This Chair Rocks

People are happiest at the beginnings and the ends of their lives. The vast majority of Americans over 65 live independently. The older people get, the less afraid they are of dying. Aging is a natural, lifelong, powerful process. So how come so many of us unthinkingly assume that depression, diapers, and dementia lie ahead? That the 20th century’s astonishing leap in life expectancy is a disaster-in-the making? Underlying all the hand-wringing is ageism: discrimination that sidelines and silences older people. So I’ve written a book. I blog about it. I have a Q & A blog called Yo, Is This Ageist? (Go ahead, ask me.) I’ve written a consciousness-raising booklet. And I speak widely. All tools to help catalyze a movement to make discrimination on the basis of age as unacceptable as any other kind.

About the Book

Buy it here.

From childhood on, we’re barraged by messages that it’s sad to be old. That wrinkles are embarrassing, and old people useless. Author and activist Ashton Applewhite believed them too—until she realized where this prejudice comes from and the damage it does. Lively, funny, and deeply researched, This Chair Rocks traces Applewhite’s journey from apprehensive boomer to pro-aging radical, and in the process debunks myth after myth about late life. The book explains the roots of ageism—in history and in our own age denial—and how it divides and debases, examines how ageist myths and stereotypes cripple the way our brains and bodies function, looks at ageism in the workplace and the bedroom, exposes the cost of the all-American myth of independence, critiques the portrayal of olders as burdens to society, describes what an all-age-friendly world would look like, and concludes with a rousing call to action. Whether you’re older or hoping to get there, this book will shake you by the shoulders, cheer you up, make you mad, and change the way you see the rest of your life. Age pride!

Wow. This book totally rocks. It arrived on a day when I was in deep confusion and sadness about my age—62. Everything about it, from my invisibility to my neck. Within four or five wise, passionate pages, I had found insight, illumination and inspiration. I never use the word empower, but this book has empowered me.

ANNE LAMOTT, New York Times best-selling author

Along comes Ashton Applewhite with a book we have been waiting for. Anti-ageism now boasts a popular champion, activist, and epigrammatist in the lineage of Martial and Dorothy Parker. Until This Chair Rocks we haven’t had a single compact book that blows up myths seven to a page like fireworks.

LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS

Vibrant, energetic, fact-filled and funny, This Chair Rocks is a call to arms not just for older people but for our whole society.

KATHA POLLITT, poet, essayist, and Nation columnist

Sometimes a writer does us all a great favor and switches on a light. Snap! The darkness vanishes and, in its place we find an electric vision of new ways of living. I want to live in a world where ageism is just a memory, and This Chair Rocks illuminates the path.

DR. BILL THOMAS, founder of Changing Aging

This Chair Rocks is radical, exuberant, and full of all sorts of facts that erase many of the myths and beliefs about late life. As Applewhite defines and describes ageism, new ways of seeing and being in the world emerge, empowering everyone to see things as they really are.

LAURIE ANDERSON, artist

A knowledgeable, straight-talking, and witty book that briskly explains to anyone how-wrong-we-are-about-aging. There’s radical news here to enlighten the most “done” starlet, and
tart turns of phrase to captivate the most expert age critic: ‘All aging is “successful”—not just the sporty version—otherwise you’re dead.’ This pithy primer ought ideally to be given to every American adolescent—to inoculate them against the lies and stereotypes that can spoil the long life course they will all want.

Margaret Morganroth Gullette, author of Aged by Culture and the prize-winning Agewise and Declining to Decline

Ashton Applewhite is a visionary whose time has come, tackling one of the most persistent biases of our day with originality, verve, and humor. Her magic formula of naming and shaming may just shake all of us out of complacency and it into action. Whether you relate through being older now or recognize that aging is in your future, this is one of the most important books you’ll ever read.

Marc Freedman, CEO of Encore.org and author of The Big Shift: Navigating the New Life Stage Before Midlife

A smart and stirring call to add ageism to the list of ‘isms’ that divide us, and to mobilize against it. Applewhite shows how ageism distorts our view of old age, and urges us to challenge age- based prejudices in ourselves and in society. An important wake-up call for any baby boomer who’s apprehensive about growing old.

Pepper Schwartz, Professor of Sociology, University of Washington and AARP’s Official Love & Relationship Ambassador

This Chair Rocks is a
2016 Foreword INDIES Winner
in Adult Nonfiction!

Smart, sassy and oh so wise.

