Posts Tagged With: Ageism

Day 2513: Looks can be deceiving.

Let’s look at the meaning of today’s title: “Looks can be deceiving.”

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—used to say that something can be very different from how it seems or appears to be
The restaurant doesn’t look very appealing, but looks can be deceiving/deceptive.

I think many things and people can be deceiving, especially these days.  I wish that those who are commenting on the deceiving people would focus less on their looks and more on their deeds. For example, I’m tired of hearing how

  • Rudy Giuliani looks like a ghoul or a vampire (even if these observations are appropriate to the season) and
  • Donald Trump looks like a cheeto or something else orange.

After all, looks can be deceiving.  I’m sure there are people out there looking like ghouls, vampires,  cheetos, or other odd-looking things who are honest, kind, and effective leaders.  Likewise, there are people out there who look great and are deceiving, manipulative, and scary.

So why do we focus so much on looks?

I looked online and found this 2009  New York Times article Yes, Looks Do Matter, which includes these words:

… many social scientists and others who study the science of stereotyping say there are reasons we quickly size people up based on how they look. Snap judgments about people are crucial to the way we function, they say — even when those judgments are very wrong.

On a very basic level, judging people by appearance means putting them quickly into impersonal categories, much like deciding whether an animal is a dog or a cat. “Stereotypes are seen as a necessary mechanism for making sense of information,” said David Amodio, an assistant professor of psychology at New York University. “If we look at a chair, we can categorize it quickly even though there are many different kinds of chairs out there.”

Eons ago, this capability was of life-and-death importance, and humans developed the ability to gauge other people within seconds.

Susan Fiske, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Princeton, said that traditionally, most stereotypes break down into two broad dimensions: whether a person appears to have malignant or benign intent and whether a person appears dangerous. “In ancestral times, it was important to stay away from people who looked angry and dominant,” she said.

Women are also subdivided into “traditionally attractive” women, who “don’t look dominant, have baby-faced features,” Professor Fiske said. “They’re not threatening.”

Indeed, attractiveness is one thing that can make stereotypes self-fulfilling and reinforcing. Attractive people are “credited with being socially skilled,” Professor Fiske said, and maybe they are, because “if you’re beautiful or handsome, people laugh at your jokes and interact with you in such a way that it’s easy to be socially skilled.”

“If you’re unattractive, it’s harder to get all that stuff because people don’t seek you out,” she said.

AGE plays a role in forging stereotypes, too, with older people traditionally seen as “harmless and useless,” Professor Fiske said. In fact, she said, research has shown that racial and ethnic stereotypes are easier to change over time than gender and age stereotypes, which are “particularly sticky.”

Since I’m an older woman, I have to work extra hard to prove that I am neither useless nor any other “particularly sticky” stereotype. I’m sure I’m not alone in needing to show that looks can be deceiving.

Let’s see if looks can be deceiving in any of my photos from yesterday.

Did you know that “Looks Can Be Deceiving” is on YouTube?

I’m not deceiving when I express my thanks to all who help me create these daily posts, including YOU.

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Day 2304: What do we value?

Today’s blog post, inspired by this photo …

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… might seem like a logical extension of yesterday’s post, if logic is something you value.

I also value this opportunity to explore what we value and devalue in our culture, including older people.  During the  last few months, I have

  • heard  and read many jokes about older people, focusing on lack of ability, attractiveness, and other things we value,
  • defended the benefits of growing older to  groups of  younger people expressing nothing but fear about aging,
  • been told by an otherwise culturally sensitive younger person that “people of my generation” think and act a certain way, and
  • experienced my own internalized ageism, as I struggle against devaluing myself for looking and growing older.

What do I value about my photos from yesterday?

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I value our home, so I took this photo yesterday of a water stain on the ceiling.  We want to watch that stain, so our home doesn’t decrease in value as we and our home age.

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My friend Jenn values pugs and I value Jenn, so I take pug-related photos and send them to her.

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I value cats, so I took this photo at the supermarket yesterday evening.  I also noticed a Life Magazine about Dogs and remarked to my valued boyfriend Michael that the Dogs Life Magazine cover did not promise a feature on “DOGS vs. CATS.”   Michael — who values dogs  and cats and who doesn’t value conflict — had nothing to say about that.

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I took this photo because I value expressing joy,  and I assumed I would be able to use that image  very soon.  Sure enough, people I value shared some good news within the hour and I sent that image in an email.

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I value great people and I value puns, so I knew I could use this in today’s blog post, no matter what the topic.

