Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ageism in the media

You need look no further than in the fashion and lifestyle magazines and on the TV to see that people of a certain age, especially women, are seriously under-represented. Ageism is showing itself in all of areas of global culture from films, music, advertising, fashion and even in the news. There is no denying that popular culture is rooted in youth and energy and that is reflected in all our media.

Alarmingly, advertising and films tend to promote images of older persons in a negative light – as helpless, bumbling, and forgetful – in a stereotype described jokingly as “senior moments”.

Many Hollywood actresses have drawn attention to the fact that once they have past 40, there are less and less roles for them in movies. Female newsreaders will more often than not be “put out to pasture” as they get older and begin to show signs of aging while their male counterparts continue in the industry despite greying hair and facial lines.

As a result of this, women have been pushed to resort to face and body enhancements to accommodate the relentless demand for all things young and youthful. The extent of this demand has resulted in girls as young as 12 and 13 advertising beauty, perfume and fashion products as representative of the “ideal woman” and one women “would most like to look like”. The media has continued to be a willing participant promoting these impossible ideals.

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