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The term Old Age Pensioner is obscenely out of synch

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Everyday Ageism: FEMAIL columnist CHRISTA D’SOUZA, 59, argues that the term Old Age Pensioner is obscenely out of synch

  • Christa D’Souza, 59, argues the term OAP should be considered offensive
  • She says the term means so much more than being old enough to draw a pension
  • FEMAIL columnist claims Old Age Pensioner conjures the faint smell of wee

It’s the last tolerated prejudice. But Femail’s had enough. It’s time we called out those day-to-day moments when we’re patronised for no longer being young…

A reader, 68, writes how she is sick of the kindly person at the supermarket calling her ‘dear’ or ‘love’ and asking if she needs help ‘packing her things’. It always makes her feel, she says, like she is in a care home and being asked whether she needs the toilet.

The biggest insult of all though, she says, is being referred to as an OAP, especially since she is a keen Harley-Davidson rider.

Christa D'Souza, 59, (pictured) argues the term Old Age Pensioner should be considered offensive, as it cruelly conveys a faint smell of wee

Christa D’Souza, 59, (pictured) argues the term Old Age Pensioner should be considered offensive, as it cruelly conveys a faint smell of wee

Old Age Pensioner. How many keen motor cyclists, runners and yoga fanatics in their late 60s and 70s have bridled at being described as such.

On paper it may mean nothing more than a person old enough to draw on their pension — 65 for women, going up to 66 in October 2020 — but when used in everyday life it means so much more.

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Perhaps it was appropriate in 1950 when the average life expectancy in the UK was around 65, but in the 21st century, when many of us are living full and vigorous lives well into our 80s and 90s, it feels obscenely out of sync.

But then isn’t this just another example of a) how lazy we can be with language and b) how ageism has kind of dodged a bullet when it comes to political correctness.

If ‘snowflake’ is deemed a word of abuse on university campuses and you can be given a warning at work for forgetting to refer to a transgender person by the right pronoun, shouldn’t the term OAP, which so cruelly conveys the faint smell of wee, be considered offensive, too?

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