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End Ageism Through Intergenerational Integration, Not Insults


“Women in their 20s don’t have a patch on women in their 50s.”


“Older women could teach younger ladies a thing or two on style.” 


“Those in their 20s only know fashion. Those over 40 know style.”


Of course, Ageism Is Never In Style is obviously all for celebrating style and proving that beauty and elegance is not defined by age. But is not the way to do it.

We get it. These phrases are meant to be empowering. They’re putting two fingers up to society’s unfair and insulting obsession with youth and those awful articles that continue to only celebrate younger women and criticise older ones. But as with dealing with any bully – the answer is not to stoop to their level.

The solution to knocking down the walls of ageism does not lie in pulling down others in the process. 

After all, what does ‘ageism’ actually mean? 

Ageism: Prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person’s age.



ageism is never in style definition


In other words, ageism doesn’t just apply to those who are older. You can be confronted by its ugly face at any point through your life. So these phrases, that claim to be supporting older women, are ageist in themselves.

Age-prejudice thrives off stereotypes, misunderstandings, and lack of interest. So the antidote to women over 50 being constantly and wrongly pigeon holed, isn’t to do it to younger women instead. That just shifts the prejudice rather than resolving it.

If we really want to end ageism once and for all, the solution is in mutual acceptance, appreciation and integration. In the case of style; there are some beautifully stylish women in their 20s, as there are in their 60s. Style does develop and evolve over time. But that doesn’t mean you have more of it at one point than another – it’s just different.

Whatever stage of life we’re at, we can admire those who we’ve been in the past; who mirror us in the present; and those who reflect our future. Ageing is something none of us can avoid, so let’s experience it together.

And the biological life cycle aside, we actually have a lot more in common in attitude across the age groups than we might realise. According to the Age of No Retirement, 83% of people between 20 – 80+ feel like they are not like everyone else in their age group. In other words, very few of us feel we fit the stereotypes we are encouraged to believe. And equally 83% want to mix with people of different ages and generations. So if we want it, let’s do it!
We’re not saying that everything should be age neutral; if we move towards age neutral branding, products and advertising, then we still risk marginalising sectors of society. It’s like saying a garment is one size fits all – it may fit a lot of people, but it most certainly won’t fit everyone.

But it’s clear that generations are increasingly similar. We do think in similar ways, as well as having differences that inevitably come with life experiences, body changes, lifestyles and new priorities. So if we want to end ageism and reach a point of equality, the answer is in championing and respecting these similarities and differences – not the opposite.

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