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People respond to the unpopular opinion: ‘It's wrong to call elderly people cute.'

People respond to the unpopular opinion: ‘It's wrong to call elderly people cute.'


Reddit's 'Unpopular Opinion' community is a place for people to pose discussions about subjects they believe are typically ignored — or to state opinions they think go against the grain. They're not always as 'unpopular' as advertised, but the following is an interesting point you don't hear too often, and sparked an interesting discussion in the comments. The OP wrote:

Unpopular Opinion: Calling older people “cute” and treating them like children is wrong and harmful

Disclaimer, I’m in my early 40’s but this has been concerning me since I discovered it was a thing back in 2012. Since then I’ve encountered people with this attitude both professionally and personally and it seriously makes me feel sick.

One was a manager towards a 70+ colleague who is more capable than most 30 year olds I know. However, I reached a new level of disgust towards this attitude after watching a YouTuber go on about adorable old people ad nauseum.

Maybe it was because I was raised to respect my grandparents and see them as experienced humans, but I don’t get it and it seems wrong.

Older and elderly people are just that, older people. Sure, some aspects of our health and vitality decline as we get older and we can and often do lose some of our mental acuity, but it doesn’t remove a person’s life experience nor reduce an adult to a child. And they sure as hell don’t like or want to be treated that way.

People need to keep in mind that growing into old age is hard and frequently painful because of the sheer amount of loss. We start losing the things we took for granted. People lose their mobility, their approval to do things like drive a car, their health, their independence and their place in the world.

If you have strong family bonds it helps but regardless it also comes with grief and a sense of loss purely for the personal consequences of aging. We also start losing the friends, partners and contemporaries we’ve had for years as they either sicken or die. It’s not all misery but it’s something many people aren’t prepared for and it’s a difficult journey.

It’s got to be compounded by the fact that western society treats the elderly as a nuisance. And then have randos in the public or in services treat them like children as they lose their autonomy and the way of life they’re familiar with? Fuck that.

In researching the effects of infantilising the elderly, there’s clear evidence of how deeply it negatively affects people. And it does hurt people. Even if there are shitty older adults out there it’s still not okay to treat them like toddlers.

Rather than focusing on how you feel and treating people in a way that satisfies your idea of who and what they are, maybe get to know them and match them where they’re at.

There’s nothing wrong with thinking a person is cute. But don’t do it just because a person is “old”. Everyone has mannerisms that can be identified as “cute.”

But if you think someone is cute because they’re struggling, don’t get something or simply have advanced age, that’s not healthy and maybe don’t project that onto someone.

That’s my unpopular opinion, anyway.

Some reactions to the opinion:

From __KWM__:

As someone who previously worked with the elderly population I can confirm, they find this very degrading. As someone who has worked with elderly people I can tell you not all of them are as cute as they look. Some of them were horrible people in their younger lives and are now disguised as “cute” old people.

From angie-98989:

It's sad that people can't see older individuals as anything other than helpless.

From MissusPringle:

I never thought about this until some whippersnapper caller my wife and me cute. Like, dude. I was barely 50. Cute. I’ll show you cute. Now I do not do that unless the person is objectively cute regardless of age. Well. Even then I keep it to myself.

From Evil-Abed1:

Cute opinion, sport.

From UTMachine:

Ageism is as real as any other form of discrimination. You're right to call people out on it.

From SymphonyofLilies:

It’s not a recent trend. People have been saying that for decades. They usually mean well by it, but I do get what you are saying. It is demeaning.

From Respawnattempt228:

I’m not understanding this. Some old people are objectively cute

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