AARP

Finally, a take-down of the last acceptable prejudice. Applewhite eloquently and expertly exposes the structural discrimination that makes growing older so much harder than it should be—not just for the white, affluent, healthy, and able-bodied, but for women, people of color, people with disabilities, and poor people. Full of treasures, This Chair Rocks should be required reading for everyone in aging services, to help us confront ageism in our personal and professional lives and join forces against it. As Applewhite writes, ‘It’s time for Age Pride.’ 

Donna Corrado, Commissioner, NYC Department for the Aging

An eloquent and well-researched exposé of the prejudice that feeds age bias, and a passionate argument to mobilize against it. This must-read book is also a fun-read for every age.

Stephanie Coontz, author, The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap

To live agefully – what a wonderful word! With warmth, wit and clarity, Ashton Applewhite explains what it means, while never falling into age-denial or age-shame. This is a book packed with provocative and liberating ideas, to make you leap into the air with pleasure – even if your knees, like mine, are a little dodgy.

Anne Karpf, author of How to Age


Blog

First ever Age Justice rally!

Over 170 people attended this historic June 6 rally organized by the Radical Age Movement, which I was honored to be part of. Check out the terrific video and stay tuned for updates on the rally to be held in New York's Union Square this fall.

Age self-stereotyping (aka internalized ageism): it's insidious and harmful.

This guest post is by Louise Pendry, a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Exeter in the UK.  She’s delighted to be combining her work on online communities, stereotyping and prejudice, with her long-standing personal interest in and (more recently) her lived experience of women and ageing. Currently she is exploring how online communities can help support and empower women as they grow older. You can reach her at l.f.pendry@exeter.ac.uk or find her on Instagram as silverserenity4.

I like to think I’ve got a pretty good attitude to growing older. I’m genuinely enjoying my life post-50. But recently, I hit a roadblock to my progress here, and that roadblock is me, or more precisely, how I sometimes think about me. That’s what I want to share with you.

As a psychology lecturer, I teach a class on stereotyping. Mostly I focus on how we stereotype other people, but lately I’ve started to look at what happens when we stereotype ourselves, especially when we do so on the basis of age (internalised ageism). I like to start each class with concrete examples of the topic I want to tell my students about to make it real. This is easy when it comes to stereotyping other groups (e.g., black males shot in error by police). But this SELF-stereotyping angle was less obvious. I was struggling to find a vivid, relevant illustration. Little did I realise that I’d do something – actually in the class itself - that would give my students a perfect real-life example.

Here’s what happened. It was the week before my planned session on age stereotyping. Part of the class involves students giving presentations on research articles. This is my cue to sit down and grade their efforts. The room layout was cramped and necessitated me clambering (tripping!) around the AV equipment, before climbing inelegantly over a desk to reach a seat. All of this was achieved with much stumbling and huffing and puffing on my part. Trying to make light of it, I smiled and said “Ha! I’m not the woman I was!” Cue much laughing. At the end of class, a student approached me about her presentation the following week, ironically on an article about age self-stereotyping. “You know, you just demonstrated what that article called ‘internalised ageism’,” she said. And she was right. I had used a common negative stereotype about ageing (declining physical fitness) to explain my behaviour and it was more than likely not justified. Actually anyone would have struggled to reach their seat in that classroom, young or old.

Thinking this was just an aberrant moment on my part, I tried not to worry. But as I started to think about it, I realised this was not an isolated episode. I’ve certainly found myself joking about an unfortunate “senior moment” when I’ve mislaid my glasses and can’t recall where. Where’s the harm in that? We all do it, right? Really though, what I’m doing here when I make this kind of humorous self-deprecating remark is classifying a behaviour I’ve performed as proof that my memory’s going and furthermore, highlighting it’s because of a negative and enduring part of the elderly stereotype: forgetful. I’ve pigeonholed myself, written myself off. This memory lapse could be a sign of impending Alzheimers but it’s more likely to signify that my life is way too busy. It could happen to anyone AT ANY AGE if they had as much going on as I often do. Or it could be down to menopausal brain fog (annoying but not necessarily permanent). Minor deteriorations in cognitive function can certainly happen as we age, but that doesn’t mean every slight memory lapse is a sign of serious cognitive decline.

