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Welcome to Ageism Hurts was created as a forum to stimulate awareness, thought and discussion about ageism. Whether a person is five or ninety-five, there is much to be gained by combating ageism. was released on April 25, 2011. In the coming months, more functionality will be added to the site, such as a forums section. We will also be actively seeking contributors from the fields of academia, business, medicine, marketing and policy development. Because the site is very new and will be undergoing enhancements in the coming months, you are encouraged to subscribe to remain informed - simply click the "Subscribe" link above the "Main Menu" on the left.

One of the first challenges of fighting ageism is to get people to acknowledge that it exists at all. Although the word "ageism" was first coined by Dr. Robert Butler in 1969, many people are not even familiar with the term, much less aware that ageism operates cunningly at every level of social structure.


NBC's Parks and Recreation's Take on a 62 Year Old

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Parks and Recreation is ordinarily a pretty wholesome show. Its humor can be somewhat biting - such as how Jerry gets treated - but overall it generally comes across as good, clean fun. In first season finale episode, entitled "Rock Show" the main character, Leslie Knope, is set up on a blind date with a 62 year old city manager of a neighboring town. Leslie thinks the dinner is a business meeting and only discovers partway through that George believes it is a date. Click the link below to watch clips from the show and see if anything jumps out as ageist...

Link to Parks and Recreation Ageist Clip


Here's an image still of the clip:

Image still from NBC's


What Is Ageism?

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Ageism is the stereotyping or discrimination of a person or group of people because of their age.

Defining Ageism

Since the inception of the term (Butler, 1969), the concept of ageism has been applied to a myriad of contexts, which can be looked at broadly and narrowly, depending on the concern (Bytheway, 2005). Butler’s general definition of ageism references it as stereotyping and discriminating specifically against the old (Butler, 1995). The Gray Panthers’ founder, Maggie Kuhn, envisioned the concept of ageism as an opportunity for both older adults and youth to bond over a common concern. Her definition included both ends of the age spectrum, proposing that a young person can be discriminated against because of their age in the same way as an older person (Bytheway, 2005).


Elderly Animals as Reflection of the Meaning of Aging

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An American photographer has taken on a compelling subject. Isa Leshko has been shooting a series of photographs of elderly animals located in sanctuaries across America. The series was inspired by Leshko's experience care taking for her mother, who had Alzheimer's:

Leshko, who lives in Houston, Texas, started the series after a year spent caring for her mother, an Alzheimer's sufferer, in New Jersey. It offered her an oblique way of dealing with her grief, but the project also allowed the photographer to "challenge commonly held assumptions about… animals in their later years" and "raise questions about what it means to be elderly".

You can read more about this beautiful subject matter at the Guardian.



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