Recently an article has been causing quite a stir on the internet. The article was from The Times in the UK and had the headline “Housing shake-up will offer over-55s help with downsizing”. It wasn’t the headline or the story that bothered many it was the fact that they used a woman well over 55.
As someone who just hit 51 this is not the stock photo for over 55s I wish to see. Chosen by a 30 yr old no doubt pic.twitter.com/BnXe6pmG6E
— Shelagh Fogarty (@ShelaghFogarty) February 6, 2017
@ShelaghFogarty I'm 73 next month and even I look younger!
— adele geras (@adelegeras) February 6, 2017
So we decided to take the topic to the Starts at 60 community and find out what they thought of the image and of the media’s representation of the over 60s as a whole.
Susan said to us, “I don’t look as old as her and I’m 75, I still have my own hair colour and hardly any deep wrinkles when I tell people they look surprised”. Adding some credibility that the media might be slightly out of touch with what real people look like Susan shared, “A few years ago, my younger sister (two years younger) who is a photography model was sent by her agency for a job for someone over fifty, and she was rejected because she didn’t look old enough.”
Community member Robyn is even more optimistic saying, “I think the portrayal of older citizens is changing, and for the better. I think older citizens themselves are changing and for the better. Like every other demographic, there are good bad and ugly in each band. If I don’t fit the stereotype then so be it. I don’t think I’ve every much conformed to stereotype, especially one thought up by some bloke in an advertising firm.”
Karen loved the way the woman looked in the photo saying “it shows a beautiful woman with a face that tells the story of a life. What I don’t like is that this image portrays 55. I’ve just had lunch with 5 women over 55, and not one of us looks like this lady.”
John stated, “I see the photo, I read ‘over 55’, and I accept it for what it is – perhaps because I’m 21 years ‘over 55’ myself.” A great pointed backed up by Cliff who asked, “What’s the problem? Is she not over 50?”
With all the talk of what does an “elderly” person look like I think Dee summed it up the best when she stated, “My definition of ‘elderly’?” Answering, “10 years older than I am now!”