or their parenting has been either directly or indirectly criticised in public. Inevitably the object of their ire is another woman.

steppemum Wed 16-Dec-15 23:57:46

well, as I clicked I thought you were going to say that mn is really down on young women, especially young mums, as I notice that.

I am getting old, but I find mn is pretty much even handed in its rudeness!

LaurieFairyCake Wed 16-Dec-15 23:58:43

There's loads of possible reasons why

1. Older women are often bolshier, know themselves and stop pleasing anyone but themselves (at least I do)

This is unnerving to younger women who may be concerned with appearance/ conforming etc ( or they're busy raising kids etc)

2. Or we're terrified of ageing (yep, me too) and we want to distance ourself from old (er) age

Very old age is really hard to watch with infirmity and illness

3. We totally revere youth in this culture - every perfume add is a young, hot model. Other cultures age is respected more

I'm not saying the above is definite or anything - just musings and possibilities

TamzinGrey Thu 17-Dec-15 00:26:54

Completely disagree with your No 1. I have become more nervous and introverted as I've got older. Everyone is different. Older people don't suddenly acquire a generic personality.

I hate all this Old Bag, Old Hag, Grumpy Old Bitch etc. stuff that is so commonly used on Mumsnet to describe women over 60. It's interesting (and very depressing) that on a site aimed at women, older women attract a particular venom that never seems to be directed at older men.

MistressoftheYoniverse Thu 17-Dec-15 00:29:24

I think you are right Laurie in other cultures age means respect dignity and knowledge. The culture we seem to have now in the UK/West is older people are vulnerable, taken advantage of in homes not cared for properly in very undignified circumstances or pitied for being old, lonely or a burden ...although my DD loves older people and thinks they are 'cute' ...hope she thinks DH& I are 'cute' in 30yrs grin

MistressoftheYoniverse Thu 17-Dec-15 00:32:28

As I have gotten older I have become wiser and have a nice grey patch at the front of my head to prove it..grin

Destinysdaughter Thu 17-Dec-15 00:32:40

I have to agree. Comments on Madonna ( whatever you may think of her) are shockingly ageist. I don't see bloody Rod Stewart being subjected to that crap. And there is currently a thread on S&B about a lace dress that is described as ' a bit mother of the bride' ( ie awful ). Think it creeps into lots of threads in different ways. Ageing is a touchy subject especially for women and if you're young and attractive it's all too easy to mock older women, prob for reasons stated above. Old age comes to us all eventually...

OhJustGetOnWithIt Thu 17-Dec-15 00:36:36

If we're luckywinksmile

Out2pasture Thu 17-Dec-15 01:28:53

Some ageism but certainly not enough to claim it is rife.
I'm guilty of Laurie's #1 category.
Living a fairly remote and isolated life so neither Madonna or Rod Stewart interest me.
I'll read the lace thread, I quite like MOB dresses ;)

kali110 Thu 17-Dec-15 01:37:30

Yes especially if it's a complaint about a child then 'you're a miserable old bat/bag/hag'
Nobody raises an eyebrow then

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