I shall be a spoil sport. The women I talked to at the Tate, a lot of the tweets, declare that it was a wonderful event. Well I think it was a disappointing mess of an event. Although wonderfully organised it did not to my mind achieve anything either at the workshop (see previous post on this blog but specially the comments) or on the day.
I have been an old woman activist against ageism for the last 18 years. What I have experienced is that ageism permeates our language, culture and our consciousness.
Let us start with the title of Lacy’s project. If you Google ‘silver action’ you get a Turkish football site. Why did Lacy change her original title from ‘grey hair action’? Also the word ageism did not feature in this event.
As I detailed in my previous post on this blog the workshop I attended was not conducive to talk about our present. In real life old women are invisible. More than their physical presence, it is what they do with their time, working or after retiring and/or raising a family that is absent from public life. It is their experience of advancing age with all its liberation and difficulties that are not talked about. It was symbolic that the timeline on the wall extended from 1945 to 2000. There was not enough room for the 27 women present to post their activities after 2000. The age range being 60+ it would have been extremely interesting.
On the day of the event the intimate encounter of 4 women was of course interesting as women encounters always are. We could have talked for much longer but the time available was very limiting. Also we were unaware of the space around us and the different activities that were happening. Did I feel manipulated? Not really but I felt that this part of the event was redundant for me. I belong to the Older Feminist Network, Women in Black, Old Women in Film Group, I only recently lapsed in my membership of Growing Old Disgracefully. I wanted to know what issues were discussed in the other workshops. I imagine that Lacy’s final work will provide me with this experience.
On the tweets the general impression is not one of rebellion, resistance. A few mentions of the cuts, of campaigns that individuals are part of but not a feeling of general militancy against violence, and social injustice.
When they are frail, old women are completely ignored. The frail old woman is ‘other’. There was no space and time for talk on militancy on this subject. Let us talk about Greenham and feminist consciousness, let us talk about our youth and feminist ideas, let us talk about the young women. But the fear of disability and death that pervades our public life prevents us from acknowledging the old frail woman and there is no solidarity expressed publicly.
I will end on a positive note. As usual a woman only space has been enormously enjoyable.