Posted on 12/04/2016

Ageism reigns supreme, both online and on our high streets


Just last week, the #elderlymovies Twitter hashtag, launched by popular American TV Show @Midnight, threw older people under a metaphorical bus, and it’s now come to light that ageism is just as prevalent offline, on our own high streets.

Ahead of the Queen’s 90th birthday next week, 33 year-old actress (and ex-soapstar) Roxanne Pallett, underwent four hours of make-up and prosthetics before taking to the UK high street as ‘Doris’…and enduring a “brutal experience”.

Roxanne young and old
Roxanne before and after. Photo:

“Punished because of my age”

Conducting the research on behalf of BBC Radio 5 live, Roxanne expected the social experiment to be fun and exciting. The reality, however, was much more harrowing.

“I was overlooked and I was ignored and I felt like I was punished because of my age. I only went through it for a few hours but it’s left me with a really heavy heart.”

The actress also commented how, as her usual younger self, she had experienced plenty of chivalrous acts from others but that this did not seem to extend to those who are older.

“One man barged into me when I was walking down the street, it was like I didn’t matter. I know for a fact when you’re younger you are not treated like that. I’ve experienced men help me with my suitcase and reach for things. There’s a lot of chivalry out there but it doesn’t seem to apply to older people and that’s not right and it’s not fair.”

Elderly stereotypes still reign supreme

Despite the fact our own Monarch is the picture of health as she approaches 90, and many of us know someone older who remains highly competent and independent, ageing is often painted in a negative light.

Just last week, a hashtag appeared on Twitter which encouraged users to change a popular film title to reflect an elderly attribute. The results came in swift and harsh, with #elderlymovies trending most of the day. It seemed those taking part couldn’t wait to throw some mud at those who were older and, more than likely, wiser than them:

Old age negative 7

Old age negative 15

Old age negative 14

Old age negative 13

Old age negative 10

Have you ever been judged or discriminated against because of your age? How do you think ageism should be tackled? Share your stories and ideas with us below and let’s start making a positive change towards how we view aging.

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