Celebrating ageing with anti ageist birthday cards!

Celebrating ageing with anti ageist birthday cards!

Photo of Anti-Ageist Birthday Cards by Changing the Narrative CO

Serendipitously last year there were several anti-ageist birthday cards campaigns in Colorado, Finland and the UK. As a result, recently a range of people and organisations came together to explore developing an international collaboration to combat ageism by focusing upon Birthdays. By Dave Martin from The Centre for Policy on Ageing

We are looking at how we might use our respective positions, skills and networks to promote the birthday card concept as a tool for activism for other campaigns and activists. How we could further the promotion and distribution of cards, run more campaigns to invite anti ageist designs and to think about other ways of ‘birthday campaigning’. We think these could be so many different gifts and prompts which are all birthday related which can be used by folks to address ageism in a really playful and everyday kind of day (not that every day is your birthday! if only).

Our fear of ageing becomes installed from an early age. Children as young as 4 years are aware of their cultures’ age stereotypes and these are reinforced across the lifespan. We are bombarded daily by friends, family, media and society of the negative overtones of growing older and no longer “cutting it” as economically active, fertile, potent, strong, attractive, desirable or “of worth”!

There are cards for sale which mock people and their age, that commiserate and pity or try to help hide, or pretend it’s not so bad, suggest that drowning your sorrows is a good way forward or deny it’s really happening for ‘there’s still life in the old dog yet’ etc.

We are looking to stimulate our thinking about ageing and our negative attitudes associated with ageing across the life course – activist interventions for all ages. This needs to be for everyone, not a special ‘chin-up’ card for older people, as being targets, even for positive messages, just reinforces the same problem (i.e. old = bad, therefore you need some extra cheer via this card). So the card must be for people of all and any age. It also needs to directly speak to the experience of ageing or challenge fearful attitudes towards ageing, rather than being ‘ageing-neutral’ as the millions of cards which carry a nice picture and blank inside already do perfectly well.

To read more about the respective existing campaigns and to buy cards:

Anti-Ageist Birthday Cards – Changing the Narrative

Greeting Cards – Danger Doodles

Old School: Positive Aging Birthday Cards


Watch this space as we develop the international collaborative campaign – if you would like more information and/or would like to get involved in some way contact Dave at lifecourseageing@gmail.com


Read also:

Take action against ageism

If you want to talk about ageing, then do it properly

“How are you ageing today?” Art, Activism and Ageing


The Centre for Policy on Ageing is an independent charity promoting the interests of older people through research, policy analysis and the dissemination of information. The Centre aims to raise awareness of issues around all aspects of ageing and to support good practice. Its overarching focus is to discover and advocate what older people themselves want and need. www.cpa.org.uk


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