Saturday 17 February 2024

What is driving ageism in everyday life?...

"I think there are a number of factors that are driving it. So they're both structural factors and individual factors. So the structural factors include age segregation. So in our country, we've gone from being one of the most age-integrated cultures/countries in the world to one of the most age-segregated cultures in the world. And we know that ageism can lead to the age segregation. And then, age segregation can, in turn, increase the ageism. 

We also know that there are a number of industries that profit from ageism and negative age stereotypes and negative age beliefs. So I had a professor who once said to me that when you want to try to understand what's happening in a society, you should look to see who profits. And we know that there are companies, such as in advertising, in social media and also in the anti-aging industry, which generate a trillion dollars together of profits in part by denigrating aging and creating a fear around aging. 

Which creates a desire, they believe, to go out and take on these products that actually battle aging or have this advertising campaign around aging as being something that we should fear and try to overcome, and it's something that's negative in our society. So those are some of the structural factors. 

And in terms of the individual factors, we know that there are aspects of how individuals take in age beliefs. So we know that children as young as age three take in the age beliefs of their culture. We know that then they're reinforced over time. And we also know that they can operate without our awareness. They can operate implicitly. So that's another way that ageism has increased and seems to be quite prevalent today."

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photograph (New York, 1980s) by Steven Siegel via