The Heck With Growing Old Gracefully

Discussion
Feb 04, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Joan Bakewell, writing in The Guardian, said there’s an expression used in the UK to describe older women who try on younger women’s clothing. “Mutton dressed as lamb”
is a form of ridicule intended to deride older people into acting and dressing their age.


But, Ms. Bakewell, takes issue with this ageist form of thinking when so many in the UK find themselves in the 60+ demographic, with new members being added everyday.


She wishes, “The idea of old codgers facing a steady decline into disability and illness will have given way to the concept of old age as a time of benign pursuits and pleasures.
There will be a new generation of sprightly old people, many still working, plenty of them around and about, hell-bent on having a good time and being useful and vocal in their
communities. Looking young might start to seem rather naked and unformed, like those scurrying turtles newly hatched and hurtling clumsily down the beach to find maturity and
grace in the swelling oceans. We will come to give true value to the beauty of such older women as Doris Lessing, Nina Bawden and Baroness Warnock. Perhaps all these vats of gloopy
cream will be redundant and mutton will be, well and truly, back on the menu.”


Moderator’s Comment: How does ageism affect consumer marketing and retailing in the U.S.?
Is it counterproductive to the goals of marketers?


We can still remember the horror we felt when we were asked for the very first time, “Sir, may I help you?” We were 24 at the time and felt so old. Why
do we feel so young now that we’re coming up on 46?
George
Anderson – Moderator


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