Old but Gold // 2021

How can the image of the elderly be improved? With this question we set to work on our project Old but Gold. We created a project about the generation gap between the youth and the elderly. During our research, we found out that both the elderly and the youth had many prejudices about each other. It looks like the generation gap is getting bigger, but we seem to forget that we also have a lot in common and that we can learn from each other’s life experiences. 

We interviewed two inspiring women about love, ambition and hobbies. We would like everyone to take a closer look at the life and surroundings of Gerda & Tooske. You will see and hear about the life choices they made that changed their future. In contrast, we show you what choices they would have made if they were in their twenties today and how that differs from fifty years ago. Our target audience is the youth and we wanted to create educational expositions at schools so that we could share the stories of the elderly and create more understanding between the two generations. Due to corona we couldn’t work out that idea but we did expose it on our exposition ‘Best before…’ at the academy. 

Gerda grew up in Rotterdam, she studied gymnasium there and then went on to study medicine at the university in Leiden. She is very outspoken about women’s rights and joined the action group Man Woman Society. From there she became interested in gynecology and then went on to study this at the university hospital in Leiden. In the period in which she gave lectures at university, this was mainly about sexology, the body of women and equal rights for men and women.

If Gerda had been born fifty years later, she would probably be a very different person from who she is today. “I don’t think I would have been happier then. The hardening of society, it has become much more aggressive. The period after the war was characterized by we are all going against it, there was much more togetherness then. ”

Gerda would continue to work for women’s rights & more awareness of female sexuality. “We know a lot about male sexuality but almost nothing about female sexuality. Dealing with your own body and experiencing sexual pleasure from it is extremely important to discuss with your partner. You have to discover this yourself and not with your partner. There is still a taboo on masturbation.”

Tooske grew up in Eindhoven, where she studied at a domestic science school. After that she worked as a cleaner, as bartender at Philips and then started working as a receptionist at the Maxima Medical Center in Eindhoven. Tooske got married to Henk at an early age because this was required by the family. She did not want to marry Henk at all, but if she did not do this, she was not allowed to go anywhere and she would lose her freedom. Tookse would have liked to see more of the world, but it was no bigger than her own street. 

If Tooske had been born fifty years later, she wouldn’t get married or have children. “It was normal to do it back then, but I would never do it again if I had the choice. You thought it would bring you happiness in life to get married and have children.”

Tooske tells us that she would have had very different friends if she were in her twenties at this time, she only got to know her current friends at a later age. “There were people who were allowed to continue studying, but we didn’t actually interacted with them. You had a street in a working-class area and you were with those people. They were all kind of the same as you were. Your world was very small. Because of this you also did not have the space and the opportunity to look for: Who am I? Which friends are right for me? You did it with whatever came your way.”