No group of people likes to be undervalued. The clarion call for diversity has ignored age to date. It’s time to change that. We’re a big chunk of the population with a lot to offer. It’s time to stop thinking “old can’t”. The tribe, age-less, has arrived. Age-less can.
Kieran Moore, chief executive officer of WPP AUNZ PR & GR, is a member and a supporter.
The Stable: What older people stereotypes have you experienced?
Kieran Moore: In an era of image-obsessed people, it’s no wonder that age is one of the last bastions of discrimination.
I remember chatting to someone from Getty Images a few years ago who was the global head of creative planning. Her role was to commission, curate and sell images of women of all ages, shapes, sizes and ethnicity. The role came about because of the women smiling at salads phenomena when women all around the world arched up at the healthy, happy specimens with beautiful smiles, clear skins and silken hair, who were used as stock images in global marketing and communication campaigns.
We all know that these images build and reinforce an image of women that is inauthentic, dated and false and that’s just for young women. Older women in Australia can be – unless we are vigilant – invisible. And, what’s astonishing about this is some men seem only too happy to make ageist comments. Just recently, French author, Yann Moix, French told Marie Claire that women over 50 are too old to love. What a moronic and superficial comment. The global backlash is as expected but will probably do little to change his point of view.
[Thank you, stuff.co.nz. Image by Getty Images]
The stereotype is that you aren’t fun, sexy, relevant or smart anymore. None of which is true.
TS: What are the most surprising things for you about being older?
KM: I genuinely do not care about what people think about me unless I care about them and or respect them; I lament what a wilful waste of talent and expertise is ignored by not embracing, hiring, promoting and voting for experienced women; I am impatient with the glacial pace of change.
TS: What are the difficult things about portraying older people in ads?
Age is not seen as beautiful. It’s seen as a walking, breathing example of what happens when you have fewer years ahead of you, than you have behind you.
Possibly because it reminds people of their immortality, and no one likes that.
It needs a radical reinvention.
I was thrilled with the calls for Carol Burnett and Julie Andrews (85 and 83 years old respectively) to host 2019 Oscars– it will never happen – but I love that it’s a thing. Maybe Netflix needs to launch an avalanche of older female leads in blockbuster series for there to be a change in my lifetime. But in the meantime, all we can do is call ageism for what it is – ignorance.