Ashton Applewhite Unravels Harmful Attitudes Toward Aging

“If younger women were friends with older women, they would see how coming into our own is a source of enormous power and satisfaction. If more of us were friends with younger women, we wouldn’t have this envy.”

Episode 04

As we continue our series on facing our fears, we introduce a fear that many of us may not talk about comfortably, but in reality, we are all facing; the fact that we are aging. In case this is something that moves you into a state of deep denial, or perhaps you are employing a world of efforts (including for profit products and practices) to stave off the inevitable progression, or even if you are just taking it all in stride, we all are subject to what the world at large has to say about it and—mostly–it’s not positive. A pervasive ageist attitude infiltrates the media we consume, our own friend groups, and even what we tell ourselves consciously and subconsciously about aging. We come by it naturally, though–with deeply ingrained stereotypes and discriminatory practices that extend everywhere from the workplace to the bedroom. Our guest this week shares how she went from being an apprehensive boomer to becoming a pro-aging radical as she dismantles myths and debunks the portrayal of older people as societal burdens; with years of research under her belt, she dreams of an aging-friendly world. Ashton Applewhite is the author of “This Chair Rocks–A Manifesto Against Ageism,” and she makes it her life’s work to expose ageist behavior, and educate us all as to how we can stop giving aging a bad rap. Jen and Ashton take an eye-opening look at ageism as a form of bias as unacceptable as any other, and give us actionable steps to ignite “age pride,” keeping in mind that aging is an integral part of our life journey, not a condition to be cured or concealed. If you’re fretfully staring down the next decade of life with fear and denial, consider the possibility that being stressed about aging actually can cause the very things we fear about aging. Ashton sums it up like this; “If you learn about aging, you will be less afraid. That knowledge and information is going to confer all kinds of protection about aging as well as you possibly can.”

 

Episode Transcript

Hi everybody. Jen Hatmaker here, your host of the For the Love podcast. Welcome to the show. We are in a series called Facing Your Fears. We just thought, you know what? New year, let’s face some fears. So this week, I am excited for you to hear this conversation. 

I think you’re going to love it because we’re up against a pretty common fear among women. Honestly, at this point in every age, we have a huge pool of misinformation and disinformation, and obviously, we are on the receiving end of a handful of billion-dollar industries to keep us just like this. We’re talking today about the fear of aging.

I turn 50 this year. It’s both a big number and I’m still just me. I turn 50 in August and I’m going to be more or less exactly like I am right now. It’s not this monumental, devastating milestone that a lot of people say that it is. It’s a pretty commonly known fact that as Americans, we 100% live in an aging society. 

What exactly is ageism? Well, our guest this week defines it like this; judging, stereotyping, and discriminating against people based on how old we think they are. Which can also be younger people. The ageism to young people is so insidious that I don’t think any single one of us is free of it. She told me every one of us has ageism essentially baked into our bones. There’s no other way around it. We come by it naturally. These are messages we’ve had in front of us since we were kids. You know, that aging bodies are bad. Older people are past their prime. We have a lot to fear and worry about. I feel like that’s one that I’m experiencing a lot right now. All these industries come in and tell us how to stop the tides. Here’s how you can not age here. Here’s how you can stay forever young. Here’s how you can stay forever relevant. I refuse to accept that we’re just stuck with this because I don’t think it’s true and neither does my guest. 

Today, we have author and activist Ashton Applewhite. She wrote a book called This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, and this has been her work for two decades. She goes deep into the roots of ageism, where it comes from, how and why it divides us, how it can cripple the way our brains and bodies function, just the idea of it. All the toxic tentacles reach everywhere from the workplace to the bedroom. It’s so interesting to hear her talk today. This is all based on tons of research that is encouraging. So whether aging isn’t even a blip on your radar or you wake up daily with the dread of it or somewhere in between, this conversation is enlightening and sobering and needed, and I’m so glad to bring it to the show today. So, without any further ado, please welcome Ashton Applewhite.

 

 


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE: 

 

This Chair Rocks by Ashton Applewhite

Let’s End Ageism –  Ashton’s TED Talk

Old School Anti-Ageism Clearing House

Yo, Is This Ageist – Ashton’s Blog

 

The For the Love Podcast is a production of Four Eyes Media,
presented by Audacy.

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