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You’re Not Getting Older…

category_bug_ageism.gif Politically, I’m not a Hillary Clinton fan and if this were not about age and gender and if my less attractive inclinations were not currently dormant, I’d probably laugh. But neither of those conditions is in play at the moment.

Not long ago, an AOL Journal blogger by the name of Charlie Eklund published this photo of Senator Clinton:

Hillary

Now if I were asked to characterize this photo, I would say that she is a well-put-together, older woman who looks her age sitting, perhaps, in a Senate hearing room listening to a speaker across the room who is compelling enough to distract the senator from her book. She looks serious, engaged and maybe a little dubious about what is being said. I think she’s a fine looking woman caught on film in an unguarded moment doing the work we citizens pay her for.

But no. Ol’ Charlie headlines the story, “You’re not getting older; you’re getting bet-“, and concludes below the photo, “...umm...well...ahem...forget I mentioned it.”

You can bet your booties that if it were the senator’s husband – a man of about the same age and appearance - in a similar photograph, ol’ Charlie would not consider such a comment. He wouldn’t even have noticed the photo.

This is ageism and sexism all at once, but wouldn’t be important on such an obscure little blog except that it is an example of the kind of bigotry that goes on every day, day in and day out, in publications large and small. And no one is ever called to account.

By accepting it without comment, prejudice is reinforced and continues to be acceptable. You might want to surf on over there and let ol' Charlie know what you think. [It appears that you need an AOL user ID and password to do so.]

Comments

Well, I won't bother registering to AOL to leave a message to that awful person. I read some of his posts, not only does he despise women and elders, he also despises the French, basically a bigot.
I googled Charlie Eklund, and wonder if he is the same person who they mention in Adventist Frontier Missions, in which case, I find his writings VERY unchristian.

There's something about the hairstyle which makes her face look older. A thirty-something look doesn't stop the wrinkles developing, in fact it provides a stark contrast to her neck. Where is the mature woman's role model? What do you aim at between youth and old age? I'm blowed if I know and I am 56.

Ronni, thank you so much for alerting us to this. Indeed, it is thanks to you that I am becoming more and more aware of how ageist people are.

Interesting thought about the looks of different hairstyles on individuals at different ages. I've long noticed a number of men and women with hairstyles unbecoming, IMHO, that are clearly those prevalent when they were much younger, but they still sport them. Some styles which likely once enhanced their facial contours, now accentuate their wrinkles, emphasize now drooping features, and their hair isn't really that attractive. Guess they're doin' their own thing and it still looks good to them, so I don't fret about it. Somebody out there probably thinks I should be presenting myself in a different way too, for all I know.

I did leave a comment for 'ol Charlie on the chance he might really care about the "isms," but I suspect that's his shtick and may be the only way he knows how to try and be funny. We all know he'll be aging sooner or later and will enjoy similar material directed at himself -- won't he?

I'll carry this just a wee bit further; Maybe ole Charlie's insecurities are what make him just a bit too quick to point out flaws in others.

So Hilary has wrinkles. What a small trade-off for everything else.

While I really and truly do thank you for keeping me awake and alert to ageism, Ronni, I wonder if I have become too acutely (cutely?) aware? See my latest post:
http://tamarika.typepad.com/mined_nuggets/2007/01/banned_by_webma.html

But then again, can we ever be *too* acutely aware?

I think she looks great in that photo, myself; but then, I'm five years older than her, and I'm a guy. What I really appreciate about her is that (aside from the hairdo) she appears to be aging naturally. If you want to see what unnatural looks like, wander the streets of Palm Springs, California for a few hours. It's downright scary what becomes of all that surgery over time. Natural is always more beautiful.

Women themselves play into this trap in other ways as well, though. I was watching the view the other day (First time I saw it. Promise. I had to see what Barbara said about The Donald), and after one of the hosts made some self-disparaging comments about how old she looked, the others all rushed to her defense, saying: No, no, no, you look young! You look very young! If you think the pressure on young women to stay thin is something to be reckoned with.....

Thanks for all the notice and all of the kind comments. Both are equally appreciated. Or something.

My wife, who is equidistant in age between Senator Clinton and myself (7 years older than I am, 7 years younger than Hillary)was quite amused by the accusations of ageism that has been directed my way. Ditto the accusations of sexism.

Indeed, if I were to find a photo of former-President Clinton that was as candid as this one is, or a similar photo of President Bush, I would also use that on my blog in a similar vein...rather, when discussing puffed-up politicos of every stripe, perhaps the proper word really is "vain". As in vanity, which is the balloon I sought to pop in my post regarding Mrs. Clinton.

To address M. Claude's remark; one does not need to be a bigot to dislike the French. One need only be observant.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: This sentence has been struck by the editor. Ethnic, religious, sexual or national bigotry is forbidden at Time Goes By no less than ageist language. Given Charlie Eklund's original post about Senator Clinton, I would expect no less from him than this hateful and puerile response to Claude. It is astonishing how many different kinds of people bigots can find to hate.]

And no, I am not the Adventist Charlie Eklund. I'm more of an Eight Days a Week type myself.

Regards and best wishes to all!

Mrs Charlie, I didn't expect any less from you

Je regret, Monsieur, that the meaning of your oblique remark escapes me.

Mrs. Charlie Eklund

I love this image of Hillary. She's clearly a woman who is powerful, intelligent and not afraid to live in her own skin. We need more like her.

