Ageism in America
Ageism can be defined as any attitude, action, or institutional organization which subordinates a person or group because of age or any obligation of roles in society purely on the basis of age. As an "ism", ageism reflects a prejudice in society against older adults. Ageism is just as large as racism in America. As death is dreaded, old age is dreaded; death and old age are viewed as the same in American culture. Ageism attitudes and stereotypes provide to shield the young and middle-aged from the fear they feel towards the elderly. Ageism is studied in the Western Culture by Anthropologist. Anthropologist notice western culture see ageing as a fear instead of being someone knowledge of wisdom like older countries do. This fear results from the reality that the older adult is viewed as representing aging and death.
The cross-cultural differences in thoughts towards the aged may in part be due to different point of views. There are three factors to contribute to the growth of ageism. First, death is not viewed in Western society as a natural part of the life cycle. Those cultures which view life and death as a constant course of action display fewer ageist thoughts. For example, fewer ageist thoughts are exhibited in Japan and the Middle East. Second, older individuals are viewed as useful in many small-scale traditional cultures. In fact, they are often the power negotiator within those cultures. This can be compared with Western society where older adults are thought of as unproductive and more of burdens then helpful. Last, not all cultures like America focus on their youth. Therefore, other cultures have a higher value on the later stages of adulthood in a person’s life.
Another factor that contributes to ageism is the emphasis on the youth culture in American society. The media, ranging from television to novels, places an emphasis on youth, physical beauty, and sexuality. Older adults are primarily ignored or portrayed negatively....