“Words! Words! Words! I’m so sick of words!” *

Starting today, FOF women declare a ban on any company that uses the following words or phrases in its advertising or anywhere else.

Elder Plan I saw a TV commercial for a medical insurance plan with this name. Churches have elders. Not now, nor ever, will we think of ourselves as elders. Even if we live to be 100.

Seniors: This term is great for 4th year students in high school and college and when used in conjunction with words including vice president, fellow, and thesis.

Retirement: Even if we stop working, we’ll never be retired, or retiring.

Retirement Community: Am I allowed to do any work, like rake leaves, if I live here?

This is Iris Apfel. She is 88 and is one of the most influential designers in the world. She is not senior, elder or retired. She is FOF

Sun City Communities: How depressing does that sound?

AARP: It may want to be a powerful advocate of boomers, and it may be trying to change its image, but its name and logo are stuck in the Dark, Dark Ages.

Independent Living Facility: The word prison sounds more upbeat.

Mature Adults: Mature thinking, potatoes and peaches are fine. I’d rather be called immature.

Nursing Home: Ye gads. I hated this description 25 years ago. Someone has
to be clever enough to come up with something better.

When words, names and labels have unpleasant, negative,  off-putting or incorrect associations, they should be changed.

FOF women (and many men, too!) are different than any generation before us. We simply will not allow ourselves to be defined by terms other than what we are: Fabulous, passionate, smart, creative, accomplished, stylish, sharing, vibrant and driven.

We’re not dead after fifty. And anyone who thinks differently is just a dummy.

* Lyrics from Show Me-My Fair Lady.

6 Responses to ““Words! Words! Words! I’m so sick of words!” *”

  1. Rose Hall says:

    Okay, here’s a question for you. I curate a small privately owned non-profit museum. Most of our visitors are children under 15 or adults over 50. We offer discounted admission for children under 10 and “seniors”. I don’t maintain a cutoff age for the senior discount; I figure, if you feel like you fit the bill and you want to save a buck, great, if not, that’s three dollars please (still a steal, no?)! So….if the secretly ageist terms listed above are off the table, whats a good alternative? I mean, I agree with you whole-heartedly, but a lot of my visitors of a certain age would demand a discount, so I’ve got to call it something! Ideas?

    By the way, I encountered this post while image searching for Iris. God, she’s beyond amazing.

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    • Geri says:

      Hi Rose,

      Great question. Why not say “Over” 60 since you say “under 10”? And drop the word seniors.

      Geri

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  2. Geri says:

    Hi Toby,

    What a great point. Thank you.

    Geri

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  3. Toby Wollin says:

    The problem is that for our culture, you are either, as Golde Hawn’s character in First Wive’s Club says, “Babe, District Attorney, or Driving Miss Daisy”. We are probably the first generation of women where there is an extended period between ‘kids leave the house’ and ‘funeral home’. I remember my sixth grade teacher, in 1963, who we all swore had to have been at least 70 years old: she dressed old; she looked old, she walked old. I saw her when I graduated from college and she told me she’d just retired. She’d been in her mid-50s when I had her. Women in their 50s at that time WERE old. Not anymore.

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    • Geri says:

      Hi Toby,

      See my blog yesterday about my teacher, Miss Leo. You gave me the idea to mention her.

      Geri

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  4. Kirin says:

    Yup, you and Eliza have it right. They give me the creeps too.

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