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Ageism and the Media

Ageism and the Media

Women over forty are constantly being either ignored or belittled in the media. There are countless women in their twenties and early thirties all over television and the movies. In magazines, the models tend to be much younger. Many are under twenty.

Model Roxanne Daner is only 17, but her career will be over by the time she’s 20. “I’m afraid to get old. I already feel old. I like to tell people that I’m 17, because 17 sounds young and they think that there is so much ahead for you. But 18, it’s like there is not that much more – there’s really only two more years.” (Changing Face of Beauty: Illusions). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 42% of Americans are fourty and older. In 1999, the Screen Actors Guild reported that only 1 in three roles went to performers over fourty. However, women over fourty fared worse than men of the same age. While 37% of male roles in television and film went to men fourty-years-old and over, only 24% went to women of the same age. 34% of male lead roles went to older men while only 21% went to older female leads. These depictions of older females are far from accurate when compared to the population.

Now that’s not to say that there’s nothing out there – surly there are some additions to the re-runs of the Golden Girls – “the Bridges of Madison County,” even older sex symbols like Sean Connery. But nothing commensurate with the size, wealth, and media dedication of the older population. (Starr)

Of the top ten network television shows (excluding reality shows and game shows) for March 5-11, 2001; all ten portrayed men over forty while only seven portrayed women over forty. There were twenty-five males and seven females over forty. For every one female, t…

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… Life Time Entertainment Services. 2000

Changing Face of Beauty: Models Life Time Entertainment Services. 2000

Changing Face of Beauty: Views. “Sela Ward” Life Time Entertainment Services. 2000

Changing Face of Beauty: Views. “Maricia Gillespie” Life Time Entertainment Services. 2000

Douglas, Susan J. Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media. New York: Random House Publishing, 1994, 278.


Wolff, Naomi. The Beauty Myth. New York: Doubleday Publishing, 1991

Objectification of Women by the Media

Objectification of Women by the Media

The objectification of women is commonly used to refer to the presentation of women in the media as an object. Women’s bodies are routinely used as objects to sell various products. In certain pictures women are presented as being vulnerable and easily overpowered especially in ads were they have on revealing clothing and take on submissive roles. These images are found in music videos as well, where the focus is only a particular body part. Lyrics to some songs promote this objectification as well.

“In many magazine advertisements women are often viewed as objects rather than human beings. Instead of focusing on the woman as a whole, many ads will just focus on one part of her body” (Objectification of Women).Often the focus is on a leg, a neck, a headless torso, etc. One Guess Eyewear ad has a man’s head resting on a woman’s torso. While her breasts are visible, her head is not. Skyy Vodka continually uses women’s legs in their advertisements. One ad for Lily of France which spans the bottom of two pages not only focuses on a headless torso, but compares the breasts to speakers. Women’s bodies are used as desirable objects to attract attention to the product. This is occurring in increasingly ridiculous ways. An ad for Visa found in several teen magazines shows only a woman’s stomach. A naked woman with her face tucked away holds a Palm Pilot. The text reads, “Simply Palm”. About-Face (an organization which combats negative and distorted images of women) features commentary on that particular ad. “Simply gratuitous use of naked female body to sell high-end electronic gizmo to gullible (mostly male) public. Esquire magazine featured on its Febuary 2001 cover, a naked Ital…

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…phy Ignites the Self-Destructive Pursuit of Perfection.” Student Advantage. 1998

Bonzo, Amanda. “Objectification of women stems from media images.” Pennsylvania: Collegian Inc. 2001.

Dittrich, E. A. “Sociocultural factors that influence body image satisfaction in women. “(Doctoral Dissertation, California Institute of Integral Studies, 1997.)

Dissertation Abstracts International. 1997

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Vol. 75, No. 1, 269-284

Mtv News Now: “When Sex Goes Pop: Not That Innocent” Viacom International. Inc. 2000.

Avner, Judith A. New York Governor’s Task Force on Sexual Harassment Sexual. “Harassment: Building a Consensus for Change.” 1993

Objectification of Women. “Sexual Objectification of Women” PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, V7N2, March-April 1999

Zarchikov, Rebecca, “Show Me, Don’t Tell Me.”

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