There are multiple prejudices and stereotypes related to old age. However, it is a natural process on which it is urgent to change the look.
Yes, I am young, I am approaching 30 years. However, since I was very little I have been surrounded by messages that tell me that I should avoid getting old. Many of the aesthetic procedures or cosmetic products are focused on hiding wrinkles, covering gray hair or keeping the body firm. The names of many creams carry the title “anti aging”! In a world obsessed with youth, it’s hard to escape the constant pressure to look younger. Advertisements bombard us with images of young, wrinkle-free people, creating the illusion that aging is something to be avoided at all costs, especially for women. But is it really necessary to hide your age and fight against the natural passage of time?
By 2030, the number of people aged 60 and over is projected to outnumber the world’s young people. Many regions already have an aging trend in their populations and this is raising challenges in terms of pensions, working conditions, health systems and economic productivity. However, there are also a number of other well-being challenges. Old age is a natural and inevitable process. However, it seems that we live in a world obsessed with eternal youth and economic productivity.
Ageism is discrimination based on age, which manifests itself in stereotypes, prejudices and unfavorable treatment towards older people (although it can also be towards youth). It is a real problem on which international organizations and various institutions are working. Many elderly people today live without adequate care, suffer from loneliness or are underestimated. In this sense, it is essential to recognize and combat ageism to build an inclusive and respectful society with all stages of life.
Ageism limits our perceptions of people’s beauty, abilities, and worth based on their age, perpetuating the idea that being young is superior and desirable. Furthermore, it is a problem closely related to gender. So much so that the theme of the World Day for Awareness of Abuse and Abuse in Old Age 2023 , established by the United Nations and its agencies, is “Addressing gender-based violence in old age: policies, laws and evidence-based responses “.
A report led by the WHO points out that ageism is a serious problem in the world. In fact, there is not much social awareness about it. However, according to the WHO, “it is estimated that one in two people in the world have ageist attitudes, which impoverishes the physical and mental health of the elderly, in addition to reducing their quality of life, and costs thousands of dollars each year.” millions of dollars to society. Likewise, it is estimated that around 6.3 million cases of depression are attributed to ageism and that it has an impact on self-esteem, finances and physical and mental health.
This form of discrimination is reflected in multiple spheres, including advertising, where youthful beauty ideals are perpetuated and older people are excluded from positive representation. Although social imaginaries are just the tip of the iceberg, it is essential that we reflect on them.
I want to grow old in peace!
The pressure to maintain a youthful appearance at all costs can be exhausting and detrimental to our mental and emotional health. By pursuing eternal youth, we run the risk of neglecting fundamental aspects of our overall well-being. I want to grow old calmly, without the constant worry about wrinkles, gray hair or any other natural sign of the passage of time. Instead, I want to focus on building meaningful relationships, nurturing my spirit, and living a fulfilling life.
Old age should not be seen as a negative stage, but as an opportunity to rediscover ourselves, to enjoy simple pleasures and to dedicate time to what really matters. That is what I would like for my grandmother, mother, aunts… Thanks to the achievements in gender equality, today we can challenge all the prejudices that have been carried for generations.
Generational diversity is an invaluable wealth that often goes unnoticed in our society. However, it is essential to recognize the transformative potential of intergenerational dialogues. I want to encourage you to have meaningful conversations with people of different ages and life experiences. By opening ourselves to these interactions, we open ourselves to a world of mutual learning, understanding, and growth. The young can benefit from the wisdom and perspective of the older, while the older can be inspired and energized by the energy and passion of the younger generation. By breaking down generational barriers and sharing our stories, knowledge and dreams, we enrich each other and build bridges of understanding that transcend differences. Let’s seize the opportunity to connect, listen and learn from each other, to create a more inclusive, respectful and vibrant society for all ages.