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ERIC Number: ED223494
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982
Pages: 6
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Second Childhood.
Arluke, Arnold; Levin, Jack
Public Communication Review, v1 n2 p21-25 Win 1982
Ageism (unfair stereotyping of older adults), deeply embedded in the culture of 20th-century America, is reinforced by television and newspapers. The media depict old people as rigid, meddlesome, sexless, conservative, unhealthy, and forgetful. Most pernicious of all old age stereotypes is that of second childhood. Popular culture portrays children and old people together as though they have personality characteristics in common. In advertisements, old people are given the personalities, dress, physical problems, playthings, and activities of children. Drug advertisements portray them as throwing tantrums, greeting cards depict them dressed in children's clothes, and one laxative advertisement praises an older woman's regularity by implying that she is a "good girl." Unfortunately, such identification with children lowers the social status of old people and robs the "gray power" movement of adults who might otherwise work for political change and social betterment. Clearly, efforts need to be made to change the media's demeaning portrayal of old age. (Author/KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Journal Articles; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (San Francisco, CA, September, 1982).