Let’s stop this silly worship of youth!
by Lester and Irene David
Overemphasis on youth, say authorities, has created a cult that is producing unhealthy attitudes. Here are ways that the picture of youth vs. maturity can be put into proper focus
When an authority on social behavior and marriage relations expresses concern over a situation he terms “unwholesome and damaging,” we think the problem is worth investigating.
Dr Abraham Stone, director of the Marriage Consultation Center of New York’s Community Church, believes that the country is over-worshiping feminine youthfulness — to an alarming extent. Challenged by this charge, we decided to discuss the subject with psychiatrists, psychologists, and sociologists in various parts of the country.
We’re presenting here a distillation of their views. And as a result of our research, our own conviction is: Dr Stone is right. There is a strong current of feeling in our society that the world spins mainly for the teens and 20s, and that anyone over 30 — especially the woman over 30 — had better take a back seat. Americans today are not only putting a too-high premium on youthfulness; they are relegating maturity to a second-class status.
Dr Dan W Dodson, director of New York University’s Center for Human Relations and Community Studies, told us, “In my work at the center, I have noted a definite over-emphasis on youth and glamour, and this is not only an unrealistic but an unhealthy attitude. It tends to make young girls so self-centered about their appearance that they have difficulty adjusting to their roles as normal human beings. And it makes women not of the youth group feel inferior.”
In how many of the movies and TV dramas you’ve seen is a middle-aged woman the romantic heroine? Aren’t love and romance in these plays almost always portrayed as the exclusive province of the young-in-years?
(Article continued in the print magazine)
Photos: The woman on the [first photo] can underact her years, but… in accepting her maturity, she reveals rich qualities that youth cannot match