About a year ago I was at a large book convention and within that convention was an area dedicated to comics and graphic novels. The last day of the convention they give away the display copies and I had my eye on a Judge Dredd graphic novel that I knew my husband would love. So, I stand in line hoping I’ll get there an no one else got that book. It was really the only one I wanted.
The line moved and I didn’t really pay much attention until I got to the front. There were young ladies ahead of me that were probably in their early twenties. They were adorable and beautiful and were give a couple of books each by the man in charge of that booth. I was thrilled to see neither had taken the Judge Dredd book. Finally! My turn. I was so excited. I asked for the graphic novel and the man looked at me really funny. The look was nearly a reprimand in itself. I wondered what was wrong, but he enlightened me quick enough.
“These are for younger people. You’re not really our target audience.”
Yes, that’s verbatim. Burned in my memory be the complete embarrassment that I was just told I’m too old for comics in front a bunch of people.
I was sent on my way, without the book, but well informed on who their target audience really is.
Long story short, I posted the experience on Facebook, it went viral and the head of the company called me the same day. I was sent the entire series of Judge Dredd books much to the delight of my husband. But, more importantly, I received an apology from the company.
Recently, I was asked if I go to “kids movies” without bringing a child with me. My answer is this: If the story appeals to me, I will go. I don’t need a token child for me to go and don’t care what people think when they see me walk in.
The point to this blog is to say that the only time you’re too old for something is if your body tells you so. Otherwise, if you can do it, you want to do it and doing it harms no one then by all means…have at it!!
Age bias, much like weight bias, is alive and well. It’s sneaky though because there aren’t a lot of organizations to champion you. There are some, but you have to work hard to find them and then it’s an up-hill battle to get resolution.
My money spends just as well as a 20 year old girl or a 14 year old boy or a 40 year old man. To put people into a “target group” is fine to help focus, but to use that “target group” as a way of excluding someone is not fine.
The same goes for what I read. Guess what? I like to read young adult fiction. I love the coming-of-age story, the adventure story and as long as the story is good I don’t care if you’re 35 or 10. So, this blog from Slate.com saying I should be ashamed for reading YA really makes me frustrated.
I am not too old to enjoy anything I want to enjoy, especially when it harms no one else. Shaming me for my age shows a level of immaturity, intolerance and that you’re not well-informed. It doesn’t hurt YOU if I read YA, comics or Dr. Seuss!! And it doesn’t show how more “enlightened” someone is when they judge others. As a matter of fact, I think it shows quite the opposite.
I love love love my age. I am in my forties, confident, know myself, know how to say “no” and not feel guilty, appreciate what I have and know that I can do most anything if I am patient, persistent and passionate enough. My age ROCKS! And at my age I know three very important things that companies serving “target groups” to the exclusion of other types of people do not seem to understand.
1. I’m old enough to know how to best use social media to shame the hell right out of you.
2. I know that I vote with my dollar. If I don’t buy from you, I buy from someone else who likes my money. When your company goes under because you’re a bigoted ass I’ll spike my prune juice with vodka to celebrate your karma!
3. I’m old enough to stay classy. I don’t have to be mean spirited, loud or hateful to get my point across. With age you trade that is for ninja-guilt abilities and master manipulation skills. Yes, quiet, quick and deadly to your brand. Don’t mess with older women. We may not be your target audience, but we’re friends with them, mothers of them, aunts of them.
Have you ever been the victim of age discrimination? Not just because you’re older, but maybe because you’re not old enough? And what do you do about it?
PS- I don’t need someone to tell me I’m too old to be cool. Tell that crap to Stan Lee, Betty White or George Takei. Just sayin’.