As part of our research, we thought it was important to gain primary source information to gauge the opinions each demographic had of the other.
- What’s your opinion on young people?
Angela Tucker (aged 64, Bridgend): “I think that most teenagers have rough press. There are some bad ones but mostly, in my experience, they’re good at heat. Whilst I was a teacher some teens would take the micky trying to get away with things by cheekily explaining that their social lives are more important than their schoolwork. In my opinion youths are stereotyped negatively as we only hear the bad things in the press and very rarely the good things; these days only bad stories sell though. It’s a shame that a few spoil it for the majority. I think they’re harmless, they like laughing and enjoying life without being aggressive to elders. There are exceptions but teenagers I came into contact with during my teaching years are respectful. I like being in their company and used to enjoy hearing about their antics.”
After spending time with a 24-year-old Zoe, Roy Hone (aged 83, South Hampton) said “Zoe gave me a new lease on life, I shall go back invigorated and I’m thinking of doing all sorts of things as a result”.
Aminah Smith (aged 75, Bristol): “We were young once, they aren’t doing anything wrong. They are enjoying life, as they should”.
George Turner (“They are rebellious, lazy, egocentric, irresponsible, and totally focused on trivial things like fashion, material things, socializing, etc. Also, mall rats that give in to peer pressure and all want to look & dress alike, cliquish and cruel kids who disrespect authority and make fun of the less popular kids. Then you have all the subgroups such as jocks, nerds, goths, punks, skaters, emos, cheerleader/pageant queens, etc.”
- What’s your opinion on elderly people?
Marie Thérèse (aged 24, Bristol): “I have lots of respect for old people. I think I’m an old soul at heart. I’m always wishing I could have lived in the past; so listening to older people talk always fascinates me. I think it’s sad how our culture idolizes youth and beauty whilst shoving our old and sick out of view.”
Alice Davey (aged 19, Nottingham):“some are very wise and some are very foolish, depends on the person- just like young people; but all the same we should respect them deeply”.
Callum Moore (aged 16, Thornbury): “I like old people they’re full of wisdom, I don’t like the grumpy ones though”.
Kyle Brookes (aged 16, Leeds): “They drive slowly, can’t see, drink decaf coffee, are heath freaks, have small dogs, hate teenagers, like jazz music, adore Elvis, listen to AM radio, only watch the news on tv, call a TV a television, expect everyone to bow down to them, wear diapers, impotent, bad breath, reads the paper, crossword puzzles, wheelchairs, loves small children, can’t remember important things, gives good advice, pencils on eyebrows, doesn’t bathe, likes to bake, spoils their grandchildren, is typically rich, lives in a huge, clean looking home, likes to golf, goes on walks every morning, and is lonely.”
Rhian Meek (aged 23, Liverpool): “Lately I have been thinking that they don’t really fit in, in society anymore. In the last 100 years or so they don’t seem to adapt to the times that they are living in. all of the older people I have had conversations with end up making me angry. They all want the Internet to go away, they hate texting, pretty much everything having to do with technology. The whole wise thing doesn’t apply anymore. It used to back when technology wasn’t a factor like it is today. Elderly people have no idea how the world works anymore. They have no idea how the job market works anymore; I could go on and on. The only thing that they are good for is to hear stories about the old days and what they did.”
As you can see, the opinions vary with some people having extreme prejudices whilst others are very positive.
While researching stereotypes we found these are the most common stereotypes for elder people:
- Most older people live in institutions
- Retirement is less difficult for women than it is for men
- Alzheimer’s disease is to be expected with old age
- Older workers are less productive than younger workers
- Sickness and disability come with old age
- Older people cannot learn
- Older people are more fearful of death than are younger people
- Old people are sweet and kind and at peace with the world
- Old people are weak and helpless
- Old people have no interest in or capacity for sexual activity.
- Old people are boring and forgetful
- Old people are unproductive
- Old people are grouchy and cantankerous
- Old women are a burden on everyone
- Old age begins at 60
- Old people do not have feelings
- Old people are past being consulted about anything – even their own lives.
- The majority of older people are set in their ways, unable to change
- The majority of older people view themselves as being in poor health
- The majority of older people are lonely and are isolated from their families
While researching stereotypes we found these are the most common stereotypes for younger people:
- Known for using drugs and drinking
- They don’t know a lot
- “Sex Mad”
- Don’t like old people
- No respect
- “Fresh Minds”
- Thugs/ Chavs/ Yobs
- Have things too easy
- Fast Drivers
- Can’t cook
- Don’t care about politics
- Free/ Strong Willed
- Appearance Obsessed