Perhaps you think I’m over-reacting. You might think, “Good grief, where’s your sense of humour?” Now don’t get me wrong, I like a laugh as much as anyone. But here I think it might be an issue because such self-stereotyping can have important consequences for us. Research by Becca Levy and colleagues has shown that when we THINK of old as negative, we can start to FEEL old and may even ACT in a way that confirms negative elderly stereotypes.  And that can basically hijack our best efforts to age positively. What does this mean? Well, translated into everyday life, it suggests that the unconscious age self-stereotypes we hold and express (“I left my phone in the fridge, I’m having yet another senior moment!”) affect how well we approach and perform associated tasks in future (“My memory is clearly ****ed. How will I ever remember everything on my to-do list today?”). We become our own self-fulfilling prophecy.

Now I’m aware, I’m going to try to catch myself in the act when I do this, and maybe respond differently. It’s early days yet, but I would say I’m noticing this tendency more in myself and others. I met a friend for coffee recently and we were chatting about her job, and whether she wanted to apply for a new role with more responsibility. “I just don’t feel I’m mentally up to it any more,” she confessed, “I’m too old.” Mindful of all I’ve said above, I replied, “If you really don’t fancy it, that’s up to you. But if you do feel it’s not for you, is it down to your age? Remember, you moved jobs two years ago from one in which you had control over your daily routine to one which has you running around, at the beck and call of others. In your current role, you often feel overwhelmed, and that might be colouring your mindset, making you doubt your abilities. It might not be your age.” “Louise,” she replied, “you would never have said that before, you’d just have agreed with me.” And she’s right, I would have.

I’m not saying there aren’t some downsides to growing older, simply that there may be many explanations for the things we do as we grow older that are not irrevocably tied to age. Pausing to reflect on these alternatives might allow us to reappraise our achievements and move forward with this phase of our lives more positively, be that bit more resilient. As Becca Levy says: “…as all humans age, they should be aware of their own implicit negative views of their group and consciously develop an identity with old age and its positive attributes, using these to compensate for the ill effects of automatic ageism.” Reader, I’m on it!

two honors from the art world

Five years ago I got a speaking invitation from Maura O'Malley, co-founder of Lifetime Arts, a nonprofit that was creating professional arts programs for olders long before "creative aging" was a thing. (Google it now.) Last night they celebrated their tenth anniversary at a gorgeous gala in NYC, honoring Aroha Philanthropy's Ellen Michelson for her visionary leadership and me with their inaugural Game Changer Award. (That's Ellen below on the right—no, we didn't coordinate our dresses—and Maura in the middle.)

        

One thing I turn out to be good at is recognizing my people when I encounter them, and the Lifetime Arts crew are definitely among them. They were the first organization to support me, and the first people in the creative aging field to understand that confronting ageism is central to their mission. As I said in my very short acceptance speech, "Artists like you are taking this change out into the world." I'm grateful.

I also heard last week from San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts that I had been selected for their YBCA 100 list. "We believe that any major political or social change first requires a cultural movement. The YBCA 100 celebrates the 100 people, organizations, and movements that are using their platform to shift culture," they write. "This year we continue to highlight cultural provocateurs and innovators from the Bay Area and around the globe. Welcome to a list that includes alumni such as activist Alicia Garza (2016), journalist Jose Antonio Vargas (2017), and filmmaker Boots Riley (2017)." Cultural provocateur! What an honor, and what fantastic company to be keeping.  

          

left; with my kids, Luke and Morgan, at the Lifetime Arts gala; right, thanking John Leland, friend and author of Happiness is A Choice You Make, who introduced me.

There’s more

Other Writing by
Ashton Applewhite

A Stigma Rooted in Denial: On Ageism and “Aging Thoughtfully”

A Stigma Rooted in Denial: On Ageism and “Aging Thoughtfully”

November 2, 2017

Link here.

Working to Disarm Women’s Anti-Aging Demon

Working to Disarm Women’s Anti-Aging Demon

October 12, 2017

Article in the New York Times

I Hope I Get Old Before I Die

I Hope I Get Old Before I Die

July 13, 2017

Article in Neo.life

Cutting Loose: Why Women Who End Their Marriages Do So Well

Cutting Loose: Why Women Who End Their Marriages Do So Well

June 15, 2017

Book published by HarperCollins, 1997. Reissued in 2017 with new preface by the author.

You’re How Old? We’ll Be in Touch

You’re How Old? We’ll Be in Touch

September 3, 2016

Article in the New York Times

There’s more

Yo, Is This Ageist?

(Go ahead, ask me.)

