Gransnet forums


Ageism on mumsnet

(50 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!

janerowena Sun 30-Nov-14 12:14:56

I suppose we all get tarred with the same brush, just because some older people are too stuck in their beliefs and don't bother to keep learning. I once said to my ex-FiL that I learnt so much from my daughter, and he said 'the day I think a 21 year old knows more than me I will shoot myself'.

When we are very young we have a very small world, and we know what we need to in order to survive. That world expands hugely as young adults and we learn all sorts of things. Then somehow we seem to have had enough of it as we age, and retreat again and shut our minds and ears to what is going on in the wider world. Of course, so much is going on that we can't possibly keep up with it all, but my own mother seems to live in a teeny sheltered bubble of her own, compared to a village friend I have of the same age (79) who is amazingly tolerant and well-informed. My mother is still convinced that she will get piles if she sits on cold ground! Along with too many other old wives' tales to mention.

Mishap Sun 30-Nov-14 12:21:14

I am finding it hard to get too exercised about all this.

glammanana Sun 30-Nov-14 12:23:27

Just wondering if the younger mums would find us "Old Biddies" or similar when it comes down to child minding duties I think not somehow.

Mishap Sun 30-Nov-14 12:49:00

I have always found my children's friends and other younger people with whom I have regular contact to be very respectful; indeed there are those who have overtly sought my advice because they recognise that my life experience is longer than theirs. One even said she saw me as a role model - I was very flattered indeed by that!

I think things are better now than when I was young.

TriciaF Sun 30-Nov-14 13:54:27

I was on the receiving end recently and didn't like it.
A younger woman (50s) joined my friend and I for a walk, we walk quite slowly and sometimes stop. She took a call from her husband on her mobile asking why she was so long, and she replied "I'm walking with the old fogies", smirking.
I nearly landed her one.

Elegran Sun 30-Nov-14 14:42:48

Answer for next time, TriciaF - "Oh no, dear, it takes more than weaker leg muscles and shorter breath to make us old fogies! Our brains and minds are still working as well as all you young fogies. Don't write us off yet, attitude is the key!""

petallus Sun 30-Nov-14 15:47:26

Just give her the victory sign next time!

TriciaF Sun 30-Nov-14 17:16:53

Good ideas, thanks, I've already "had words" with her, can't stand her.
Personally, I believe in fighting our own battles and I'm not sure about these labels of ageism, sexism, even racism etc.
It makes out that the victims are too pathetic to do anything about it themselves.

jellybeans123 Sun 30-Nov-14 17:50:36

It sounds quite trivial to begin with-things like saying old dears shouldn't be in the shops at lunch time because they're slow and hold people up. Next "old duffers" shouldn't be driving on the roads-to be fair that thread was deleted.

It sometimes takes a sinister turn on the mother-in-law threads. We all know that in relationships it can be the older person or the younger person who is at fault (or 6 of one / half a dozen of the other).
However there is often an easy assumption that the MIL must be at fault and the next step is--THIS WOMAN IS TOXIC_DO NOT LET HER NEAR YOUR CHILDREN or "this is your child-she has had her turn".
I think it gets worrying personally.
I know there are awful MILs around but there is definitely an ageist bias.

Perhaps I need to be as chilled as some of you here are about the "old biddy" stuff.

jellybeans123 Sun 30-Nov-14 17:57:06

PS in real life I haven't experienced this to be honest

Ana Sun 30-Nov-14 18:09:47

I don't think the 'toxic MIL' topic is ageist. It's just a relationship issue between (usually) the women in a family situation. There are probably just as many MILs describing their DILs as 'toxic' and wondering how they can persuade their son to see things their way...

jellybeans123 Sun 30-Nov-14 18:12:50

It isn't the topic in itself that is ageist-it is the assumptions and bias in the replies and consequent advice

Ana Sun 30-Nov-14 18:19:02

I expect you're right - I haven't read any of those threads on Mumsnet myself. Perhaps we do tend to be a bit less judgemental on here! grin

jellybeans123 Sun 30-Nov-14 18:22:02

I just read a few on Friday and got a bit of a shock! Yes overall the replies on here are much more conciliatory.

apricot Sun 30-Nov-14 19:24:59

This doesn't bother me at all. To women in their 30s or 40s anyone over 60 will seem really old, just as teenagers are immortal and cannot even imagine getting old.
I'm not "elderly" nor in my "twilight years" nor any other American euphemisms. I'm old and an old biddy and I know we are a nuisance with our sticks and deaf aids and slowness.
It's quite funny to think that all our descendants will be old one day and will then find out that we remain 18 forever inside.

petallus Sun 30-Nov-14 19:39:33

jellybeans i appreciate your concern about these ageist insults on MN.

Sometimes I pop over and read some of your threads. I love the plain speaking and swearing which we don't do on GN.

I like being old. I can't see why people pointing out that I am so is an insult.

apricot certainly my 18 year old self lives on but I'm pleased I have other more mature selves as well. Wouldn't like the 18 year old to be running my life grin

janerowena Sun 30-Nov-14 19:50:29

I do read quite a lot on mumsnet. I think they feel more passionate about it, it's their age. They haven't learnt to be chilled about life yet, and haven't experienced as much. It's never nice to be generalised about, but I am just as guilty of having been cross about young mums in shops at lunchtime when I was in my lunch hour. I never dreamt that it would be me one day, in the only time when my own baby would allow me to get out of the house in between feeds and nappy changes.

Nonu Sun 30-Nov-14 20:09:04

Mumsnet doesn't do it for me at all. I think they seem to feel that the louder they swear and bad mouth , the cooler they seem . They have some strange ideas.

WRONG on all counts IMO

janerowena Sun 30-Nov-14 20:20:35

I'm usually on the higher education bit, with DS at uni. But I have had the occasional foray elsewhere and most threads are fine.

GillT57 Mon 01-Dec-14 15:37:48

I find that the attitudes and replies on GN are rarely indicative of the age of the poster, but I agree with those who have dipped their toes into the WI, some of the ladies there are very set in their ways, will not embrace or even consider anything new fangled ( mobile phones for heavens sake) and when we need to get a message around it involves hours of repetitive phone calls because we dont have an email list. This attitude is not always from the older members.

TriciaF Mon 01-Dec-14 15:58:37

Where we live , in rural SW France, average life expectancy is into the 80s-90s. So there's a preponderance of older people here, my friend calls us old boys and old girls (is that ageist?)
We shop in the mornings,and the checkouts are very slow but no-one complains. Even when this morning one old boy in front of me in the queue forgot to declare a sack of dog croquettes, and had to come back and write yet another cheque.
Perhaps the MN-ers are mostly town dwellers and always in a hurry, find our slowness irritating.

TriciaF Mon 01-Dec-14 17:26:38

I've just joined Mumsnet to see what it's like, and they have 500 threads active for today! shock
Definitely on another planet.

soontobe Mon 01-Dec-14 17:44:57


janerowena Mon 01-Dec-14 19:05:48

Things move very fast on there. But if you find what you are you are most interested in, it's more like boards within boards. So maybe there will be 20 posts active in each topic, instead of just the one, on here. The rest is chat.