Ageism as is defined in Wikipedia as “stereotyping and/or discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of their age.” If you are an ageist, you are an individual that shuns or discriminates people because they have aged.
I remember having met an ageist. She was a frontliner checking the records before you take the swab test at Red Cross in Mandaluyong. She asked for my code that was emailed to me so I could take the swab test.
When she saw the fonts of my phone she laughed and said: “Grabe naman sa fonts, it’s so gigantic.” I just kept quiet because I felt she was not worth the energy for me to explain that when she reaches 40 she will have to increase her font size in her phone as well. But I was hurt with her comment. I also could have called the Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard “Dick” Gordon and filed a complaint since I am a Red Cross ambassadress but again, I did not want to spend excess energy on her. I have too many important things to do than expend my energy on her.
But sometimes you need to expend energy on these ageists for them to learn a lesson. Singer and actress Geneva Cruz willingly gave a lot of energy recently to an ageist who commented in her Instagram account and called her out flatly as “matanda” or old.
The Smokey Mountain singer who is only in her 40s commented back to her basher and asked her to be nice to people. She also explained herself in another post to her fans, “Napakadaling maging rude sa social media kasi hindi naman natin nakikita yung tao ng personal. We can even change our appearances and pretend to be someone else just for us to cause harm on others. Im 44 years old, but deep inside, I feel younger than those digits. Age is only a number. Life is too short to be remembered as rude and arrogant.”
The term ageist was coined in 1969 by Robert Neil Butler to describe discrimination against seniors, and patterned on sexism and racism. A senior citizen is someone who has attained the age of 60 years old. Unfortunately many millennials and Gen Z are so ageists nowadays they discriminate or throw comments to anyone who they think is not as young as them. This includes Gen X members who are in their 40s calling them “matanda”, “laos”, “mabagal”, “makupad” or “bingi” (old, has been, slowpoke, turtle-paced, deaf).
Good news is I got to talk to Geneva Cruz and she has announced that she is definitely back in the Philippines for good. “Honestly, I was only going to stay in the United States just to give birth to my daughter. But my son Heaven needed me for five more years so I stayed. But now that he is all grown up, I decided to take my daughter London back here. For now I am showing her all the beaches in the Philippines then afterwards I will go back to work.”