Author: Ashton Applewhite | Book Review by: Marlene Caraballo.
This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, by Ashton Applewhite, is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the impact of ageism on society and how it affects our lives as we grow older. As a middle-aged woman, I found the book informative and empowering! I highly recommend it to anyone interested in exploring the topic of ageism.
The book is divided into three sections, each exploring different aspects of ageism. The first section provides a historical overview of ageism and its societal impact. It challenges readers to examine their beliefs and attitudes toward aging and encourages them to adopt a more positive and inclusive perspective. As a mindset coach, I love anything that encourages optimism!
The second section examines how ageism affects our daily lives, from the workplace and the media to personal relationships. Applewhite provides examples of ageism in action and offers strategies for combating it. She also shares inspiring stories of people who defied ageist stereotypes and achieved great things.
The final section offers a vision for a world free of ageism. Applewhite argues that we need to shift our cultural narrative around aging to embrace a nuanced and inclusive understanding of what it means to grow older. She calls on individuals, organizations, and policymakers to combat ageism and create a more equitable society for people of all ages.
One of the things I appreciated most about This Chair Rocks is Applewhite’s use of personal anecdotes and humor. For example, she talks about how she was asked to speak on a panel about aging but then was told she didn’t “look old enough.” She also shares a story about a boss who said an employee was “too old” to learn a new computer program — to which the employee replied they may be too old to learn new tricks but certainly wasn’t too old to find a better job.
Applewhite writes from a place of deep empathy and understanding, and her writing is clear and concise. Still, she fortifies her arguments with solid research and draws on a wide range of sources to support her claims.
For example, Applewhite cites a report from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that found age discrimination is a pervasive problem in the workplace. In her chapter on ageism in the media, she cites a Women’s Media Center study that found women older than 60 are “virtually invisible” in news coverage.
Another aspect of the book I found particularly valuable is how it addresses the intersectionality of ageism. Applewhite acknowledges ageism intersects with other forms of discrimination, such as racism, sexism, and ableism. She encourages readers to consider how these different forms of oppression intersect and compound one another and to work towards a more holistic approach to social justice.
Overall, This Chair Rocks is a powerful and thought-provoking book that challenges deeply ingrained cultural biases and prejudices against aging. Whether young, middle-aged, or older, this book will leave you feeling empowered and motivated to act against ageism in all its forms.