Editor’s Update: If anyone has any suggested topics for people to write about, please add them to the comments section.
One of the biggest biases I see reflected in the blogosphere is age bias. The blogosphere seems incredibly young at times. I notice the youngness of feminist blogs in particular—it seems like issues affecting older women are routinely ignored. In fact, I was inspired by this post over at Heart’s blog. She had several pictures of second wave feminists, and when I read it, I wondered how many of the women in these pictures are active in the blogosphere. Then, I wondered about the women one generation older than second wave feminists. I asked myself, how many of them are active in the blogosphere. I know these women are out there, but it seems to me that their views and experiences are marginalized on most feminist blogs. It seems to me that younger women like myself have a lot to learn from our older sisters; moreover, I think we can all benefit by focusing on issues that affect women through out the life course.Often feminists in my age group talk about issues like abortion, body image, marriage, child rearing, and birth control, focusing on how they affect women in their teen, 20s, and 30s. I suppose several of these issues are faced by women of all ages, but what we often fail to do is theorize about how these issues manifest themselves across the life course. Take this issue of work place discrimination; does work place discrimination affect older women in different ways than younger women?? I think so. One of the best examples is women being fired for aging. This problem is particularly acute at the television news anchor’s desk. Connecticut news anchor Janet Peckinpaugh (who was only 44) was fired as a news anchor. She subsequently won a multimillion dollar settlement in the case. However, what the CNN article on Peckinpaugh does not let you know is that CNN is also embroiled in their own age/gender discrimination suit. (You can read more here.).When men like Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, and many others get anchor positions well into their older years, many in the industry think women are washed up at 40. In my view, this is just one example of an area that we need to expand on in feminist blogs.
Of course, one of the primary reasons that older women are left out of the blogosphere is related to technology access and mastery. Younger people like myself have been using computers since childhood, but the internet seems daunting to some older women who have less experience with computers. I know there are older women participating in the discussions, but it would be nice to see more older women, especially women in their 60s and older, maintaining their own blogs.
So what issues would be discussed differently (or discussed more often) if older women had more say in the blogoshpere? I think there are several important issues facing older women that feminists bloggers should take up more actively. A few that come immediately to my mind are–the social security crisis, life after widowhood, the erosion of anti-poverty programs, gender/age discrimination and bias in the health care system, and grandmothers raising their grandchildren. In order to promote some of the issues that older women are dealing with I am asking other feminist bloggers to post at least one post within the next week (not matter how brief) on some of the issues facing older women. I will be choosing one of the subjects mentioned above, and I will post on it later in the week. If you would like to participate in this project, feel free to use the comments section below to put up a link to your post. I’ll be back later in the week with my post.