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Essay about Labeling Theory and Media Stereotypes of the Elderly

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Labeling Theory and Media Stereotypes of the Elderly
Introduction
Stereotypes have an overwhelming effect especially on the people they are directed towards. Studying stereotypes helps in understanding the factors leading to discrimination of certain people and not others. This is because stereotypes are depictive of opinions that are often passed from one generation to another within a particular culture. Mass media such as television and newspapers form a common source of opinions in the contemporary society (Kotter & Hess, 2012). The media presents messages in steady, repetitive, and compelling manner, making them believable to almost everybody. Stereotyping opinion and depictions from the media can thus have detrimental effects on the group being marginalized. Stereotypes and perceptions about aging have great impact on how the society perceives and treats the old (Bennett, 2010). Moreover, the stereotypic perceptions, whether positive or negative, affect how the old people view themselves. Stereotypes significantly influence the cognitive and functional aspects of the old and can thus have great effects on old people. Media plays a major role in dispersion of stereotypes. Most media portray ageism with extreme pessimism and often lead to rejection of the old in the society (Barnhart & Peñaloza, 2013). However, media has at times played a role in creating awareness about the need to treat the old appropriately, leading to enhanced perceptions about ageing. This paper will focus on reviewing the existing literature on media stereotypes of the elderly. The review will involve comparison and contrasting views of different researches on how the media disperses stereotypes about the elderly and the effects of such stereotype on how...


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...e and negative stereotypes result from lack of information and misconceptions and do not depict the reality about the elderly.
The issue of media stereotyping about the elderly can be addressed using the labeling theory, which argues that individual’s behaviors and self-image are shaped by the names and reputations accorded by others. Therefore, people are likely to align their behaviors with the society’s expectations or perceptions. In relation to media stereotyping, media plays a crucial role in shaping societal perceptions. Therefore, the tendency of media to symbolize the elderly as less capable physically or mentally leads to assimilation of certain behaviors by the elderly, which may destroy their self-image. Therefore, it is important that the media avoided misinformed or untruthful opinions about ageism to protect the welfare of the elderly in the society.



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