On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re a Dog

Laurie says:

I’m a big fan of Rachel S and her blog Rachel’s Tavern. Her writing and work on race and class absolutely knock me out.

In her recent post on Alas, A Blog about older women and blogging, she raises some important issues about older women and the blogosphere. She got me thinking about a lot of things, including the fact that we haven’t a clue about how many older feminist bloggers there are.

Body Impolitic is a good example. I’m 64, right in the center of her category, and Deb is 54 and very much a second wave feminist. I’ve got a feeling that there are a lot more of us out there than is obvious. Susie Bright talks a lot about issues of hot sex and aging and Ronnie Bennett has a blog about what it’s really like to get older. Both of these are popular blogs. I suspect that if you’re not writing about issues of aging folks assume you’re not “older.” On the Internet, no one knows if you’re a dog (or over 60).

And her list of “older women’s issues” and “younger women’s issues” reminded me that age frequently broadens one’s perspective. I read the feminist blogs she’s referring to, and just about all of the issues they cover are important to me. Many of the “older” issues she talks about are equally relevant to younger women. I’d be a lot more worried about the future of social security if I was 38 than I am now. There are serious issues of discrimination and bias in many areas, but for me they’re examples of how our society marginalizes everyone they can, and the interrelationship is as important as the explicit focus.

I’ve never been sure about this older and wiser stuff. I feel that folks who come up in different times know different things. I can, and do, learn as much from people who are 40 years younger than I am as they do from me. My daughters, who are 43 and 32, are a case in point.

In poking around the blogsphere I discovered that apparently I have yet another “identity” title – elderblogger. Someday I’m going to make a list. It would probably start with “commie socialist” when I was 14.
<br /> feminism<br /> women<br /> aging<br /> older women<br /> identity politics<br /> <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/Body+Impolitic" rel="tag nofollow" class="broken_link">Body Impolitic</a><br />

7 thoughts on “On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re a Dog

  1. I don’t know about “older and wiser” in general; yes, if all goes well we learn all the time and thus older people have had time to learn more, but knowledge doesn’t always bring wisdom. I think I’m calmer and happier now than I was twenty years ago, but I don’t know if I’ll be moreso in another 20; a chunk of that is knowing I can survive X because I’ve already been through it, or something like it, once before, and I don’t know whether there are more kinds of things I’ll hit that with.

  2. Well, I’ll be 54 in a few days myself. I have a blog though I haven’t been posting much to it over the last year. I also have an LJ where I post fairly regularly. But I don’t think I have ever written about aging issues on either one. I don’t think much about aging and its effects and I’m not sure why. Perhaps a combination of being a privileged white chick and other issues being more important to me personally. Perhaps I’ll think about this some and see if anything changes for me.

    Oh, and as I was proofing before posting it occured to me that if I think about aging I might have to think about dying which is a big avoidance thing for me. So that’s probably part of it too.


  3. This subject reminded me of an experience Betty Friedan recounts in The Fountain of Age (p.63), of a feminist theologian segregated at the beginning of a conference with two older women and labeled “Our Foremothers.” She goes on to say that the Foremothers were clearly “not considered to be in the mainstream of the conference thought–though later many women said I was far more radical than any other person on the program. I never felt the real pinch of ageism until, in the feminist movement (which is now my life), my own sisters began to call me mother.”

    As a fat activist, I had this experience when a very young woman came to interview me on the subject of turning pain into fat activism. She used the expression “foremother” in such a way as to clearly include me in that definition, which was a first. I had never been so labled before.

    It certainly made me feel like a feminist–also dead.

  4. I know we’ve talked about body image and aging on the blog.

    I think aging is more contextual than many other “identities” and depends more on the specifics of history and circumstance.

  5. following the links from Ronni Bennett’s blog, Time Goes By, i’m intrigued to arrive here, read the comments. at 72, i’ve been old in america for so damn long. doesn’t it begin at 35? along with many, i give myself more permission to be outrageous about my politics–from kitchen composting to Condom Amulets. you’d have to see my blog to understand. and i hope you will. -naomi

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