Anchor Ashleigh Banfield became a victim of age shaming, in an argument where targeting her age was uncalled for. Benefield had criticised Babe.net for putting forward the unnamed photographer’s complex sexual encounter with Aziz Ansari. She called out the website and the reporter of the story, for endangering #MeToo movement.
However, the network for which Ashleigh works, approached the said reporter, Katie Way, to come on the show for a discussion. Katie not only declined the offer, but went ahead to condemn Ashleigh for digging into her 23-year-old source.
“The way your colleague Ashleigh (?), someone I’m certain no one under the age of 45 has ever heard of, by the way, ripped into my source directly was one of the lowest, most despicable things I’ve ever seen in my entire life.” Katie further wrote, “I hope the ~500 RTs on the single news write-up made that burgundy lipstick bad highlights second-wave feminist has-been feel really relevant for a little while.”
Call it a rant, which the reporter should have sat on, at least till the smoke stopped coming out of her nostrils and ears, or an intentional jibe.
Millennial women find it easier to resort to age shaming women from generation X, without giving it a second thought.
We millennials pride in calling ourselves the revolutionary flag bearers of feminism. We stand heads held high to endorse body positive image. But the moment someone comes forward to challenge our stance, we bear our fangs to spit out venom.
The pledge to stand by and appreciate each other goes for a toss. What better way to put down a woman than to call her outdated and irrelevant! Often we forget that ageing is not just trying to cover up the greys with highlights and hair colour. Ageing is not fretting over anti-wrinkle cream and uplifting body parts which seem to be in love with gravity. That is vanity.
Ageing is being proud of your life experiences and maturity. Women well past their youth no longer chooses to fret about the demise of flawless skin and figure. They do not get bummed out for not getting to live the life they use to in their youth.
They embrace their age and show how age is not a barrier in pursuit of professional or personal goals.
Life is becoming interesting again after forty for women now. They are pursuing their dreams of becoming actors, entrepreneurs, writers chefs, now that the household and worldly duties are done and dusted with. These women are choosing to travel alone and experience life on their own. The millennial women might sneer that they do not have age on their side, but generation X has the experience to back them.
Aging is a reality which can either be accepted or pushed at the back of the mind, till it comes out crashing on the body. It is the inevitable truth of living and breathing.
The millennials who mock generation X seem to forget this basic fact of life. What they call outdated and irrelevant today, is going to be their life’s story tomorrow.
Age shaming anyone irrespective of their gender, political or social stand, only reflects poorly on the one who resorts to it. Life will continue to be fabulous for generation X women, who don’t give two hoots about what young millennial women have to say about their choice of lipstick and hair colour.
Dr Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own