“Old” School: Let’s Dismantle Ageism

image of a vintage radio sitting on a vintage chair

A Review and Conversation Between Two Networks’ Staff

Recently, one of our staff came across the Old School: Let’s Dismantle Ageism training and presented it to Networks. The entire team went through the training and this conversation is meant as a review of that process and the training itself as well as Networks’ Staff reactions to the training. All links are shared at the end of the post.

Networks’ took on an ageism training from the site Old School: Let’s Dismantle Ageism. They had a lot of really great resources available to do the training yourself. We chose to use the slide deck and the script and personalized it for our team. We also started the training by first watching Ashton Applewhite’s TED Talk on Let’s End Ageism. It was a really great training and really made us think about what ageism meant to us, are we ageist, and is society ageist. I think some opinions changed after that conversation we had.

I agree.

Nikita, you had said something during the training about media being ageist. Could you elaborate?

Sure. I definitely think the media is ageist. Fairy tales, advertising, even our culture seems to be very fearful of aging and is communicated that way. Everything you see is about stopping aging or is presenting older people as weak or evil.

What really struck me is that folks who are older make ageist comments about themselves. ‘I don’t think I can do that, I’m too old.’ ‘I’m too old to wear that.’ Since that training, I’ve been trying to stop myself in my tracks with that and sometimes I’m successful and sometimes I’m not. Usually when I’m not, it’s ‘I’m too old to physically do that’ and then I try it and find out that I really can’t do it, but that may be more to do with being out of shape than being old.

I agree. Even people my age—in their 30s—say things like that. Being in your 30s is not that old, but people still say it. Who says you’re too old to do this thing? Where does it come from and how can we stop it? You can do whatever you want!

It’s imbedded in our culture and in ourselves when we’re growing up. It doesn’t have to be this way. It will help open doors for a lot of people—of all ages—in their day to day life, relationships, or work. What do you think our team’s responses were to the training?

I think it opened their eyes in ways that they may have perpetuated ageism unintentionally and the internalized ageism that’s there. We had some interesting debates on what people think are ageist or not as well.

Overall, I think everyone felt it was a good training and it would be great to pass on to other organizations to give it a go and challenge themselves. It’s an easy process and they gave you a lot of resources to utilize. The training itself is a little under an hour long and then we added the TED talk to the beginning of it as well.