There’s more

Appearances

My We Are All Aging talk explains the roots of ageism – in society and in our own age denial – how it divides and diminishes us, and ends with a rousing call to mobilize against it. This Chair Rocks: How Ageism Warps Our View of Long Life charts my journey from apprehensive boomer to pro-aging radical and proposes an alternative to all the hand-wringing: wake up, cheer up, and push back. Aging While Female, Reimagined describes how the double whammy of ageism and sexism makes aging different for women, and what we can do about it. I also speak about the medicalization of old age, ageism and elder abuse, and how to reframe the new longevity in order to make the most of longer lives. To book me for your event, please contact the Lavin Agency.

What People Are Saying:

I was encouraged by the statistics you quoted, forced to acknowledge my own ageist thoughts, and ultimately fired up to fight them in myself and others. You are on to something big!

Sarah Meredith, painter

Why can’t we stop ageism? Good question. For some answers, start looking in the mirror and look around you. For a good dialogue on the subject, visit Ashton Applewhite’s website, This Chair Rocks.

Harry R. Moody, Director of Academic Affairs, AARP

Consciousness-raising at its sharpest and most useful.

David Watts Barton, journalist and playwright

This Chair Rocks confirms our knowledge that emotional well being is abundant in later life, challenges us to face our own internalized ageism, and inspires us to envision a future in which our society is released from age-related prejudice and discrimination. And it’s fun, too!

Geriatric Mental Health Alliance of New York

Holistic, deep, urgent, and also fun.

Lenelle Moise, playwright and performer

All practitioners working with older adults need to be informed about the pernicious influences of ageism. Nobody does this better than Ashton Applewhite. Her thinking is deep, her passion infectious, and her cogent message is spot on: we urgently need to have a national conversation about ageism to raise awareness about it and to stop it.

Risa Breckman, LCSW, Executive Director, NYC Elder Abuse Center

You have found a fantastic mission: raising consciousness that older is far better than the stereotype that enslaves us all.

Jennifer Siebens, producer, CBS News

Ashton Applewhite’s plenary address at the 2013 New York State Adult Abuse Training Institute was compelling and original, and really resonated with our 400 participants. She is an articulate and committed voice for an important cause: challenging the demoralizing shadow that ageism casts across society.

Jean Callahan, Director, Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging

Octogenarians are the fastest-growing segment of our population, yet most Americans are scared stiff at the prospect of growing old. [Applewhite’s work] is a welcome and important tonic.

Dr. Robert Butler, founding director of the National Institute on Aging, coiner of the term “ageism”

We need an anti-ageist movement, for sure. Ashton is already in it.

Margaret Morganroth Gullette, author of Agewise and Aged by Culture

A beautifully delivered, provocative description of how ageism clouds our vision of what life holds in store.

Sabrina Hamilton, director, Ko Festival for the Arts

Ashton Applewhite is on a crusade. A journalist and author, her mission is to raise awareness of ageism in America and get people young and old to join her in speaking out against it.

Senior Planet

Thank you again for your terrific keynote yesterday. I heard from so many attendees that it affected them deeply. You are wise, funny, and provocative – a great combination!

Teresa Bonner, Program Director, Aroha Philanthropies

Upcoming Appearances

This Chair Rocks Book Talk and Q&A, SAGE Center

Where: Edie Windsor SAGE Center, 307 Seventh Ave. 15th fl, NYC

When: July 25, 2018 06:45 pm

More info: Free and open to the public link here  

keynote, Mid-America Institute on Aging and Wellness Conference

Where: University of Southern Indiana, Evansville IN,

When: August 9, 2018 03:00 pm

More info: A two-day inter-professional gerontology conference for nurses, social workers, older adults, professionals working in the field of gerontology, and the community. Free and open to the public; register here.

Let's Talk About Ageism: A Morning with Anti-Ageism Activist Ashton Applewhite

Where: Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 North Nevada Ave, Chapman Foundations Recital Hall, Colorado Springs, CO

When: August 14, 2018 10:00 am

More info: A "five-year celebration event on social inclusion and ageism." Free and open to the public; register here.

keynote, Pioneer Network annual conference

Where: Denver, CO

When: August 15, 2018 09:00 am

More info: Talk + all-day anti-ageism workshop. Register here.

