I think I have a lot of biases that I haven’t exactly understood nor recognized until now. While I think that biases and stereotyping are mostly negative, I do believe that these things are part of everyday life and are bred from society and the norms that form with it. In other words, if we, as a society, try and end all biases and stereotyping, we may end up looking more like Stalinist Russia than the free world. One bias I found in myself was ageism.
As a society, we highly value youth, clear skin, and vitality. I can probably recite a couple articles I’ve read in the past month that had to do with the “Fountain of Youth.” American culture seems to be leaving the old behind, and I think this can be attributed to Hollywood and the mass media’s obsession with youth, beauty, and prolonged live (“A number of,” n.d.). Ageism can range from making jokes about old age to discrimination in the hiring process. In my opinion, America should become more like Eastern Asian countries when it comes to the elderly. Instead of being prodded and haggled, Eastern Asians show appreciation and graciousness towards elders and becoming older is considered a great thing.
Here’s a fact that shocked me as I was researching ageism: ninety percent of marketing money is targeted at people younger than 50 (Brown, 2015). This seems crazy to me, as I thought it would be equal throughout no matter how old you are. While I think that ageism will always exist since we are being fed Hollywood glamour magazines and beauty infomercials at a staggering rate, I do think that we can make strides to overcome ageism by simply staying conscious about what you are thinking about how you treat older people. If we all do this, I think it can positively impact this stereotype and limit its damage to our society.
- Ageism – Why Ageism Exists In American Culture. (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2017, from http://medicine.jrank.org/pages/58/Ageism-Why-ageism-exists-in-American-culture.html
- Brown, L. E. (2015, November 30). 5 Examples of Everyday Ageism. Retrieved September 12, 2017, from http://igrow.org/healthy-families/aging/5-examples-of-everyday-ageism/