20+ Examples of Age Privilege


In a previous article, I had written about how ageism against the elderly often gets left out of feminist conversation and dialogue.

But the truth is, ageism is still very prevalent, and those of us who are young often fail to realize the advantages we have being younger than age 65 (sometimes even younger).

The following is a list of age privileges shared by America’s youth (there’s definitely ageism against children and youth but that’s for another article.)

I hope this list makes us more aware of the stigma we place on the elderly and how we can be more mindful of how we treat the aging generation.

Please comment below if you have any additions or revisions to make!

1. Others don’t see you as a sexless being.

2. When speaking to you, others don’t assume you are hard of hearing and raise their voice.

3. Your age demographic is proportionately represented in TV shows and movies.

4. You’re not assumed to be technologically illiterate.

5. You’re not the punch line for jokes because of how old you are.

6. You’re not ascribed negative stereotypes like “geezer” and “old fart”.

7. You’re not ascribed positive stereotypes like “grandmotherly” and “golden oldie”, which are still harmful even though they’re positive.

8. People don’t automatically assume you’re slow or dim-witted.

9. People don’t overlook you for job opportunities or advancement because they assume you won’t “keep up” or “get with the times”.

10. People don’t assume you’re closed-minded or set in your ways.

11. Others don’t think that everyone your age is exactly alike and share the same interests.

12. Others don’t automatically dismiss what you have to say as boring.

13. If you wear stylish clothing, people don’t think it’s weird or abnormal.

14. If you are outgoing, funny, like to dance, speak your mind, or basically do anything besides golf or play cards, others don’t view it as strange or atypical for your age.

15. You’re not seen as physically weak or feeble.

16. Others don’t talk down to you, as if they’re admonishing a disobedient child.

17. You don’t have to worry about being the victim of elder abuse, the exploitation and mistreatment of older people by someone they trust or who cares for them.

18. Your consumer needs and purchasing power is not mostly ignored by advertisers.

19. Your overall appearance is considered culturally acceptable and is not ignored by the beauty/fashion/health industry (unless you don’t meet typical standards of beauty, like being thin and attractive).

20. You’re not automatically assigned to one of two classes: the poor retiree relying on government funds or the rich, well-traveled, independent aging citizen.

Do you have other examples of age privilege? Share below!

Shannon Ridgway is a Contributing Writer to Everyday Feminism from the great flyover state of South Dakota (the one with the monument of presidential heads). In her free time, Shannon enjoys reading, writing, jamming out to ’80s music and Zumba, and she will go to great lengths to find the perfect enchilada. Follow her on Twitter@sridgway1980.