At 67 years old and (mostly) retired from advertising and "Hollywood," I read with interest "What Ails the Aging? Stereotyping, for One" in the Spring 2014 issue of B'nai B'rith Magazine.
Yes, there is discrimination in the workplace. But I believe good companies want to keep good workers. Retiring them only because of age doesn't make good sense. Usually there's another reason.
Like you, I'm sensitive to how we women are portrayed.
Context is important. If a Jew says, "You're acting like a Jew" to another Jew, it's different from if one or neither party is Jewish. Likewise with “I’m having a senior moment.” Seniors I know say this—with a smile—to each other (It's healthier than lighting up a cigarette!).
Much of what we see on TV is written and ruled by young men.
The young and middle aged have no clue what being a senior is like. Years ago, there was a TV commercial with this dialogue: "I've fallen and I can't get up." I didn't understand why the spot infuriated—and hurt—seniors I knew. Today, when I struggle to increase my bone density and avoid a fall—well, if I were to see that commercial today, I might cry.
We move slowly, because we don't want to fall. We forget, but so do the young. Grumpy? We hurt. Too trusting? We need help. Distrusting? We've been let down too many times by too many forces—including Medicare. Talk about our aches and pains? We need to talk, and sometimes, when we do, the listener gives us sound advice. Interested in romance and sex? Yes, but not in the way of a twenty or forty year old.
Given our large numbers, we should have our own cable and satellite TV channel. And broadcast our own awards show. The nearest resource to this that I know of is AARP. The organization is wonderful. But they can't do it all.
Images do matter. As a writer, I was taught if the villain is, say, a senior, I should balance him or her with at least one older mensch.
I watch very little TV, because I'm legally deaf. Reading is easier and more enjoyable.
Those of us who can't hear are—like the elderly—different from other stereotyped groups. While we may—or may not—be born with hearing loss, it's something that often comes or accelerates with growing older—whatever our race, religion, culture, and so on.
In 2013, the year I went on Medicare, I discovered I have Jewish blood. Through studying on my own, I learned my parents, of beloved memory, reared me with Jewish values, ethics and beliefs. I now identify as a Jew. Now that I have (mostly) retired, I have time to read the many great and wonderful Jewish books and periodicals written by gifted and caring individuals like you!
Lucy Taylor Chapman
I am one of the lucky ones! I am a Holocaust Survivor from Theresienstadt. I was born and raised in Denmark. I have lived in the U.S. for over 50 years.
I am sure you can imagine I read the article (“Denmark’s Jewish Museum: 400-plus years and counting,” Fall 2014) in B'nai B'rith Magazine with a great deal of interest. I may add that I visited the museum a few years ago.
I do, however, as a former inmate of Theresienstadt take exception with the following sentence:
“… and also for the hundreds who, for various reasons, stayed behind and were interned in the Theresienstadt concentration camp or killed.”
(1) I do not think any of us stayed behind on purpose. We lived in the middle of the country and were not warned. Most of the focus has been on the majority of Danish Jews (95%) who escaped to Sweden.
(2) We were prisoners; maybe the phrase "interned" covers that phrase.
(3) I am not aware of any Danish Jews who were killed. About 50 prisoners died in Theresienstadt mostly from starvation, including my father after less than six months, of various illnesses. A number of Danish Jews committed suicide rather than being taken by the Nazis; others drowned on the way to Sweden.
Please visit my website: www.steenmetzneverforget.com.
I have also published a book called A Danish Book in Theresienstadt.
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