ERIC Number: ED250615
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Poor, Dumb, and Ugly: The Older Women in Contemporary Society.
Troll, Lillian E.
A commonly held bias in American society is that being an old woman is not a desirable state. One variety of this bias is stereotyping, which involves a restrictiveness of attitudes, so that old women are seen as possessing a limited and circumscribed set of qualities or characteristics. Restrictiveness also is associated with distortion and negative valences. The most detrimental aspect of bias is that the objects of that bias share the attitudes of the other members of their society, tending to stereotype, distort, and look down upon themselves. The findings from empirical studies examining the stereotype of old women as poor, dumb, and ugly have remained similar over the past 15 years. The majority of people below the poverty line are women over 65. Younger generations have more schooling than their mothers and grandmothers, even though women of all ages went back to school and jobs during the flood period of the late 1960s and 1970s. In addition, old women labeled attractive have to look youthful. In relation to men, old women lack power in society, except in the family. However, to negate the stereotype of the old woman, one has only to observe her diversity and to grasp the idea of relativity when defining old age. The older woman should be viewed from another perspective, one in which her life history records her transformations and individuality throughout her lifespan. (BL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (92nd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August 24-28, 1984). Best copy available.