That was a great post and picture of Hillary. I agree totally with what you said. When will we learn to see beauty in the mature face which by its nature has to have some sags or wrinkles and not praise only those who get stretched as tight as it will go or inject poison into their system with who knows what eventual consequence. Beauty isn't about looking young.

"Given Charlie Eklund's original post about Senator Clinton, I would expect no less from him than this hateful and puerile response to Claude. It is astonishing how many different kinds of people bigots can find to hate."

It's a rather amazing thing, the internet; in which a dry, wry and relaxed response to a previous post could be perceived by the astute editor as "hateful and puerile."

I think true bigots ultimately will be forced to answer for their actions to a higher power, as will those who whip-up hysteria and hatred where neither happen to exist.

I am vastly LESS offended by the editor's absurd attempts to paint the most generous man I know as a bigot than I am by his patently obvious gusto for the task.

Perhaps the editor should calm down and take a closer look at Charlie's largely satirical output before drawing ridiculous and damaging conclusions.

Blessed are the peacemakers, and all that.

Mrs. Charlie Eklund

Thanks for defending my honor, Suzanne, but there is no need. What Dickens' Mr. Bumble said about the law might also be said about others, in situations rather like this one.

Jokes like that about the French aren't seen as funny these days to those of us of French extraction. I don't find ones about any other ethnic group to be humorous either. Whether it's bigotry or just jumping on the bandwagon to attack one or another group and use cruel humor to do it, it's not funny to me and I think it's appropriate to call it out as being wrong.

Mr. Bumble was referring to the law supposing that he could control his wife. What are you trying to say?

Dear Rain,

Je suis enchantee de faire votre connaissance. I'm of French extraction myself but I take neither my lineage, nor my husband, too seriously. I suggest you do the same. Au revoir!

He obviously wants to rile people up so I wrote:

"Thanks for the great picture of Senator Clinton. You've done her a great service. Seeing her concern and dignity will help sway my vote in her direction."

Sadly, I think this loon is like so many others who use the Internet's anonymity to show off how poorly he/she was raised and how rude, crude, lude and ludicrous their behaviour can be and get away with it.

Posting a reply would simply amplify this person's feeling of self-worth while subjecting everyone else to it's vitriol.

People scream about putting controls onto the net, but if we wish free speech then we have to put up with idiots like him. Unfortunately.

Now, if I could figure out how to lob a molitov cocktail up his waazoo...

If Charlie's honest intent was satire toward Ms. Clinton -- he failed, despite his grasping effort to inject "vain" into the picture. For him to continue this defense is either naive or disingenuous. It is a perfect example of how insidious ageism and sexism, all the prejudices are, in our lives.

He has impaled himself with his own words toward, apparently, not just some, but ALL the people of France. That attitude might be perceived by some to be a bigoted one. By the same token, "A dry, wry, relaxed response" does not insure lack of bigotry or sexism.

Unfortunately there are those who are unable to recognize, or unwilling to acknowledge their behaviors as bigotry or sexist for the reasons you describe in this piece, Ronni.

It's infiltrated our language, which in some minds somehow makes it okay, and everyone just mindlessly accepts it, since, as you said, it "...goes on every day, day in and day out, in publications large and small. And no one is ever called to account."

"By accepting it without comment, prejudice is reinforced and continues to be acceptable."

I'm convinced that it's what we do that defines us, not how we look.

~spoken by a person who never would have rocked the world with her looks, even when a lot younger~

I doubt that Mrs Clinton wastes a whole lot of time worrying about how she looks without her political smile plastered all over her face. As Ronni said, she looks as if she is doing her job. How much more beautiful could that be?

Mr. & Mrs. Eklund , a very shallow couple that deserve each other. They have exposed themselves for all the world to see.

I wouldn't vote for anyone based on their looks, whether good, bad, old, young, or otherwise. But we live in an age where hanging on to a youthful image is a constant media message.

Mr. Eklund's worst offense is being clueless about what subjects are worth satirizing, and how to do satire properly.

One our most outspoken, straightforward Presidents, Harry Truman, said, "If you can't stand the heat, stay out
of the kitchen." and I think it would behoove the Eklunds to take his advice. Their responses are indicative of closed minds that disallow anyone from disagreeing with them. And the comments regarding Claude's nationality
were tacky and judgemental at best.

Back in October I wrote a piece on my blog in reference to the accusation by her Senate race opponent, John Spencer, that Ms. Clinton had work done. Hillary denied it and I think the picture Mr. Eklund posted confirms her denial. I like the picture even though I'm not one of her fans.

Why is it that prominent women's looks always are brought up in the press? Janet Reno's looks were often vilified during her tenure as Attorney General. John Spencer (who isn't going to give George Clooney any competition) called Hillary a dog.

My take is that Hillary is a United States Senator -- not a supermodel -- and therefore we should be concerned about her record and ideas not her appearance. The day I vote for a candidate because I think he/she is good-looking, I hope someone has the good sense to lock me in a closet until I come to my senses!


Right on the money from start to finish. When will it ever end. . .probably never.

Thanks for this post, Ronni. I coasted over at Rain's suggestion and I totally agree with you. You know, I'm not even going to go to that man's blog--I can tell already that he's an asshole. You go, Hillary!

Probably best to ignore him - he's had his Warhol moment!

Thank you Ronni. I very much enjoy your blog. I'm with those who care less about what candidates look like than what they'll do for the country.

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