There’s a meme I hated seven years ago but it keeps popping up, like whack a mole, and so here I am, complaining again about it.
Then the age in question was 74. Now it’s 63.
Here’s a link to the Instagram reel.
This reel came up in my social media newsfeed because lots of my friends liked it. And I get why they do. Women don’t have to age in the way that society expects us too.
I personally plan on defying a number of age related, gendered stereotypes in the years ahead.
Why can’t we just celebrate elderly women kicking aside our walkers and doing pull-ups from the ceiling?
The problem is, it’s complicated.
On the one hand, we want to encourage women to take control of our health destinies. We need to fight against the story that says older women are necessarily frail, fragile, and lacking in strength, mobility, and balance. Yes, women can do a lot to retain muscle and bone density with strength training. We can deadlift and do pull-ups at 40, at 50, and for some of us at 70, 80, and beyond.
On the other hand, I don’t want to encourage women to do this by depicting life with a cane or a walker as a lesser life. We have some control over our health but there’s also an awful amount of genetic and other luck involved. Walkers and canes aren’t necessarily bad things.
I’m using crutches right now as I recover from knee surgery
And I’ve been finding that some people are weird about crutches. The crutches enable me to walk further, to walk faster, I’m more stable but lots of people act like it’s the crutches that are holding me back. No, it’s the surgery and injury that are doing that. The crutches are an assistive device. They’re a help.
I hope both that I recover well and don’t need crutches for very long, and that if I do encounter an injury or a medical condition that has me using crutches, a cane, or a walker in the years ahead that I’ll feel okay about that too.
One thought on “This is what 63/74 looks like? Or, celebrating strength and mobility in old age without stigmatizing assistive devices”
Great commentary. I haven’t seen the video but it sounds disableist and ageist.