Himan Brown Lecture at the New Jewish Home

Where: Florence Gould Hall Theatre at Alliance Francaise NYC

When: October 10, 2018 06:00 pm

More info:

Florence Gould Hall Theater at the French Institute/Alliance Francaise, 55 E59th St NYC

talk, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Fresno State

Where: Fresno State University

When: October 19, 2018 12:00 pm

More info:

keynote, Bioneers Conference

Where: Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium stage, Marin Center, San Rafael, California

When: October 21, 2018 09:00 am

More info: Register here.

Boomer and Senior Roundtable series with State Senator Liz Krueger

Where: Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, 331 E70th NYC

When: November 13, 2018 08:30 am

More info: Free and open to the public

talk, Empowering Ethical Elders program

Where: Society for Ethical Culture, 2 West 64th St. 5th Fl. Elliott Library, NYC

When: December 20, 2018 06:00 pm

More info: Free and open to the public, drinks and snacks provided.

lecture at i3

Where: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

When: January 7, 2019 12:00 am

More info: "Ideas that inform and inspire"

 

Past Appearances

 

Media

What’s Underneath with StyleLikeU podcast

What’s Underneath with StyleLikeU podcast

June 21, 2018

Link here.

NPR’s Where We Live interview “Is Your Midlife Crisis Really a Crisis?”

NPR’s Where We Live interview “Is Your Midlife Crisis Really a Crisis?”

June 7, 2018

Link here. Cue at 19:00

NPR’s All Things Considered interview “Are You Ageist? Probably.”

NPR’s All Things Considered interview “Are You Ageist? Probably.”

May 18, 2018

Link here.

“Activist Ashton Applewhite Crushes 10 Myths About Aging” article in YouAreUNLTD

“Activist Ashton Applewhite Crushes 10 Myths About Aging” article in YouAreUNLTD

May 14, 2018

Link here.

Bridge the Gap Podcast

Bridge the Gap Podcast

April 30, 2018

Listen here.

There’s more

Resources

Tools

 

HelpAge makes two worksheets available:

 

LeadingAge offers a guide to starting a community dialogue about ageism and a short slideshow to raise awareness:

 

I Need You, You Need Me: The Young, The Old, and What We Can Achieve Together: a guide to reuniting the generations, with examples of intergenerational programs and initiatives, from Generations United and the Eisner Foundation.

 

Books

  • Ageism: Stereotyping and Prejudice against Older Persons by Todd D. Nelson (Boston: MIT Press, 2002)
  • Agewise: Fighting the New Ageism in America by Margaret Morganroth Gullette. (University of Chicago Press, 2011)
  • Aging Our Way: Lessons for Living from 85 and Beyond by Meika Loe. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011)
  • The Denial of Aging: Perpetual Youth, Eternal Life, and Other Dangerous Fantasies by Muriel R. Gillick (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006)
  • The Fountain of Age by Betty Friedan. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993)
  • How We Age: A Doctor’s Journey into the Heart of Growing Old by Marc E. Agronin (New York: Da Capo Press, 2011)
  • How to Age by Anne Karpf (Macmillan, 2014)
  • A Long Bright Future by Laura Carstensen (New York: Broadway Books, 2009)
  • Learning to Be Old: Gender, Culture, and Aging by Margaret Cruikshank (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009)
  • Look Me In the Eye: Old Women, Aging, and Ageism by Barbara Macdonald with Cynthia Rich (San Francisco: Spinsters Book Company, 1991)
  • Life Gets Better: The Unexpected Pleasures of Growing Older by Wendy Lustbader (New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2011)
  • The Longevity Revolution by Robert N. Butler (New York: PublicAffairs, 2008)
  • Naked At Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex by Joan Price (Berkeley: Seal Press, 2011)
  • Overcoming Age Discrimination in Employment by Patricia Barnes (2016)
  • Second Wind: Navigating the Passage to a Slower, Deeper, and More Connected Life by Bill Thomas (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014)
  • Treat Me, Not My Age: A Doctor’s Guide to Getting the Best Care as You or a Loved One Gets Older by Mark Lachs (New York: Penguin Books, 2011)
  • Women in Late Life: Critical Perspectives on Gender and Age by Martha Holstein (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015)

These books helped me understand ageism. You can find a list of the best books on aging compiled by Changing Aging here and another good list compiled by Ronnie Bennett here.

Reports

Links

 

 

 

Video

Keynote address at the United Nations
6 October 2016

Talk at Future Trends Forum in Madrid
1 December 2017

Talk at the Library of Congress
25 October 2016

On Vimeo

What Is Ageism?

