In My Corner: KO’ing Ageism Paradigms

gail gensler talks about paradigm

Pro-Aging Fitness Kuel Thought Leader: Gail Gensler

How does one go about changing a paradigm?

“Paradigm Pioneers,” as he calls them, must have intuition, courage, and commitment.”

Why Paradigms Are So Tough:

I’ve always been a big fan of Joel Barker, who is a renowned futurist, author, and lecturer. He’s gone in depth as to how people can topple a paradigm and replace it with a new one. He states that one of the core reasons why paradigms are so tough to get past is because many people believe that the future is “an extension of the past.” This is the way things were, this is the way things are, and this is the way things will be. It is far from impossible to illicit change however, no matter how deep-seeded a paradigm is.  

“Paradigm Pioneers,” as he calls them, must have intuition, courage, and commitment. These people have thick skin, a calculated approach, and are hard-working. They are usually on the outer fringes of society. There will surely be trials and tribulations; the first one through the wall always gets bloody, as they say. But they are steadfast, for no one said breaking down a paradigm would be easy.  

I consider myself a “Paradigm Pioneer.” My target? Ageism in the fitness apparel space as it relates to marketing and advertising. Luckily, I’m not alone! 

The Problem(s):

I’ve talked at length about how ageism is a prevalent theme in the fitness apparel industry. You won’t see a woman in midlife like me on the walls of a Lululemon store. People my age are not expected to box or lift weights or be an overall beast in the gym. Even though plenty of us are, the paradigms about people my age and fitness still exist. This type of mindset also exists in business and fashion.  

“People my age are not expected to box or lift weights or be an overall beast in the gym.”

You ever see ads for “anti-aging” products? I bet you have, because they’re everywhere. This term in itself is ageist. What’s wrong with aging? Nothing! The idea that aging=bad is the core of the paradigms I’m trying to get over. “Anti-aging” should be replaced by “aging well” or “aging gracefully.”

It happens to everyone; why are we acting like it’s a virus that must be treated before it spreads? And let’s not even begin with how women are taught to fight the aging process, while men are celebrated for looking more “distinguished” or “dashing.” We’re gonna throw a dash of sexism on top of the ageism??? Please.

The Type Of Mindset:

You see this type of mindset in business as well, particularly during the hiring process. Companies all around the world are incentivized to hire younger candidates in lieu of older, more experienced ones. Is it because they’re cheaper? Companies assume they can handle technology better?

I’ve always said that one of the root causes of marketing campaigns not featuring midlife men and women is because the ones crafting the ads are young and unable to see through our lens. There’s no midlife perspective in the room where these decisions are being made, and in turn, we’re not represented on billboards, magazines, commercials, etc.  

Paradigms on paradigms on paradigms, basically. That’s what me and my fellow midlife influencers are taking on each and every day.  

“These people are DYNAMITE.”

Inspirations:

I’ve been chasing this dream of mine for a few years now. When I started, I was just a 59-year-old boxing aficionado who loved fashion and traveling. I knew next to nothing about the midlife influencer community; I was just passionate about changing the mindset on aging around fitness and wanted to see if I could make a difference. Fast forward to today however, and I find myself drawing inspiration from my fellow influencers who share the same ultimate goal as me.  

These people are DYNAMITE. I had no clue there was such a supportive and rock-solid community of influencers like me who also want to see these ageism paradigms end. I like to think I have the intuition, courage, and commitment needed to end this mindset, as Joel Barker highlighted. But I’m certainly not alone in this pursuit.  

It certainly hasn’t been easy and I’m cognizant of the fact that I might not see my goal accomplished in my lifetime. With a little help from my fellow “Paradigm Pioneers” though, we can KO ageism paradigms and leave our legacy for future generations.

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Gail Gensler

About the Author:

Gail Gensler is proudly 60 years young. Her goal is to change the narrative about aging, both to a younger demographic so that they realize that there is nothing to fear about aging, but primarily to her peers, to inspire them to never take their wellness for granted and always strive to outperform your years. Gail is who she is because of fitness with her favorite workout being boxing.
She doesn’t believe in age, she believes in energy, and finding energy in activities that make her feel alive. Gail embraces a completely healthy lifestyle encompassing fitness, nutrition and supplements, sleep and a positive mindset. Want to work with Gail? Find her here! Gail lives the statement that age is truly just a number. Follow Gail on Instagram.