With 12,000 baby boomers turning 62 everyday, American society is entering into a new era of age distribution (ILC-USA Annual Report, 2007). Its attempt to cope with this change is evident in every scope of the private and public sector, as well as in the lives of individuals. The issue pervades the media, as a result, persons that are not directly affected by the changes this places on society are at least familiar with the change in an abstract sense. Because of the way the greater rhetoric has been angled, the younger members of society are getting a message that they are financially burdened by this change in the form of taxation. Specifically, paying for the Social Security of the large and growing group now eligible, which is the elderly. The young members of society are not the only ones who are burdened by this trend in rhetoric, though. The older members of society face burdens of a different nature as a consequence of this ideology.
The Media has been pointed to repeatedly for presenting an ageist bias when visually representing the American population. This forces one to ask the question: Why is the media promoting these messages? What purpose does this serve society?
The focus of this paper will be on the affects of ageism in American society, specially for women. For the purpose of this essay, I will first define ageism qualitatively and give examples of it in its different forms; including: structural, institutional, interpersonal and embodied ageism. I will discuss the various consequences that this can and does have for our society with the aid of the theories of Stereotype Embodiment and and the notion of the Looking Glass Self. I will then apply the theories of functionalism, symbolic interactionism and conflict as possible explanations. When discussing functionalism, I will use Herbert Spenser's evolutionary model to understand ageism as a necessary part of the development of society. I will employ...