Ashton Applewhite started to grow older and asked herself – why is our view of late life so grim when the lived reality is so different?
That question led to her blogging about it on Yo, Is This Ageist, speaking about it, and writing the book This Chair Rocks. She even created the Old School Anti-Ageism Clearinghouse to educate and drive her mission further.
An Accidental Writer
Ashton got into writing not because she meant to, but because she had a gift. In 1982, she released her first book as Blanche Knott, Truly Tasteless jokes. While Ashton had a softness for the kinds of jokes that would make you cringe and guffaw at the same time, she finally wrote them down. That collection became a best-selling paperback and even later was a clue on Jeopardy.
Ashton wrote many books as Blanche, even earning four of the fifteen spots on the New York Times bestseller list at one time.
Turning to Serious Writing
It wasn’t until 1997 that Ashton used her own name and tackled a serious topic. In her first book, Cutting Loose: Why Women Who End Their Marriages Do So Well, she examined the question of why we look at women’s lives after divorce as this depressing thing, yet it was so different from the reality of what many women experienced.
This Chair Rocks & Ageism
It was a similar question that propelled her to write This Chair Rocks. She began trying to answer the question of why our view of aging is so grim by blogging about it in 2007, starting speaking about it in 2012, and gave a TED talk in 2017.
As her platform has grown, Ashton has been recognized by the New York Times, National Public Radio, the New Yorker, and the American Society on Aging as an expert on ageism and named as a Fellow by the Knight Foundation, the New York Times, Yale Law School, and the Royal Society for the Arts.
Her questions of why we have such an ageist view in our society has sparked a huge conversation that we absolutely love.
Challenging the Status Quo
Ashton continues to look at ageism from a variety of angles, from descrimination in the workplace to the misinformed portrayal of older people as a burden of society. She constantly reminds her audience that it’s not ethical – or legal – to allocate resources and weigh the needs of the young against the old.
Old School Anti-Ageism Clearinghouse
To continue her mission, Ashton began Old School, a collection of free, carefully vetted resources to educate people about ageism and how to dismantle it.
Within Old School, you’ll find blogs, books, articles, videos, speakers, workshops, handouts, and more that are free and accessible to the general public. Ashton created this resource with Ryan backer and Kyrie Carpenter to catalyze a movement of anti-ageism.
The Anti-Ageism Champion
I was floored when I read This Chair Rocks and found myself engrossed by it. Digging deeper into Ashton and what she’s doing for us Third Agers? Well, I love it! I love that there are others out there showing that not only can we have a healthier view of aging for ourselves, but we can change the perception of aging in our society as a whole.
Who’s with us?