When I grow up I want to be an old woman

I don’t know much about Age Concern, though I respect their work identifying elder abuse in New Zealand, where we have four referrals each day, and like most other kinds of intimate violence, women are over-represented at 65-70% of those referrals.

I do know I hate the poster I walk past in their national office every morning, which, irritatingly enough I can’t seem to find online. All I can find is this, part of one of their Annual Reports:

This is some of the poster adorning their national office, but not all. The rest of it features more white men. In fact, it ends up with men outnumbering women (despite there being 122 women to every 100 men after age 65) and with no one recognisably Pacifica or Maori. I don’t think the woman second from the left on the bottom features either, I think the sole representative of people of colour is the man on the right at the bottom.

Obviously there’s dangers in judging ethnicity or cultural identity by just looking at people, but I think it should be possible for Age Concern to have recognisably Maori and Pacifica symbols and people on their main poster, just like the rest of the Annual Report cover.

Then there’s what people are doing. In this version, and in the national office poster, the women are smiling. The men are pointing or playing sport and I think there might be another white man doing something important, but we don’t want women to be worrying our pretty heads with such things, do we?

I’m going to one cantankerous old woman, let me tell you, if all I get to do is smile after I turn 65. Best I start wearing purple now.

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