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I value myself and other people, even when we’re procrastinating.  As is usual for me during this time of the year, I am procrastinating completing my taxes, because I value doing almost anything else more.

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I value all the meals Michael makes for me, even leftovers, because they are so delicious!

I value this video I found on Youtube by searching for “what do we value ageism”:

… and this one:

 

What else do I value?  Your comments and expressing gratitude, here and now.

 

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 2244: Frustration

Yesterday, when I was experiencing some frustration, I noticed that somebody had chosen to express that feeling via the emotions chart on my office door.

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I wondered, “Who expressed that frustration?  Was it a patient or a staff person? Why are they feeling frustration?  Are they expressing that frustration to others?  Are they keeping the frustration to themselves?  Do they know they are not alone in feeling frustration?  How do they deal with frustration?” I felt some frustration that I did not know  — and probably would never know — the answers to my questions.

However, I can ask similar questions to you, my readers.

Are you feeling frustration these days?   Do you share your frustration or keep it to yourself?  How do you deal with frustration?

I am feeling frustration with our government, these days.  Am I alone in that frustration?

Also, people in therapy have been expressing frustration about their relationship with food, especially during and after the holidays. I suggest that people NOT beat themselves up about what they’re eating– that leads to greater frustration and more eating to comfort themselves.

In addition, last night at a Board meeting, some of us expressed frustration about ageism, and how people — even those who are sensitive in their use of language about other differences — make jokes about age all the time.  I remember feeling frustration about this when I was in Social Work graduate school, decades ago.  Of course, my frustration with this gets worse as I get older.

After the board meeting, one of the participants shared this video in an email:

Is anybody feeling frustration that I’m taking so long to share my other photos from yesterday?

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Are people feeling frustration about any of those photos?  I’ll explain the last one — I bought a gelato-filled Panettone for the board meeting.   Nobody expressed frustration about that.

Feel free to express frustration or any other feelings or thoughts in a comment, below.

Thanks to all who helped me create this “frustration” post and to you — of course!

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, politics | Tags: , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 149: To Tweet or Not to Tweet (is that the question?)

(This post is dedicated to my good friend, Newell.)

Like most people my age (I assume), I resist some new things.

Like most people (I assume), I resist some new things.

Resistance to new things is pretty common, isn’t it? I mean, it would make sense, that we would resist something unknown.

Change engenders both hope and fear. How could it not?

I’m not sure whether I’m any more resistant to new things now, than I was when I was younger.

I can’t remember!

That’s not exactly correct. I can remember a lot of things. I’m just not sure how to interpret all that data, regarding this particular question: Am I more resistant to change — now that I’m older — than I was before?

My guess, right now, is that I’m more resistant to change if I have some fears about the changes.

And the more secure I am in my competence and skills in adapting to change, the less fear I will have, and the less I will resist a change.

And, actually, dear reader, I’ve been thinking lately that the trend, for me, is to become MORE secure as I get older.

I confess: I like getting older. Whenever somebody asks me, what age would you like to be? I always answer, “This one.” I never name an earlier one.

This makes me feel weird, to tell you the truth. Because I hear so much noise, out there, regarding fear of aging. And I understand it. I do! Because the more we age, the closer to (the big D) we are.

(I didn’t want to freak people out, by using the D-word.)

But, for some reason, aging doesn’t make me feel closer to death, for the most part. (Ooops! I used the d-word.)

Actually, I know the reason. It’s because I was born with a heart “defect”, and I got that message loud and clear from people around me: You probably won’t live very long.

And about two years ago (when I was 58 years old), a doctor finally said to me, “You know what, Ann? I think you’re going to live as long as anybody else.”

So this unusual life of mine has given me several gifts (I assume):

  • I am often in the moment.
  • I am grateful for being alive (almost always, although I lose track of that sometimes)).
  • I enjoy aging.

Just so you don’t think my mind is filled with rainbows and unicorns, I will say this: I’m still afraid of death (although I’m working on that). And there are down sides to being as much in the moment as I am. (I have trouble planning ahead, for one.)

However, I do see My Unusual Life as bringing many more gifts than drawbacks.

Now, some of you, at this point, may be thinking:

What the hell is the deal with the title of this post? What does THIS have to do with Tweeting?

Good questions, astute readers!

Well, my intent when I started writing this was to discuss how I have resisted getting on Twitter, and to wonder whether this reflected (1) resistance to change, in general and (2) resistance to a (relatively) new-fangled technology, from me, an older person.

But, as Dr. Seuss said ….

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Thanks for reading, everybody.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

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