“The years teach much which the days never knew.”

by matttbastard

Because it bears repeating:

After turning 50 in September, I became somewhat obsessed with the age of bloggers. I discovered I could find a lot of male bloggers in the 50-and-older category. But where are the women?

I know, there are a few. And I am not talking about Arianna Huffington, who is 57 and a billionaire (and therefore looks 25), but about us ordinary bloggers, such as Raven, Jackie, Risa, JJ, Marion, Maitri and Shadocat. I try to find them and link them on my blog… they are like precious jewels.

I have wondered if the hyperventilating over WOMEN’S AGE might be the cause of this phenomenon; we might call it The Botox Effect. We cover up the “lines” in our writing, as we try to cover the lines in our face. We minimize that which makes us seem old. If there is something new we don’t understand, such as contemporary slang, we don’t dare ask for clarification and thereby give ourselves away. Perhaps, then, there are more of us than I realize? Many women pointedly do not provide their ages on their blogs, while men usually do; a silly, sexist and archaic cultural habit.

At times when I write about nostalgia, as I enjoy doing, I get replies from isolated people (who will not comment publicly, it is worth noting) thanking me for publicly remembering something that they agree needs recounting. But they say it in hushed, secretive emails, as if I have said something dirty out loud. THE PAST IS OLD, and therefore, not a good thing. NEW is good, new is revolutionary, new is a product that has been improved, reformulated, with all kinds of good shit added to it to make it a rockem-sockem, highly-evolved and BETTER thing… better car, better house, better suburb, better dishwashing liquid.

Various cultures throughout the world once prized the old, as those who had knowledge and wisdom. As American imperialism runs roughshod all over the world and into every nook and cranny of the globe, we see all that is old is shunned and shunted aside. Hatred of what is old is now invading hearts and minds and cultures everywhere. Universally, the belief that old age equals wisdom is fast disintegrating. NEW NEW NEW shall reign. The old is hidden or eliminated, and that includes old people.

On certain progressive blogs, when I try to comment about what we expected or thought in the past, it’s a sure way to get beat up and left for dead. Yes, I am told, that just proves how fucked up everything was back then. Nietzsche’s Last Man of History knows everything that has ever happened, and there is no end to derision.

The very idea that we may know something is laughed at. And yet writing “teh” is not considered laughable, for some reason. I guess because it’s a “young” thing to do.

Much love and respect for all ‘old woman’ bloggers.

Update: More from Octogalore on the largely overlooked intersection between anti-ageism and feminism:

In this election, the “isms” discussed have been racism and sexism. However, ageism has been a key aspect of the sexism directed towards Clinton.

For example, the nutcracker. Women who are attractive (as Clinton is, I think) but also young don’t get called ballbusters.

Secondly, as demonstrated by Melissa McEwan, here, reporters glory in pointing out age on a female candidate. Of course, Reagan and other octogenarians came in for comments about age, but these have typically been more in the context of fitness for service as president. As a 60-year-old woman in good shape, that’s not the concern Drudge had about Clinton. And kudos to McEwan for pointing it out.

Also, we’ve heard the “just not this one” comment about a female president who’s anyone but Hillary? Many of the folks saying this, like Fred Thompson here, are thinking women are OK, even maybe as president, if they’re young and cute. Or anyway, he suggests his daughter as a future candidate, which apparently was met by supportive cheers. Sure, it’s [fine] to think of women in power, if they are young and cute.

Only a 60-year-old FEMALE candidate would be referred to as “aging and resentful.” (h/t Violet Socks)

Finally, think about how often you hear certain words applied to young women. “Shrill,” for example. Not often. But we rarely call that what it is.

So let’s do that. Let’s call it out. And let’s talk about how it fits into feminism.

Update 2: More from Daisy. Go show her some love.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

10 thoughts on ““The years teach much which the days never knew.”

  1. That’s sweet of you to post that, mattt. And it probably has absolutely nothing to do with your plan to meet up with a couple of old women bloggers sometime soon. . . ;)

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  2. I must admit that was on my mind, along with some other issues relating to gender and age discrimination. Hopefully I’ll soon have a new post from Daisy to link that will explain things further…

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  3. I turned 50 in September too, mattt …and I’m a female blogger! Woo – LOVE your work …

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  4. Oh YEAH

    from a crone feminist who will be 56 on May 26.

    CELEBRATE experience and a few wrinkles. Well, maybe more than a few …

    Thanks mattt. I’ll be checking out all the senior staff around here.

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  5. i still fall into the young category, but i’m soon to be in the “invisible” 30s (too old to be “hot”, too young to be “wise”). i want to stand up and say that i would be thrilled to see more women of all ages claiming whatever those happen to be. i agree that our culture celebrates youth to a disturbing degree, but it also denigrates youth by focusing only on the physical. i was always the smart kid, not ugly, but certainly not pretty. as i grew into myself though, i’ve been told more often that i’m in the “attractive” category. while this is nice and all, it also means that, more often than not, people are genuinely surprised to find out how hard my brain works. i want to find a place where i’m judged purely on the words i use and the actions i take. i want to find that place in time and space for my friends, my future children, and for all the women (and men) who have fought to get us this far.

    thanks for writing this and re-posting it, matt and daisy. it’s much-needed lately.

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