7 Things Grace and Frankie Teach Us About Ageism
Grace and Frankie was an award-winning series that ran on Netflix for 7 seasons. The plot centered around two women getting divorced in their late seventies. The comedy starts with a tale of companionship to one of advocacy against beliefs, behaviors and attitudes that devalue older adults and distort their dignity. Throughout the plots and twists of Grace and Frankie’s lives, we learned these 7 lessons about ageism:
1. Older adults do not need to be patronized
As soon as she turns 80, Grace becomes invisible to her colleagues at work. When she tries to talk about eco-conscious products, she is offered a comfortable chair and referred to as “this old girl”. Not only do they patronize her, but when another colleague mentions eco-consciousness, every behaves like this was the first time they heard the term!
2. Older adults do not want to withdraw.
Series like Grace and Frankie depict older adults wanting to be involved. Grace, who remains active in her own company and saves it from bankruptcy, shows despite her age that older adults still want to contribute, guide others from their own experiences, and be active and included. This should not be denied to them!
3. Older adults can be independent.
Compromised independence was a recurring theme in the fifth season of Grace and Frankie, with their children forcing them to get a home aid, and eventually even sending them to a residential facility. Grace and Frankie attack the imposition of dependence onto older adults just because their kids decide so! Cheers for them teaching their kids they do not need anyone to live their lives fully!
4. Older adults still have sex.
Seeing Grace kiss Nick, and Frankie kiss Jacob, might be surprising – but older adults are also romantic. Growing old does not make you asexual. Older adults do have sex.
5. …and masturbate
Grace and Frankie created a new vibrator designed for women with arthritic hands! Marketing their product to older women reawakened perceptions about older women’s sexual needs.
6. …and also need sex education
As a bonus product to accompany the vibrator, Frankie creates a lubricant for more comfortable use. Frankie then had to explain what lube was to Grace. Addressing sexual difficulties in older adults is problematic. Grace and Frankie shows how there is no need for embarrassment in addressing these issues. Older adults have sex and need to be knowledgeable about methods to protect themselves.
7. Older adults have a lot to offer
What is inspiring in Grace and Frankie is that in their seventies, the two female protagonists start two companies in the span of six seasons. One of them was aimed at helping older adults raise from their toilet seats, yes – but it is inspiring because while it never shies away from problems associated with age, this sitcom shows there is so much more to the older adult than that!
Betapsi. (April 19, 2021). 7 things Grace and Frankie teaches us about ageism. Retrieved from https://betapsi.mt/2021/04/19/7-things-grace-and-frankie-teaches-us-about-ageism/