The “generation gap” is an important social tool for any repressive society. If the younger members of a community view the older members as contemptible or suspect or excess, they will never be able to join hands and examine the living memories of the community, nor ask the all important question, “Why?” This gives rise to a historical amnesia that keeps us working to invent the wheel every time we have to go to the store for bread.
We find ourselves having to repeat and relearn the same old lessons over and over that our mothers did because we do not pass on what we have learned, or because we are unable to listen. For instance, how many times has this all been said before? For another, who would have believed that once again our daughters are allowing their bodies to be hampered and purgatoried by girdles and high heels and hobble skirts?
Audre Lorde in “Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Difference” (1980)