The Second Half: Middle Life & Aging
Ageism, like racism or any other form of bias, characterizes individuals on the basis of their membership in a group. Many do not see ageism as being particularly harmful because unlike gender bias or prejudice it does not affect only one group of people; it affects the entire population (if they are fortunate enough to reach an age to be jested about.) Reaching middle tends to be a period a very emotional period, especially for women moving closer to or going thorough menopause. In the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, we meet Evelyn in quite a state: her children are moving out, her marriage is dull and lifeless and she is the butt end of two very cruel ageist jokes in what seems to be a span of less than a month.
To better understand ageism and how it was affecting Evelyn, we can simply compare the two incidents at the grocery store and how she dealt with them. In the first scene, Evelyn is almost knocked down by a young man rushing out of the story. She chases after him, shocked but genuinely curious as to why he is being so mean to her. “Move it fat cow! Beat it you old bitch!” Evelyn is left in tears wondering, “Why are you being so mean to me?!” Later on, at the same grocery store she is confronted with more ageists, this time two girls. As the girls steal her parking spot without an ounce of guilt, they let Evelyn know that they are faster and smarter. “Most people, especially younger people, barely notice that age is being made a stigma. But the message is that being old is repulsive, embarrassing or unthinkable is visible everywhere in our society.” (Crawford, 367) To these teenagers, Evelyn is nothing but an insignificant bump in their day. Like many adolescents, these characters are too wrapped up in their own lives to acknowledge, or even respect, her presence. To Evelyn...
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