One of the characteristics of situations of discrimination is that often those who suffer from it do not have the means necessary to denounce this injustice.
And it is that there are certain conditions in which one is not even able to organize in a sufficiently large and well managed number of people so that the voice of the victims is heard loud and clear, as well as their claims. One of the most obvious examples is age discrimination.. Let’s see what it is and how it is reflected in everyday life.
What is age discrimination?
In itself, age discrimination is a fairly straightforward concept, and its definition could be simply as follows: discrimination against the elderly, i.e., Those belonging to the fourth and third age. And just like with racism or sexism, there is a large population group that is removed from the most important decisions, so it seems that other generations have “colonized” their living environment.
In addition, age discrimination is a problem that occurs in virtually all cultures. While in Western countries aging people are not left to die without consuming community resources, it is true that older people continue to be subjected to clearly discriminatory measures and attitudes.
Examples of age discrimination in our everyday life
Below you can see some expressions of age discrimination that are so common that many are normal.
1. The lack of representation on television and in the cinema
Beyond politics, virtually all content shown on television or shown in cinemas has a clear lack of representation of older people. Either they appear very little, or they do not play an important role in what is explained. The reason is that in such image-based media, old age does not sell itself to be seen as unsightly.
Thus, the elderly have no referents and they don’t have numbers to make their own problems and situation visible.
2. Architectural obstacles
Another aspect that clearly discriminates against older people is the presence of architectural barriers, such as steep stairs or the lack of public transport in areas where walking is difficult.
3. Labor discrimination
One of the clearest examples of age discrimination is the discrimination suffered by many older people who want to work and have the ability to do well. The simple act of exceeding a certain age is a categorical refusal to be hired, or something that means it is difficult to get out of unemployment. More than it even affects people who have not yet reached the age of 60.
On the other hand, as the elderly often live more isolated than people of other age groups due to their lack of training in new technologies and problems related to architectural barriers, their political organization is complicated.
4. The stigma of sexuality among the elderly
This point is quite similar to the first, as it is based on an age-old consideration of what is aesthetic and what is unsightly. The nudity and privacy of the elderly is considered unsightly, And so his expression is socially admonished, either with clear rejection or with mockery. Old age is seen as a vital stage in which we have to worry about things other than sex; however, those who support it are still young or middle-aged people, who can enjoy the privilege of experiencing their sexuality openly.
Old age is seen as the equivalent of ignorance and an almost absolute lack of the ability to think. This is why, in practice, it is very common treat those who have entered old age as if they were children of a few years and were learning how the world works. This, of course, is another example of age discrimination that can happen simply through a well-meaning willingness to help others.
6. Control of their living conditions
Many older people are seen as incapable of making decisions for themselves and therefore depend on others to perform guidance tasks. In other words, that is to say age itself is used as an excuse to restrict their freedom.
Types of age discrimination
Discrimination on the basis of age is reflected both at the personal and institutional level.
discrimination based on personal age
It is made up of beliefs, attitudes and prejudices that in practice hurt older people. For example, the belief that older people should not be able to vote.
institutional age discrimination
It is a type of discrimination that is materially present in the objective aspects of the functioning of society. For example, in the policy of institutionalization in centers for the elderly, which can sometimes go against the will of the elderly, or in laws that put the unemployed elderly people in a situation of manifest vulnerability.