My friend has had a fall and is in hospital. The third friend this fortnight who suffered a serious fall. Are we all falls aware enough?
The trouble with living in London is that over the years we have made friends scattered all over the capital and the suburbs and keeping in contact in such cases is not always easy. Living locally becomes extremely important as we age and are less mobile and yet local facilities are being cut. A friend who is 92 used her local library on a regular basis. It has been shut and boarded. Although very active and still teaching music, she just cannot afford the tedious time and energy to visit another library in the borough.
I have been interviewed for a project about Third Wave Feminism. What do I think of their various activities? The Slut March, the Muff protest, the conferences. Some of the activities amuse me and in general I follow the others with no involvement. Six years ago, on a wet, cold, miserable winter evening I went to Trafalgar Square to join the Reclaim the Night March. I remember that I felt so pleased and relieved when I saw a banner saying 3rd. Wave feminism. I thought : ‘Great, they can take over now’. But now just as in the 80s, when the OlderFeministNetwork was formed, there does not seem to be an awareness of the existence of the older woman and the issues that she faces over three decades or more between retirement and death… For me to be feminist and political nowadays consists of raising these issues. I look at the representation of old women and try to get involved in campaigns affecting old people. It is so great when in a conference about some problems affecting the old, Dr. Helen Carr declares ‘I am a feminist’ and hear a declared feminist point of view. *
*Addressing equalities in older people’s social care. Dr Helen Carr Reader, Kent Law School Troubling women – the supreme court decision in Macdonald v Kensington and Chelsea
Have not blogged for a while. Must record the few incidents about aging.
It is interesting how the fact that I declare openly to everybody my interest in the representation of old women raises the consciousness of people I know . On episode 3 of Hustle (television programme on BBC1) Sheila Hancock performed a hilarious portrait of a ‘dirty old woman’ . A young man of my acquaintance was heard to say ” I wonder what Rina will think of it”. I did think It was outrageously funny. In yesterday’s episode 5 a physically repulsive old man requested in payment of a favour, ‘the same’ with the young woman. It turned out not to be about sex but a dance session. I find these small challenges to stereotypes so refreshingly funny
I spent 3 days in the company of 24 young men and women celebrating a 30th birthday in a far away place. I was the only old woman apart from the mother of the person in question. During a quiz game, I was in a team of 3 women and a man. None of us knew the others and it was an exercise to break the ice between us. When filling the quiz form the four members did not acknowledge my presence in any way, either by looking at me or making an effort to include me in the deliberations. I did not want to make my presence felt as I did not have a lot to contribute. But when I blurted out the answer I was very confident about, it was not heard until the man took the suggestion up. There was still no acknowledgement of my presence.
I had decided not to mention incidents that are not corroborated by somebody else. In this case this cold shouldering was noticed by the other old woman across the room. It is possible that young people do not know how to relate to old people. I am so obviously ‘old’ and ‘other’.
During this time I went visiting ruins on my own while the younger ones were engaged in strenuous activities. I avoid at all costs situations where people might feel that they need to ‘look after me’. I was very conscious then that in the last week, two of my friends fell and injured themselves badly. I walked very very carefully with my hiking stick, apprehensive as I was the only one on the site. I had to forego a little climb that I could have easily achieved and would have afforded me an exceptional view. Too cautious? Wise? Definitely Sad.