Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Age Badly Its good for you

As I still seethe over yesterday's comments to me regarding my endless joking about the Coronation Virus at my yoga studio, I realize I am definitely not finding my peaceful warrior place so I will take the month to quarantine from the place and see how I feel then. But it is not just that it is the endless patronizing and condescension I find from those around me and I know it is not because I am a snarky bitch, that should be reason alone to tread carefully, but because I am of a certain age and of a certain sex and I am not wearing purple or whatever widows weaves that the elderly should be wearing. I am no Housewife of New Jersey let alone any other community but I do dye my hair, keep myself up through Yoga and try to keep "au courant". For the terminally ignorant that means up-to-date, well informed. Right there might be the problem. For women to age we must do so gracefully and go quietly into that good night.

Funny I also read this today on BBC News: Being Grumpy and Bad Tempered makes you live longer. Explains Bernie Sanders right? But also Joe Biden, Donald Trump, and the rest of our angry white male culture. But hey what about being an "Angry Black Woman?" Again Oprah you may be sorry that you did not tap into that one.

I am old and if I was pregnant (miracle or god forbid either way it always seems Sky Daddy is involved there) I would be in the last trimester, only I am not in the equivalent of say 30 years left that was two decades ago, but I have I suspect 25 years or thereabouts left given my family genealogy. So bitches this one is going out strong and no not quietly but quite loudly.

I have NO friends, NO family, NO meaningful connections to society and NO meaningful work but I think the potential for writing is strong and I can use the old woman ticket to guilt people into reading a book or two but I also think I have lived life fully and continue to do so, so there are some stories left to tell.    I did not want my entrance into Jersey City to be a parallel to that of Nashville but yesterday's scolding was a reminder not of Nashville but of Seattle, the rich white alternative healing, liberal, safe space scolding and compliance culture that wants everyone to get along, to not have diversity or dissension but of homogeneity. Life is easier when everyone is different - just like you.

But add to that is the Millennial identification, safe spaces, faux sophistication masking ignorance and overwhelming desire to be liked which explains the growth of social media and how easy it was or is to manipulate and mindfuck the sheep. The second you put a label on yourself, Liberal, Conservative, Gay, Queer, Straight, Fluid, Man, Woman, Girl, Boy, Latinx or whatever current hyphenated name or some other marker that says I am a womyn, a "they" then you are really "it." How about: "Hi my name is Ralph." Yes even names cause grief and I simply changed mine and it worked who would thunk it. I don't make it easy for assholes and bitches so I get to the label first to circumvent  it but there will always be assholes/losers/bitches who will make fun of you because you told them you can. I told a young man yesterday who is expecting his first child and was telling me about having children and parenting which again is hilarious given that he has never been a parent before but okay and I have been with more children in my life than he could ever produce and actually have studied the subject to some considerable extent as an Educator I laughed and said all of that will go out the window when your son/daughter comes home from a play date or school and tells you that another child called "them" a name, a Spaz, Retard or whatever current moniker is the latest. All that wisdom and knowledge will go out the window and trigger warning will occur and you will see that only through your own eyes and how it felt when someone did that to you. It all falls away and then you go back to that response you were given as a child or to that place where you felt your most alone, your most afraid, your most angry and you better let that go as this is now an that was then so fuck then and live in the the now and look to this child and how they need to handle it the way that best suits them. And the way my Yoga Teacher spoke to me the other day was my trigger and I wanted to punch her a face and thought where is a gun as I need to pull this trigger.

