Ageism, Part I: Hate Speech
The first part of a three part series examining how rising ageism, the only form of discrimination that we, as a society, still tolerate, leads to real and systemic harm.
This essay is the first part in a three part series on Ageism. Part II will be “Getting Fired.” Part III will be “Getting Hired.” I’m starting out with “Hate Speech” today, of all days, for reasons that will become clear below. Please let me know in the comments what types of specific pain points you have experienced, discrimination-wise, as you either age yourself or watch those you love age. Your experiences might, I hope, lead to a fourth part of this series.
All of my research and writing is self-funded. Please consider becoming a paid subscriber.
Last weekend, I made a dumb mistake. An honest mistake, but a dumb one nonetheless. I addressed my most recent tongue-in-cheek missive to millennials, when I should have addressed it to Zoomers: a generational cusp issue, with my words falling, by a hair, on the wrong side of it. For my crime, I was taken to task by the millennial police, starting with a woman on Twitter who blasted me out via quote tweet to her 41.9K followers, many of whom lined up behind her with their own
pitchforks keyboards to tell me how stupid I was. How out of it. How rude. How over-the-hill and ridiculous and old.
The word old, in fact, was repeated over and over and over again, less like mantra, more like invective.
I listened, admitted I was wrong to the original retweeter, who was reasonable and humane. We had a polite, even friendly back and forth. Then I edited my silly satire to address it to Zoomers in lieu of millennials and logged off to live out the rest of my day offline. I did laundry. Watered my plants. Wrote stuff. Took a walk. Went over to my friends Marjorie and Jon’s to eat a bowl of chili and watch the first quarter of a football game, the one with the unvaxxed quarterback. Which in the realm of dumb mistakes one can make in life seems waaaay more dumb than mine, but you wouldn’t know this by checking my Twitter mentions, which I should never have done during the commercial break. Let’s call this dumb mistake #2.
In fact, the discourse against me had now taken such an ugly turn, Marjorie grabbed my phone and helped me mute my replies. “There, problem solved,” she said. Eventually, I erased all of my original tweets, even the nice exchange with the millennial woman with the 41.9K followers. Somehow, the hate kept pouring in, and this firehose of vitriol was now painful to endure. While I’m not that old, I am old enough to know how to protect my mental health on social media: delete, block, delete, block, rinse, repeat.
In no particular order, here are some of the things millennials wrote to me in response to—and I need to emphasize this—satire:
“Shut up boomer.”
“Shut the fuck up grandma and take your metamucil.”
“Wrong generation grandma.”
“It’s Gen Z old person”
“people this removed from culture perhaps shouldn’t write about (checks bio)--culture”
“Facebook seems more your speed”
“enjoy this ratio. it’s golden” attached to a photo of a clenched cartoon fist, presumably ready to punch me.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Ladyparts to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.