Gransnet forums


Ageism on mumsnet

(49 Posts)
jellybeans123 Sat 29-Nov-14 20:07:13

There is a discussion currently on aibu on mumsnet about the casual ageism over there. It has been suggested that we join forces with the campaign against everyday ageism on gransnet. Would really appreciate your views. Many recent references to "old biddies", "old duffers" and "old dears with nothing better to do".
Many of us are NOT happy!

whenim64 Sat 29-Nov-14 20:36:07

Here's the link:

It doesn't surprise me. This older group of women who knew they had a fight on their hands to achieve equality still remember what it felt like to be discriminated against (still are in so many ways) but the Mumsnet generation didn't all have these experiences and don't tend to be as quick off the mark about discrimination against older women, I find. My DDs don't regard feminism as important and are casual with some of their expressions, but they do have ingrained expectations of their rights. I don't think they would give the expression 'old biddies' a second thought, sadly.

Brendawymms Sat 29-Nov-14 21:24:17

What's aibu? Sorry if I am being thick.

It amazes me how people jump on anything that even hints of being racist, sexist or making a derogatory comment about particular race or creed but ageism seems acceptable by some segments of society, especially as relating to females. Not that elderly men escape totally.

I heard one lady on TV Talking bout the VERY ELDERLY, those over 75 she said.

What else to say..... The NHS seems one ageist organisation to start with.

whenim64 Sat 29-Nov-14 21:45:57

Am I Being Unreasonable, Brenda

Leticia Sat 29-Nov-14 22:00:46

MN seem to think it quite acceptable to have a book chapter about 'the old biddies on the bus' rather than 'busybodies on the bus', or similar.
The problem lies in people not understanding the difference.

Ana Sat 29-Nov-14 22:06:22

Doesn't bother me. I can't get incensed about a maybe patronising but quite affectionate description of women older than them.

(Whereas being called a busybody would annoy me!)

soontobe Sat 29-Nov-14 22:18:01

As I am getting older, it bothers me! Strange that!
Personally I try and spend time with older people deliberately.
Why? Because a lot of people get wiser as they get older. Therefore I consider that I can learn a lot from them.

Leticia Sat 29-Nov-14 22:21:10

But the chapter was about people giving unwanted advice - plenty do and busybody is one term. 'Old biddy' singles out all busybodies as female and elderly!

Leticia Sat 29-Nov-14 22:22:22

Maybe 'busybodies' was the wrong term. Swap it for 'unasked for advice on the bus'.

Ana Sat 29-Nov-14 22:47:44

Sorry, Letitica, I hadn't read the link.

Soontobe, I'm not sure whether people actually get wiser as they get older or just become resigned and more reflective.

soontobe Sat 29-Nov-14 22:51:55

The way I figure it is that we all get wiser, year on year. No?
Perhaps some, not all?
I like tapping into that.

Ana Sat 29-Nov-14 22:53:17

If you say so.

janerowena Sat 29-Nov-14 23:44:47

As a newbie at WI, some ladies there really do personify Old Biddy to me. Most do not. Some have very young minds, some are set in their ways. I know I shouldn't generalise but some do seem very elderly and others who are far older in years, seem young and sprightly. If I hear someone describe older ladies as biddies or very elderly, I know exactly what they mean and it isn't necessarily anything to do with age. It's a type. It's possible to meet elderly women in their late forties.

Ana Sun 30-Nov-14 00:04:12

I agree, janerowena, that's why the term doesn't really bother me.

I think what you say about your WI applies to GN as well. I'm often taken aback at how 'elderly' some relatively young members seem in their attitude (if they've given an age in their profile), yet many older members are emphatically not.

janerowena Sun 30-Nov-14 00:09:46

You only had to look at Greatgran to see that.

janerowena Sun 30-Nov-14 00:11:23

Old biddies have Huffs.

Ana Sun 30-Nov-14 00:16:58

Some young ones do too! grin

Leticia Sun 30-Nov-14 07:46:21

It is attitude not age.
The problem with the book was that it dismissed anyone who was older as not being worth listening to.
Generally older people are wise enough not to give unwanted advice- they know how irritating it can be!

janeainsworth Sun 30-Nov-14 08:39:04

I don't go on MN very much, but I did read that whole thread last night, and if it's a true reflection of Mumsnet then I can see why they're upset.
I think it's wrong to generalise and stereotype people just because of their age, but that applies to young people as much as older ones.

So far in my retirement I've never felt condescended to, patronised, excluded, looked down on etc because of my age.

Perhaps ironically, the only time in my life when I had those feelings was during the years when I stayed at home looking after small children confused

petallus Sun 30-Nov-14 08:40:44

I have sometimes called DH an old duffer. He doesn't mind. It's quite an affectionate term. Anyway, he is!

I don't care what they call us on Mumsnet, the feisty young things! smile

janeainsworth Sun 30-Nov-14 08:52:47

petallus If I understood the thread correctly, what they are upset about is that on MN anyone who makes a comment that could possibly be construed as even mildly homophobic or mildly racist is immediately flamed, whereas ageist comments and generisalisations, especially on the threads about the feisty young things' mothers-in-law, seem to pass unnoticed and are tolerated, with the young things seemingly happily oblivious to the fact that one day, sooner than they appear to think, the day will come when they too qualify as old.
Someone quoted from an article ( can't remember who from) that pointed out that the attitudes behind casual ageism were what lay behind, and led to, the abuse of older people when they become vulnerable in later life.

petallus Sun 30-Nov-14 09:01:40

Thanks janea.

I smiled a bit at the mention of Mnetters going on about their mils. Here we go on about Dils.

As for ageism, well it can go in both directions. Youths come up for quite a bit of criticism of the 'in our day variety', eg they can't cook properly, they don't respect their elders, they expect something for nothing, their grammar is atrocious, they only care about wide screen tvs and other gadgets.

Leticia Sun 30-Nov-14 09:25:41

I think, having been on both, is that gransnet is far more laid back, tolerant and polite. MN, on AIBU especially, is none of those things!
The main bugbear is that you are not allowed to make derogatory comments about any other groups, but age is OK. Teenagers come off badly too.

vampirequeen Sun 30-Nov-14 10:01:45

Different generations have always complained about the one younger and older than themselves.

"I believe what really happens in history is this: the old man is always wrong; and the young people are always wrong about what is wrong with him. The practical form it takes is this: that, while the old man may stand by some stupid custom, the young man always attacks it with some theory that turns out to be equally stupid." (G.K. Chesterton)

I have to admit though that this is my favourite grin

Elegran Sun 30-Nov-14 11:15:24

I don't think I would like to have people "spending time with older people deliberately because a lot of people get wiser as they get older . . . and I can learn a lot from them." I suspect that if I tried to use that as a reason to persuade young people to see more of me I would get short shrift. I would feel too that I was being venerated as a resource, not valued as a person.

I would rather they spent time with me because they enjoyed it, as I enjoy spending time with younger people - or people my age - or people older than me.