My Mother and Father were of two schools of this: The sticks and stones variety and the other throw sticks and stones. I have always been the former over the latter and hence I got go real good with words. For me knowledge was power and power was in the ability to verbalize my rage in a vocabulary and manner that has not changed one iota over time. I get pissed but I go for the jugular with words. I watched the owner of the Yoga studios eyes bulge and the shame I saw in her face (it helps to read cues) and then I knew I was done and I walked out with the comment, "You don't know someone's narrative until you know them and they choose to share it otherwise all of it is unknown and you walk into that when you open the door to speak to me this way so I am done and I will see you in a month." For this idiot to tell me not to watch the news or be aware of the Covid Virus is stupid and of course it is not the news that is distressing it is the endless emails, the hysteria from all businesses telling me what they are doing to make me "safe."   Well I assumed that all along they should be cleaning and maintaining their business and telling me now they are makes me wonder what  WERE they doing? Really its your business and you don't need to tell me; However, you can ask any people who are sick, regardless of the type of illness, to not come to classes, and those businesses like Target remind customers that they do not need to worry about shopping as they have delivery is a service they always had so how is this email worthy.  Where is the simple  offer of assistance to those who need it by say - if you need child care here are places that provide it, advocate and pay for sick time, advocating for low or free medical care and testing and of course having wellness checks by other than the Police on those in the community identified as "at risk." You Celeste are not my friend as you don't even know where I live and even if you did I doubt you would swing by with a bowl of chicken soup so bitch you are my Yoga provider, teach the class, clean the joint and if you truly find my humor off putting hand me a check of my unused membership and refund it with a request to not come back. I would be fine with it. She owns the joint and has that right and guess what I respect that. I don't have to like you, respect you, be friends with you when you provide a service and if I don't like the service I leave and if I do I come back.  But that is also on the provider as they have the right to refuse service, it is a contract,  but if you don't like me then it makes it hard for who? Me.  Now  this is about me and my money and it is better spent elsewhere where they have less a problem with both. So we will see in a month.

The Governor of New York City or who I will now call big Daddy has called in the National Guard to do what exactly? Shoot the virus on site? Seriously I don't see this working out well and well again it goes to show that the educated elite seem to think they are immune as the Lawyer from New Rochelle was the one who transmitted it and traveled with it and hey clearly that cough was nothing right? As one man in the packed Subway elevator said when the door closed: "No one better cough for the next 20 seconds." I laughed my ass off once off. Sorry but it was funny. No Celeste would say no, its not.

I am WOMAN hear me roar and I am telling you to get the fuck out of my way. I am bored with you.



IN OUR PRIME
How Older Women Are Reinventing the Road Ahead
By Susan J. Douglas

Book Review|New York Times|Leslie Bennetts

In a country as hysterically age-phobic as the United States, where women in their 20s are so terrorized by our culture’s punitive response to the realities of the human life span that they succumb to regimens of “preventive Botox,” the title of Susan J. Douglas’s new book may elicit mixed reactions.

With a vast array of well-funded forces conspiring to make them feel eternally ashamed of their bodies, many women squander their hard-earned dollars on an endless array of products in a desperate quest to defeat time. For those who find comfort in wishful thinking and enough botulinum toxin to kill a mastodon, the idea that a 70-year-old is in her “prime” may seem like a consoling respite from the vicious cultural consensus that older women are repulsive, irrelevant and should be neither seen nor heard.

Other baby boomers — less enamored of the fraudulent promises of what Douglas witheringly describes as “aspirational aging” — readily admit that neither our knees nor our stamina are as sturdy as they used to be. Some of us even wonder why this is supposedly tragic. My own prime is a distant memory, but my later years find me happier, more financially secure and unexpectedly exhilarated by a sense of freedom I’ve never experienced before, so I have zero desire to turn back the clock.

Douglas’s subtitle is equally debatable, since her entire book makes a powerful case that our society consistently ignores and betrays the interests of older women — and that they have not yet mobilized in sufficient numbers to wield the clout they deserve.

But semantic quibbles seem trivial compared with the overall importance of “In Our Prime,” which is a clarion call for older women to “rip off the invisibility cloak” and reinvent the world they live in so it stops cheating them. Aside from the title, it’s hard to find anything here that a fair-minded reader could dispute — and also impossible to deny the political, economic and cultural potential of what Douglas describes as an incipient demographic revolution, albeit one that is “underappreciated” and “undercovered” to date.

Although the millennials are overtaking them, the nation’s 73 million boomers are still the largest cohort in America, where about one-third of the population is now 50 or over. Since the majority of older people are female, the demographic power of women in the second half of life is a sleeping giant that has only to be awakened to transform our society.

A University of Michigan communications professor whose previous books deconstructed the role of sexism in the idealization of motherhood as well as in the media and pop culture, Douglas devotes much of “In Our Prime” to documenting various forms of social tyranny that blight women’s lives, from the anti-aging industrial complex to the grim financial realities facing women, who are 80 percent more likely to spend their later years in poverty than men are.

