Something that has been bothering me more and more lately is the complete disregard for anyone’s feelings that middle aged people seem to have towards our generation at the moment. Recently I have had abused hurled at me left, right and centre, for no reason at all. I know I am a journalist and i should have a thick skin. Which I do have, but what I do not enjoy is being attacked by people that are older than me, just because they think they are wiser than me.
I have recently experienced this is many forms.
I was crossing the road in Cambridge the other day and I could not believe what happened to me. As I was crossing this lady on her bike nearly ran me over. Now if anyone knows Cambridge they know that this is a regular occurrence so no-one really bats an eyelid. However, this time as she nearly ran me over she called me ‘a stupid little bitch, and told me to fuck off’ as I politely returned the favour and told her to have a nice day, SHE GOT OFF HER BIKE, and came towards me. This is at 9am in the morning, with commuters watching. As she came towards me so continued to shout at me and call me names, and told me that I was a waste of oxygen?!? This is all because she nearly ran me over? She ran through a red light, and instead of apologising she came at me. At one point I did think she was going to start a fight with me, which I was ready for…
This lady was probably in her mid 40’s and thought that it was acceptable to talk to me in this way? Now I am pretty sure that if I was older, she wouldn’t have spoken to me that way, so why do people think that it is okay to do so? If it was the other way round and I was hurling this sort of abuse at her, i’m sure it would of been a very different story, and that people would of stopped to help her, so why is this happening to us?
The whole ‘you aren’t old enough to remember a time without phones’ or ‘you probably won’t understand what I am talking about’ is becoming more and more common and making people feel as if they have no worth.
So I decided to do some research. Surely I cannot be the only person who feels that they are being subjected to abuse just because I am young. I have always been one of the youngest in my year, and sometimes felt that some people believe I can’t keep up because of my age.
So I did a small poll on Twitter and here were the results.
The first question I asked was: Have you ever felt that someone has looked down on you because of your age?
Out of the 104 people that took my poll, 90% of them said yes. This means that I am not alone.
I was shocked to find out that so many people felt that professionally they were made to feel this way. It is understandable that when you start a new job you are expected to be the lowest of the low. And that is okay. But professionally I have been put in situations, especially in the past, where I have felt like a victim of ageism, and thought ‘If I wasn’t younger than you, you probably wouldn’t be treated like this. Now I am not saying that we shouldn’t listen to those more experienced and take their advice, of course we should. And we also shouldn’t feel like we are ‘too good’ to do a job, but what I am saying is there is a line. Which I am finding is being crossed a lot lately. Especially in the industry I am in there is a lot of ‘proving yourself’, which expected. Showing your employer that you can do whatever they throw at you. But if you are being exploited at work this is something different, and things needs to change. I am lucky enough that I now work in an environment where I am appreciated and valued, but I have worked in many places where respect hasn’t even been shown.
Yes! Especially in a professional sense!
— Rhianna 🌙🌚🍂 (@rhiannaoliviab) March 20, 2018
100% in a professional environment (I’m not sure if it’s the same in every industry but it’s definitely mainly older men in Marketing that do this from personal experience!!)
— Lauren 💫 (@itslaurensview) March 20, 2018
Certainly in a professional sense, the amount of times I had been overlooked because of my age…
— Summer Whittaker (@ladysummerpaige) March 20, 2018
I think was the case when I first went into my career, I got the jobs nobody else wanted to do, I was too scared to say no. Now I am appreciated within my role, it makes all the difference!
— Summer Whittaker (@ladysummerpaige) March 20, 2018
I then asked people whether or not they ever felt like people have treated you badly because you are younger than them and they think it is okay?
Out of the 33 people that voted, 91% of people said yes. So not only have people experienced the odd verbal patronisation, but they have also had people treat them differently because of their age? What happened to equality?
After this I was curious to see whether or not people had experienced this in other environments, not just professionally.
I asked: If you have experienced ageism, where have you experienced it?
yep, in a Mum sense and in a ‘oh she doesn’t own a house but can go to Starbucks’ sense
— Jenn PhotoJennic (@jennifrost) March 20, 2018
Are we being too sensitive?
I do sometimes understand why people of the older generation seem to think that we aren’t tough enough. ‘Snowflakes’ seem to be offended by the smallest of things sometimes, but do you know what, that is okay? We are all different and that is okay, however the misconception that we are all the same is barbaric and starting to really annoy me.
How to deal with it?
I have recently had to deal with this a lot, and have found some good coping methods. Firstly, if someone is rude to you simply say to them ‘please do not be rude to me’. Not only does this highlight the problem, it also usually embarrasses the person, and makes them realise how they are making you feel. As much as you want to tell them to fuck off, it will probably bite you back in the face, so don’t. Secondly, I show my worth. People that don’t believe I can do something and usually 100% wrong and it makes me want to show them more. Instead of sitting around sulking, get on with it and show them what you are made off.
If you are in meetings speak up about how you feel. Make good clear valid points and show them that you are willing to stand up for how you feel. A lot of the time, a younger persons perspective might actually be really helpful. Lastly, work together. If someone is making you feel worthless, say to them, ‘look what can I do to be better’. Show them that you are willing to not give up and you can take anything that is thrown at you (even if you really don’t believe you can). Fake it until you make it.
I hope this post actually outlines how important it is to not judge people because of their age. We are always taught to respect our elders, but what are we to do if they don’t respect us? #Timesup for people that think they can get away with treating people this way.
We are the future and you better watch out. Show em who’s boss.
Have you ever dealt with ageism? Comment below and let me know!