Suzanne Lacy’s project at the Tate Modern. Went to one of the 10 workshops in preparation for the performance event tomorrow. I am so downhearted.
The open call to participate was titled “Grey Hair Action”. We were told yesterday that Lacy had to bow to the Tate marketing department and the later publicity and news called the project ‘Silver Action’. I consider this as a blatant example of ageism. In a brief discussion with a couple of women I was told that silver has positive connotations: quick silver, sparkle etc… I disagree. Do we have to be ashamed of our white hair in an event supposed to be a celebration of old age ?
I had hoped that in the workshop we would discuss ageing: our contribution to society in general, our activities and experiences as old women how our ageing affect our lives. I thought the issues of the double jeopardy of ageism and sexism in the media and our invisibility would be raised. I thought that the issue of the crises in care and the cuts would be raised. They may have been talked about in the other workshops. I hope they were.
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.