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Representations of Age in Media

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Jemma Coleman

on 16 July 2013

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Transcript of Representations of Age in Media

Representations of Age in Media
Linked to the ideology of ageism...

Negative feelings towards, and/or discriminatory behaviour against, a person or group because of their age.
Ideological assumptions about age rely on biological characteristics and ignore the social construction of age.
Children are presented as innocent, adolescents are presented as rebellious and the elderly are presented as helpless.
Content analysis of representations of the elderly on American television shows that women are under-represented compared with men, and that traditional sex-role stereotyping prevails.
Content analysis...
Representations of elderly women of all classes tend to be affected by ageist assumptions.
Adolescents or 'youths' tend to be represented in a negative way.
'Youths'...
Drug-takers
Examples...
Hooligans
Muggers
Violence
School failure
Anorexia
Self-harm
Teenage pregnancy
Bulimia
Anti-social behaviours
Suicide
Children...
Children are seen as innocent and mischievous - they are vulnerable when victims of strangers but are represented as holding considerable 'pester-power' in persuading parents to buy things for them.
Stereotypes...
Harsh stereotypes cut both ways, against both the old and young.
Stereotypes - The Young
Immature
Stupid
Greedy
Lazy
Selfish
Unfit
Obese
Violent
Callous
Gullible
Unreliable
Careless
Underachievers
Stereotypes - The Old
Grumpy
Whining
Out-dated
Slow
Weak
Hard-of-hearing
Unable to use technology
Unhealthy
Miserly
Never go anywhere
Forgetful
Stanley Cohen (1972)
Cohen studied youth groups in the 1960s.
A moral panic occurs when society sees itself threatened by the values and activities of a group who are stigmatised as deviant and seen as threatening to mainstream society's values, ideologies, and/or way of life.
He said that...
Mods and Rockers were represented as football hooligans, muggers and vandals.
Mods and Rockers...
He said that working-class males are represented as yobs.
Stuart Hall (1978)
Gangs
He argues that...
The negative representation of young people is deliberate as it justifies social control by authority figures such as the police and government.
He said that...
The media has a key role in this 'social production' of news.
Examples of age in media...

Bart Simpson
Abe Simpson
"Bart's most prominent character traits are his mischievousness, rebelliousness and disrespect for authority."
Bart is an example of how the media stereotypically portray pre-teens and teenagers.
"Grampa is a veteran of both World War I and World War II who was later sent to the Springfield Retirement Castle by Homer. He is known for his long, rambling, often incoherent stories and incompetence."
Again, this is stereotypically how the media portray the elderly.
Lisa Simpson
Lisa, however, is the opposite of how the media stereotypically portrays pre-teens and teenagers.
"She is highly intelligent and plays the baritone saxophone. She has been a vegetarian since season 7, converted to Buddhism in season 13 and advocates for a variety of political causes, including the Tibetan independence movement."
Mona Simpson
Although not a returning character, Grandma Simpson is another example of a character portrayed differently to the stereotypes of the elderly. She is a political activist and is in no way slow or weak - she is also a fugitive of the law. Again, this is something that isn't often shown in the media.
Skins
Off Their Rockers
“Off Their Rockers sees senior citizens turn the tables on unsuspecting members of the public in a series of ‘funny’ and unexpected pranks.”
It challenges the stereotype that older people are slow and helpless.

"Skins is a British teen drama that follows the lives of a group of teenagers in Bristol, South West England, through the two years of sixth form."
This TV show explores many issues that are common for teenagers, such as substance abuse and mental illnesses (like depression and eating disorders). A lot of the time it shows the teenagers getting into trouble and/or danger.
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