Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Aging Healthy - Part 1 » Ageism - Stereotypes About Age And Older Persons, Why Ageism Exists In American Culture, The Role Of The Media In Supporting Ageism

Ageism - The Evolution Of Ageism

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In the workplace, there has been substantial progress in eliminating ageist policies and practices as a result of the federal ADEA. No longer can employers advertise for jobs limited to those "age thirty-five and younger," or mandatorily retire employees at age sixty-five. Training and promotion opportunities must be provided to employees without regard to age. Multi-million-dollar cases against companies who discriminated against older employees have made employers more vigilant in educating their employees about ageism and in instituting procedures and policies to prevent age discrimination. Publicity about large age discrimination cases against major U.S. corporations has brought a greater awareness among the public about ageism in the workplace.

Yet ageist attitudes, which may be hidden or subtle, persist in the workplace. For example, employers who do not want to hire older workers are likely to tell the older applicant that he is overqualified rather than too old. Similarly, older employees are often denied promotions because they lack potential or drive, which can be concealing ageist views that older workers are set in their ways. Supervisors and coworkers still make ageist comments about the ages or aging of older employees.

Attitudes about aging in the media have also improved over time. The vast population of aging baby boomers has led some commercial advertisers to target this growing consumer market with positive messages about middle age. By the 1990s the portrayal of older people in television shows had improved somewhat over the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1990s, prime time drama television shows, daytime serials, and commercial advertising featuring older persons presented a more neutral image or even an improved overall image of the aged by featuring older characters who appeared powerful, affluent, healthy, active, admired, and sexy.

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