Friday, July 23, 2010

Youth Centric Culture

A few months back, a friend said she will die around 50, when her kids are self-sufficient. Many days later she said, whichever restaurant or outing place she and her friends go, "aunties" come there to spoil the fun. Not that these aunties interfered or disturbed. They just changed the happy atmosphere to "middle-aged". 
This is not uncommon. Many people in the world today, are stuck on this idea that youth has all the opportunities and hope, and as age deserts us, so do the perks. The aged are perceived as a liability, non-productive humans who can't have any fun or life. 
Take the film industry. Very few movies, all of the world have middle aged or old central characters. In India for example, the only three examples I can come up with are Baghban, Viruddh and Shararat.  None treat the ageing or old as ordinary, or allow them to represent some of the contemporary issues. For example, majority of the films, don't include the teen crisis or youngsters' issues. They cover a wide variety of topics. So why not the same for the oldies? We need movies with ageing main protagonists with old age issues. But above all, we need movies that are not obsessed with the old age of a character and explore different dimensions of her/his life and character. 
One person on my list had the following status. Some two dozen people liked it and only one disagreed:

“What I hate most in life are people who are not really the peach of the day but who want to be young and sexy.You can fool nobody.There isa moment when you have to accept that somebody else is younger andfresher and hotter.Life is not a beauty contest.” (Karl Lagerfeld) .  The above statement is very arrogant. We are all ageing and trying to discover what "acting our own age is like".

This idea that old age is hell, has perhaps been engrained in us through evolution. The young were self sufficient and could procreate. The old were just in the line of death. This is one of the reason menopausal women have such a low self- esteem, they are about to become non-reproductive.

I joined an upcoming literary magazine on Facebook. This is their introduction:
"The Missing Slate is not for aunties in their fifties, with all due respect to aunties and uncles in their fifties. It is meant to be a platform for creative expression of thought, speech and expression for a self aware, open-minded individual with the need to know what’s going on beyond simple fashion. It is, to put it simply, for the smart and discerning metropolitan."
We understand they are looking for fresh blood, but this is not a good way of putting it. First of all, it is they themselves who need to go beyond this "fashion" of discriminating the old. Somethings improve with age. As a professional you gain experienced, especially in arts, research based professions, science ( but of course you have to apply your mind and have a direction). Open any Forbes millionaire or billionaire list, most people would be old or middle aged. 

Many Hollywood actresses today, are enjoying a mid-life career. Things are changing but not as rapidly. We have to challenge this primitive mindset of ours, especially now that the life expectancy is increasing and many old people do not want retirement, but be productive. 


  1. About the movies not focusing on the 'fun', and normal aspects of old people, I agree with you. However, there are some good ones. Cheeni Kum was a pretty decent movie about an oldie romance. It was a comedy too!

  2. The magazine is just trying to give out a message that it's basically going to be a youth-oriented publication. I agree it's kind of a put off in some way, especially being the introductory line of the 'About' page of a publication. One day, the editors themselves will turn 50, so what'll they do? Leave working for the mag. Nope. You raised a good point but I side them in calling it something that's not for people in 50's. (with all due respect)

  3. u cn always specify the age group your magazine is meant for, but there is a way of putting things... u can say its for youngsters and hep. 1. few oldies take interest in youngish stuff. 2. if they do buy their mag, its profit for them not a loss. this is bad marketing i must say. 3. they are asking for creative writings and essays, usually such mags dnt hav an age limit.



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