August 29, 2009

The Cult of Youth

There is a clothing store called Forever 21. The name puts me right over the edge. It implies that 21 is the golden age, the pinnacle of life. It also somehow manages to convey the message that anyone who isn't 21 cannot possibly be fashionable.

To add insult to injury, there is a new mega-sized Forever 21 right next to my local bookstore, ensuring that the shopping complex will now be overrun by scantily-dressed and rude young people. Ironically, this same shopping complex has had problems with loittering teens and curfew enforcement.

How did we evolve (and I'm not really sure that's the right term to use here) into a society that values youth and inexperience over maturity and the corresponding wisdom that comes from a life lived past 35? More and more, I am growing to resent the disenfranchisement by advertisers and the media of anyone older than 40. We aren't supposed to look our age, dress our age, or even act our age. Honestly, I'm really getting tired of one specific segment of the population so heavily influencing what I watch on TV or listen to on the radio or what kind of car I drive. Um...hello out there? It's the over-40 crowd that has the most discretionary income. And we're more likely to remain loyal to a product or brand. Since the average age-expectancy is now past 80, that's something to think about.

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