A story that appeared on Reddit has highlighted some of the issues that can emerge when opinions from yesteryear arise in 2021, sparking a fierce online debate about tolerance and the acceptance of older people and their opinions.
The post – which appeared on a thread entitled ‘Am I an A**hole’ where people come to debate moral dilemmas – was made by a woman who is currently providing palliative care to her own mother in her mother’s home.
The woman’s 5-year-old son and her boyfriend are also currently living in her mother’s home with her, and both were present when the woman’s grandmother made a visit to the home.
She continued, “My son likes to paint his nails whenever I do. It just so happens that we painted our nails the day before yesterday and he chose a really vibrant lime green, his favorite color, mine as well.”
According to the woman, her grandmother was highly upset when she noticed that her great-grandson was wearing nail polish, prompting the elderly woman to approach her granddaughter’s boyfriend and remind him that it’s his job to instill ‘masculine traits’ in the boy.
The grandmother then is alleged to have told the boyfriend that he should discipline “the femininity” out of the boy, which is when the woman stepped in and attempted to kick the grandmother out of the house.
The grandmother then reminded the woman that the house is not hers, which then spiralled into a yelling match between the pair where they both told one another to “get out”.
Due to all the commotion, the woman’s terminally ill mother [owner of the house] appeared and aggressively told them both to shut up.
“[My mother] later confirmed that she just cowers to her mother, and didn’t think I was in the wrong, and that she would have [been angry] too,” wrote the woman.
As society continues to evolve, so do the values that underpin what we currently deem as acceptable behavior.
The overwhelming majority of commenters responding to this particular story were “appalled” by the grandmother’s behaviour, with some labelling her a “bully” and “homophobic” due to her hardline stance regarding her great-grandson wearing nail polish.
Race, religion and sexuality are topics that people seldom discuss with their grandparents – and for good reason – as societal opinions regarding these subjects have undergone a dramatic shift over the last century.
Although the woman posting the story did acknowledge that her grandmother still held the same stereotypical views as those who grew up in the 1950s, neither she nor those commenting on the story felt that this was reason enough to forgive and accept.
Like everyone else in society, elderly people may harbour some viewpoints that you detest, however, instead of arguments and name-calling, you may be better served to simply smile, ignore and move on to the next subject.