In a chapter called “The War on Older Women,” Douglas details the ways in which the reactionary forces of conservative politics and ruthlessly unfettered capitalism have exacerbated women’s vulnerability by weakening the nation’s social safety net. “To justify this shrinkage of government services, the gospel of market fundamentalism glorifies individualism and individual responsibility as if they were sacraments,” Douglas observes. At every age, the victims are disproportionately female.

Whatever target she’s skewering, Douglas’s tone remains calm and sardonic; it’s easy to picture her as the witty but gimlet-eyed friend who sits at your kitchen table, listening sympathetically to your complaints while making rapier jabs at their patriarchal roots. The evidence she presents is as damning as her ultimate prescription is earnestly impassioned.

Douglas is an enthusiastic booster for the pioneering activism of the women’s movement, and another chapter, “Why the Seventies Mattered,” highlights the galvanizing role of crusaders like Maggie Kuhn, who founded the Gray Panthers after being forcibly retired at 65. The author believes that boomers ought to reassert their influence: “We once changed the world. Let’s do it again.”

That should, theoretically, be easier this time around. The feminists of the 1970s were an embattled minority, but American culture has since assimilated many of their values into the mainstream. “According to a 2016 Washington Post poll, 68 percent of women aged 50 to 64 and 58 percent of women over 65 identify as feminists,” Douglas reports.

The actual meaning of that word is much simpler than you would think from the toxic stew of ageism and sexism proffered by angry misogynists like Rush Limbaugh, who broadcast his contempt with epithets like “feminazi” and “slut.” Dictionaries define a feminist as someone who believes that women deserve social, political, legal and economic rights equal to those of men. In other words, a feminist is any person who is not a bigot, since bigots think some people are second-class citizens.

And yet such bigotry remains pervasive and systemic; the opponents of women’s rights often pay lip service to equality, but American culture remains deeply hostile to the idea that women are autonomous. Their most basic needs are routinely ignored by everyone from politicians, advertisers, the media and the entertainment industry to the older men on dating sites who won’t consider partners their own age. As one analysis of the data concluded, “Statistically speaking, a woman’s desirability peaks at the age of 21,” according to men.

Although this prejudice limits our romantic prospects, its economic toll is far more consequential. Women may still be raised to believe that salvation lies in finding Prince Charming, despite the fact that the old blueprint left many women stranded if their husbands died or divorced them. When my grandmother was born, women’s average life spans were half what they are now; these days many boomers have already celebrated their mothers’ 100th birthdays. The need for a cultural overhaul is obvious, but our society remains stubbornly invested in what Douglas describes as its “utterly ossified notions of what it means to be an older woman.”

Her solution is that women should embrace a “life-span feminism” that addresses the interests of the larger half of the human population “throughout the entire arc of a woman’s life.” We’re pathetically far from her prescribed utopia; Douglas admits that we still live in “a cultural and media environment that is, for the most part, either clueless about this transformation or does not wish to recognize it.”

Umm, that’s putting it mildly — unless “does not wish to recognize it” is synonymous with “wants to crush it like a bug.” But why is this the case? Whose interests might be served by limiting women’s freedom and access to resources? Let’s see, could it possibly be those of the men who guard their stranglehold on the levers of power and the spoils of plunder so

Come to think of it, men are curiously absent from Douglas’s book, which refrains from singling them out as a specific class of culprits. Instead of getting down and dirty with the ways in which men’s passive resistance combines with active aggression to reinforce a deeply damaging status quo, Douglas simply makes the indisputable case that women could change this sorry state of affairs if they work together to advance their common interests. Our to-do lists are long and onerous, but when it comes to prioritizing, there’s much to be said for changing the world so you don’t end up as a destitute bag lady picking through somebody else’s garbage for dinner.

Too many women still fail to recognize that they’re on their own in avoiding that fate. The rom-coms don’t tell you that Prince Charming rarely goes the distance; while 54 percent of men still have wives to take care of them at the age of 85 and beyond, only 16 percent of women that age have husbands. So it’s up to us to take care of ourselves — and it would help if the game weren’t rigged against us to such a diabolical extent.

Douglas has performed a valuable service in explaining why and how that should change

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