Generally writers of both fiction and non-fiction have learned to avoid stereotypes, but there’s one group that still gets patronized and stereotyped a lot: the elderly (in some cases, meaning anybody over 40 or so).
The other day I spotted an article at Entrepreneur.com, a site with lots of useful content, that had this title:
“A Social-Media Marketing Primer Even Your Mom Can Handle.”
Wait a minute, Jim Joseph (the author of the article and the title)...
OK, my own mother can’t handle a social media primer because she’s no longer alive. But there are lots of mothers around, woman from 20 to 90, and a lot of them can handle just about anything. The ones who take an interest in social media don’t need to be condescended to.
Of course it’s not motherhood he’s really referring to, it’s age and gender. A few people called him on it in the comments, and his reply was: “Sorry, meant to be cute, but I understand it doesn’t read that way...going to fix it.”
So far it’s not fixed, but at least the feedback was clear enough that even a middle-aged columnist could understand it.