Ageism comes in all forms.
Young people don’t understand why the elderly can’t accept and conform, and the elderly don’t understand why young people can’t keep things simple and offline, etc. But there are many other facets of ageism and some of them are physical appearance. This is a personal view and experience of myself dealing with my physical appearance besides my body modifications, which is a whole other topic entirely.
So I’m 100 lbs and have been for over 10 years, 5′ 4″ and a size 6.5 shoe. These are my genes, nothing purposeful. Besides being teased by people that I know about being small, thin and short, I unfortunately hear it constantly from the rest of the world, too. Being asked for ID when necessary is the employee doing their job correctly, but having to hear their personal opinion on how young I look, or their surprise at my age compared to what they originally thought, is unnecessary since they obviously are implying that I look underage. I always thought that having my ID ready for inspection was a clear sign that I’m “used to it,” and am not trying to buy an R-rated movie ticket underage, not to mention my multiple visible tattoos (though apparently these days that doesn’t prove age to anyone anymore).
The point is, ageism is common and having to reply to it with “I get that a lot,” or “Ya I’m used to it,” isn’t something that anyone should have to say on a daily basis, and frankly it’s been getting on my nerves enough to write about. I’m now a 26 year-old woman who has been dealing with ageism since about 18, only because that’s when it started becoming a legal issue, when I was either buying smokes, alcohol, R-rated movie tickets, or trying to gain entrance to some concert venues.
Even in past relationships, my significant others would easily pin me down in a tickle fight, or pick me up against my will to sit in my spot, or tell me things like, “Your hands are so small compared to mine. They’re like baby hands.” Honestly, things like that are not only rude, but calling someone you’re dating child-like because of their size really creeps me out. I’ve held my tongue before, but were those people implying they were attracted to my child-like features? Did it make them feel superior picking me up over their shoulders so that I was helpless, even as a joke?
To my friends, I can be condescending with my retorts and tease them back, but to strangers, most of the time I either say the usual, “I get that a lot!” or just smile and say nothing at all, in which case they feel like I’m being rude apparently, and add, “You should take that as a compliment! I wish I looked that young at your age!”
Let me just say that I try to be a polite person, because not everyone is trying to put me down out of (obvious) jealousy, but maybe there needs to be someone to speak up for petite people and say “Fuck You!!!” to ageism.
Photo by Giuseppe Milo