Ban the outmoded demographic senior citizen. Ditch sleazy politicians who use the phrase as a term of endearment during an election year, then do an about face regarding “entitlements” once elected.
The phrase finder says, the American term “senior citizen” came to life in the 1930s as a euphemism for “old person.” The substitution smacks of patronization combined with a snarky attempt at political correctness.
Life expectancy in the USA in the late 1930’s was 63 years of age.
Since then older people changed.
If sixty is the new forty, then seventy must be the new fifty and eighty would be the new sixty. If one follows this logic, at what age does the dubious distinction of becoming a senior citizen kick in?
Someone recently stated ages 55 to 64 is an uncool demographic. If numbers are uncool the term “senior citizen” is way behind the times.
Sidney Poitier once told someone “I’m not who you think I am. I’m who I think I am.”
He was referring to racial profiling but the comment goes to the core of perceptions about aging.
The new sixty hits the gym several times a week. Involved, engaged and interesting; may still be in the workforce or have a hobby they have monetized.
Women are not decrepit, demented or dependent. The “Aunt Bea” look for mature women is dead. We are confident and fashion choices reflect that confidence.
Computer literate; we pump our own gas and are comfortable dining alone. We may or may not have grandchildren; don’t make assumptions either way.
Previous generations may have embraced senior citizen as cool, but this ain’t your mama’s retirement.
Note: Originally published October 2010
Categories: Biased, Unbalanced and Politically Incorrect
I am a lifelong Southerner, short story author, and essayist. Home is Dallas, Texas.
My essays have appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine, The Dead Mule School of Southern Writing.