Ashton Applewhite: On Ageism

It was such a pleasure to speak with Ashton Applewhite on this important topic – her passion for leading this emerging movement to raise awareness of Ageism and how to dismantle it is fascinating, and we can all learn from, and participate in spreading this awareness.

Ashton is the author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, and is a leading spokesperson for the emerging movement to raise awareness of ageism and to dismantle it. Ashton has been recognized by the New York Times, the New Yorker, National Public Radio, and the American Society on Aging as an expert on ageism. She blogs at This Chair Rocks and is the voice of Yo, Is This Ageist?  Ashton speaks widely at venues that have ranged from the United Nations to the TED mainstage, has written for Harper’s, the Guardian, and the New York Times, and is a co-founder of the Old School Anti-Ageism Clearinghouse.

You can find Ashton here:


Key takeaway’s:

  1. Ageism is the discrimination and stereotyping on the basis of age. It is a set of ideas and social practices and the notion of making any kind of generalization about a person or a group of people on the basis of how old you think they are. 
  2. There are so many surprising facts about ageism, such as that the percentage of Americans in nursing homes is down from 4% to less than 2%, and that dementia rates are dropping, and that the longer people live the less they fear dying .
  3. You don’t have to envision your purpose in its entirety. So many things start small.  We create the path by walking it. Ask yourself,  what do you want to do tomorrow?
  4. When someone says they are too old, they might be too scared, they might be too poor, they might be so many other things…but it is never about age.
  5. Both sexism and ageism pervade all aspects of our culture, as with race as with gender. 
  6.  As long as we are measuring how we look relative to other women on the age spectrum,  we are supporting structures that are destructive to us collectively
  7. One reason midlife is so difficult is because of the conventional narrative that says, “if you think its bad now – its all going to really suck!” That is pure ageism! 

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