Ageism is stereotyping and discrimination on the basis of a person’s age. We experience it any time someone assumes that we’re “too old” for something—a task, a haircut, a relationship—instead of finding out who we are and what we’re capable of. Or “too young;” ageism cuts both ways, although in a youth-obsessed society olders bear the brunt of it.

Like racism and sexism, ageism serves a social and economic purpose: to legitimize and sustain inequalities between groups. It’s not about how we look. It’s about how people in power assign meaning to how we look.

Stereotyping—the assumption that all members of a group are the same—underlies ageism (as it does all “isms”). Stereotyping is always a mistake, but especially when it comes to age, because the older we get, the more different from one another we become.

Attitudes about age—as well as race and gender—start to form in early childhood. Over a lifetime they harden into a set of truths: “just the way it is.” Unless we challenge ageist stereotypes—Old people are incompetent. Wrinkles are ugly. It’s sad to be old—we feel shame and embarrassment instead of taking pride in the accomplishment of aging. That’s internalized ageism.

By blinding us to the benefits of aging and heightening our fears, ageism makes growing older far harder than it has to be. It damages our sense of self, segregates us, diminishes our prospects, and actually shortens lives.

What are the antidotes?

  •    Awareness: the critical starting point is to acknowledge our own prejudices about age and aging. (Download a copy of Who me, Ageist? How to Start a Consciousness Raising Group.) Then we can start to see that “personal problems”—such as not being able to get a job or being belittled or feeling patronized—are actually widely shared social problems that require collective action.
  •    Integration: connect with people of all ages. An equitable society for all ages requires intergenerational collaboration.
  •    Activism: watch for ageist behaviors and attitudes in and around us, challenge them, and create language and models that support every stage of life.

Bio

I didn’t set out to become a writer. I went into publishing because I loved to read and didn’t have any better ideas. I had a weakness for the kind of jokes that make you cringe and guffaw at the same time, my boss kept telling me to write them down, and the collection turned into the best-selling paperback of 1982. I was a clue on “Jeopardy” (“Who is the author of Truly Tasteless Jokes?” Answer: “Blanche Knott.”), and as Blanche made publishing history by occupying four of the fifteen spots on the New York Times bestseller list.

My first serious book, Cutting Loose: Why Women Who End Their Marriages Do So Well, was published by HarperCollins in 1997. Ms. magazine called it “rocket fuel for launching new lives,” and it landed me on Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum enemies list. It also got me invited to join the board of the nascent Council on Contemporary Families, a group of distinguished family scholars. I belonged to the Artist’s Network of Refuse & Resist group that originated the anti-Iraq-invasion slogan and performance pieces titled “Our Grief is Not a Cry for War.” As a contributing editor of IEEE Spectrum magazine, I went to Laos to cover a village getting internet access via a bicycle-powered computer. Since 2000 I’ve been on staff at the American Museum of Natural History, where I write about everything under the Sun.

The catalyst for Cutting Loose was puzzlement: why was our notion of women’s lives after divorce (visualize depressed dame on barstool) so different from the happy and energized reality? A similar question gave rise to This Chair Rocks: why is our view of late life so unrelievedly grim when the lived reality is so different? I began blogging about aging and ageism in 2007 and started speaking on the subject in July, 2012, which is also when I started the Yo, Is This Ageist? blog. During that time I’ve been recognized by the New York Times, National Public Radio, the New Yorker, and the American Society on Aging as an expert on ageism and named as a Fellow by the Knight Foundation, the New York Times, Yale Law School, and the Royal Society for the Arts; I’ve written for Harper’s, Playboy, and the New York Times, and I speak widely, at venues that have ranged from universities and community centers to the Library of Congress and the United Nations. In 2017 I received a standing ovation for my talk at TED 2017, their mainstage event in Vancouver.

My book, This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, was self-published in March, 2016 and will be published on the inaugural list of Celadon Books, a new division of Macmillan, Inc. in March, 2019.

 

HONORS & RECOGNITION

  • Member of the 2018 Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 100
  • 2018 Game Changer Award, Lifetime Arts
  • Fifth Annual Forbes list of Forty Women to Watch over 40 (2017)
  • PBS site Next Avenue’s annual list of 50 Influencers in Aging — Influencer of the Year (2016)
  • Salt magazine’s list of The World’s 100 Most Inspiring Women (2015)
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