Current Professional Issues

Sexageism

How absolutely ridiculous that comment is made about Hilary Clinton’s appearance in relation to whether she will run for president.  I found myself fuming as I read this article in the Sunday paper (Observer 10 06 12, page 15) and even more outraged that Barbara Ellen was suggesting that Ms Clinton needed to do something with her hair if she were to be taken seriously as a prospective world leader.  How many male leaders even have hair and what does it matter?  Having said that, it is assumed that Mr Berlusconi dyes his hair, perhaps that is why he hung as long as he did!

Which brings me to another article in the paper (Karen May, page 19); how older people in our society are increasingly experiencing anxieties in relation to their appearance.  Whilst it is very sad that anyone experiences such anxieties, are we really surprised that older people worry about the condition of their bodies and how they appear to others?  Do we think that older people don’t have feelings; that they don’t care?  This would imply that once you reach a certain age you stop worrying about things you’ve always worried about, or that it is the privilege of the young to worry about their looks.

Perhaps the reason this has made news is that it is a surprise to some that older people feel just like younger people do.  And we are not, as a society, used to considering how older people feel.  May be this makes it easier to treat older people less well than we should and why they are often marginalised in our society.

 

Helen Jackson Brown

Registered Social Worker