Why Misogyny Is Not As Important As Ageism
Feminists are obviously quite insulted, and in denial, when I point out that their cause is inferior to that of fighting ageism; after all, when some devotes your entire time to studying inequality, learning that a worse form of inequality has passed right under their noses can be quite an insult to their intelligence. Insult is not my main goal — though, damn is it fun. I hope to educate, but something I believe the internet has come to term “butthurt” tends to get in the way.
The reason ageism is not noticeable, even to feminists, is because society has internalised it in an attempt to justify it, in the same way that misogyny was internalised, accepted and “justified” at the turn of the century. Nobody questioned the plight of women except women themselves, and nobody listened to those women anyway. Ageism is so accepted and internalised in our society that even I find myself having to remind myself not to do it; when I see someone young saying something stupid, I have to remind myself that “You’re young and don’t have enough life experience to understand” isn’t a valid argument.
If you want to experience what it was like to live as a woman before modern times, you simply have to imagine that you are an average teenager. Of course, some people will have been lucky enough to have had lovely parents, but the majority — and I mean that — will have experienced much of the following:
- It is assumed by adults that the opinions the young can be ignored simply by calling them a child, because popular belief is that children are stupid. I’m sure the majority of people can admit to having been told that how they feel or what they want doesn’t matter “because you’re a child”.
- It is believed that, because of this, teenagers are mentally incapable of understanding what sex is despite being fully capable of engaging in it.
- There is a voting age. This could only ever be justified if it were believes that teenagers were less capable than adults at understanding politics — I’d like to point towards the re-election of George Bush and the election of David Cameron as proof that being an adult doesn’t guarantee that you understand anything.
- In the majority of states — and not just the United States — it is legal to discipline a child with violence, and despite it having long been recognised that doing the same to a wife is immoral.
- And because this violence is legal and accepted, abused children often find it difficult to distinguish the line between discipline and abuse, and therefore do not report abuse because they would feel guilty if they reported what was “justifiable discipline” as child abuse.
- Whether they voice it or not, parents consider their children their property, as husbands once did their wives.
- The highest percentage of rape victims are children; if rape demonstrates misogyny then, by feminist logic, this must demonstrate ageism.
- Despite being scientifically proven not to exist, the “hormonal teenager” is popularly used to reinforce the ageist belief that ignoring the wants and emotional needs of teenagers is justifiable. This is exactly the same as the also disprove ”hysteria” that was once believed to effect women with the same symptoms as “hormonal teenagers” have.
- There is a separate minimum wage for those under 18 that is lower than everyone else, and those under 16 have no minimum wage at all. While this kind of discrimination is no longer acceptable based on gender, it is socially accepted when it is based on age because of the privileges assumption that all under 18s are able to live at home. This minimum wage difference is designed to counter-act ageism against job applicants by making younger workers cheaper, but all it achieves is shifting the blame away from corporations and onto the government, rather than actually addressing the problem.
Now, simply replace the words “child” and “teenager” with “woman” and you can see what I’m demonstrating here: that while feminists have managed to create a world in which the modern woman is considerably better of than she was a hundred years ago, the treatment of children is still very much Victorian, and wrong.
Of course, the primary criticism I will probably receive will be somewhere along the lines of “These things don’t happen”, but isn’t that the point? The fact that people genuinely believe that these situations are at all uncommon simply contributes to the problem. Just because something hasn’t happened to you or has gone unreported by others to you doesn’t mean it isn’t happening; it is simply, to use the feminist term, simply a sign of privileged ignorance. These things happen and they are not only incredibly upsetting to experience, but emotionally and psychologically damaging.
In the modern day, ageism is a far more viscous form of discrimination than sexism will ever be again, and yet it goes unaddressed. The reason for this is that while a woman will always be a woman, a child or a teenager will eventually grow up, and once they have grown older and overcome the setbacks of ageism, they will forget about the problem. And because no one is there to make a noise and point out that it is an issue, they will simply continue to repeat the cycle with their own children.