Ageism at Burningman?

Ageism at Burningman?

Postby Interested bystander » Fri Sep 29, 2006 7:39 pm

This is the first time I've been able to access the e-playa since we got back but I've had a couple of questions I've been wanting to post for discussion. The first one: Is ageism (if this is a word) becoming common at BM?

I first started attending BM in 1998 when I was 47 years old. There were all ages there from pre-teens to folks over 70. There seemed to be many in their 40s and 50s, the old hippies among us, and they danced and carried on like the teenagers and no one thought anything about it.

I am now 54 and my hair is a little greyer, a lot greyer when it's covered with playa dust, but I'm still healthy and not feeble in any way. I worked two shifts at Arctica this year as I like to do and both times I had younger people, both in their 20s, tell me that I should let them do the heavy lifting and other such condescending things. The funny thing is I can sling ice twice as fast and twice as long as either of them.

From my observations this wasn't an isolated thing either. I saw lots of laughing and pointing any time someone mature was doing something the younger folks considered "age inapppropriate".

Comments?
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Postby K-mom » Fri Sep 29, 2006 11:41 pm

Interested Bystander, what days/times did u work Arctica? My friends and I work the noon shift pretty much every day and I hope it wasn't any of us... if it was, mega apologies cause we do tend to get a lil' drunken and rowdy after 3 hours of donation beer consumption.
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Postby Silver 2 » Sat Sep 30, 2006 8:55 am

Well, I'm 53 and I am called Silver for a reason (hair). And I haven't noticed anything. Granted in my group I am the one expected to do the heavy lifting and the group averages about 34.

I do have some thoughts on the subject however. think about what these kids (and you and I) see every day; so many people, even in their 40's who cannot get out of their own way. And from what I can tell that is the majority of older folks. People live by patterns, if you constantly see 50 somethings that cannot walk a flight of stairs without getting winded you begin to expect any 50 something to be that way. Was talking to a friend last night, she told me that her dad was my age and couldn't do half of what I do, paused and said, if he had been dancing with me like you have he'd be dead now.

Pointing and Laughing, haven't noticed it, now generally I hang out with friends and they are all much younger than myself so that may be a factor. However this year I spent a lot of time with a 45 year old woman and we did all the normal silly stuff and again I didn't notice any pointing and laughing. I will admit that we both look younger than we are and are both in pretty good shape (she has a great shape) but neither of us will pass for 30.
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Postby Interested bystander » Sat Sep 30, 2006 1:57 pm

K-mom wrote:Interested Bystander, what days/times did u work Arctica? My friends and I work the noon shift pretty much every day and I hope it wasn't any of us... if it was, mega apologies cause we do tend to get a lil' drunken and rowdy after 3 hours of donation beer consumption.


My wife and I worked 3-6 Friday and Saturday. They weren't rude about it, merely condescending. I love working at Arctica and even worked a double two years ago when they didn't have enough folks show up for one 6-9 shift. I would work a shift every day I'm there if I could.

My experience the last couple of years seems to indicate a lot of young first-timers who can be a little condescending to "old folks" which can mean anyone over 40 or who looks older. But then that's just my experience and might not be the experience of others. That's why I threw it out there.
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Postby gyre » Tue Oct 10, 2006 4:28 pm

If you work the gate you see how diverse the city really is.
I saw a car come in with a family, infant to grandmother.
The only newcomer was the infant. I think the child had eight burns.
I saw a fair number of people in their 70s.
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