• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What Is Ageism; What, If Any, Affinities Does It Have With Racism or Sexism?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Toby Fowler What Is Ageism; What, If Any, Affinities Does It Have With Racism or Sexism? Ageism is a very sensitive issue and one that therefore must be handled properly and sufficiently. Both racism and sexism are topics which are widely recognised as problems within society and are constantly attempted to be combated, however ageism is not so widely recognised as a serious problem, an often people will not actually know what it is, or even that it exists in society. Primarily we must state and identify what ageism, racism and sexism are by definition. Only after this can we attempt to investigate what ageism actually is, why it is a problem, how it appears and occurs in our society, the problems that it causes and what can be done to counteract the problems of ageism. Once we have established these entities, we can compare ageism to other sociological issues such as racism and sexism and whether or not there are any affinities, or similarities among them. Ageism is defined as, "any attitude, action or institutional structure, which subordinates a person or group because of age or any assignment of roles in society purely on the basis of age"(Traxler 1980). Robert Butler, who was the first director of the National Institute on Aging, brought about the term 'ageism'. Butler likened ageism to racism and sexism and often compared the three issues as major problems. Racism is defined as 'belief in an innate superiority in a particular race over another' or, 'antagonism to a different race based on this belief' (2000 Oxford dictionary). Sexism is classified as 'discrimination towards another on the basis of their sex' (2000 Oxford dictionary). Even from their basic definitions we can see the similarities that all three have in common, racism, sexism an ageism are all prejudices against a human being due to a single outlining factor, whether it be sex, age or skin colour. ...read more.

Middle

women can be defenceless against men because society has enforced that role upon them, and elderly people cam be seen as ugly or boring because that is what our society wants them to be, just because they are not smooth skinned models, does not mean that they are in any way ugly. Palmore identifies four common responses to ageist opinions. These are 'acceptance, denial, avoidance or reform' (Palmore pp. 96-102). Therefore an elderly person may feel that he or she should appear old, even if they do not feel so inside. If an individual receives racist taunts, or simply feels that he or she is an outcast in a particular place due to their skin colour and culture, then they will naturally and understandably change the way that they act in society. It acts on the same principle when an elderly person receives rejection in society for being old, they may stop or reduce social activities. Internal negative imagery within a person, whether they are receiving racist, ageist or sexist abuse, can often cause that person being prejudice against him or herself. Persons whom are receiving prejudices against them can often shut them selves away from society, which is what Palmore calls the 'avoidance'. It makes sense that if someone feels rejected due to their skin colour, they will want to hide or move to an area where they will be accepted, similarly, an elderly person may wish to avoid society by hiding in their home or moving into an old persons home where they will only be around other elders. This is also seen through victims of sexist abuse, where studies have shown that 65% of women who undergo such abuse, hide away in their homes because they are scared to go outside, in some cases women can even develop hatred towards men. ...read more.

Conclusion

As it can be seen women can be victims of ageism due to sexism and vice versa, although they are separate issues, they often come hand in hand. As with sexism and racism, ageism has huge impacts on individuals self respect, esteem and motivation, limiting their potential in society. We will all eventually grow old, the most important thing is to accept that, as we must except women are no better than men, men are no better than women, and no race is superior to another. The older generation is very valuable to the structure of our society, and ageist perspectives are jut devaluing a valuable resource in our society. There are many battles going on to fight racism and sexism, but what is being done to combat ageism? To start with we can educate society more about growing old and the life of an elderly person. If we knew more about death and learnt about its spiritual aspects maybe we would not be so afraid of it, and ageism would not be so prevalent. Changes must be made in the media, institutions like businesses, government and social services. There are organisations such as the Gray Panthers, whom monitor and respond in a watchdog manner to negative images of the old in the media. We can see that there are many similarities between ageism, sexism and racism, and the problems are often interlinked. Whether or not these problems will ever be solved or eradicated from our society is the real issue. There certainly needs to be much more research into ageism, its problems, how it is brought about and the effects that it causes in society, as it is research is fairly limited. Unfortunately if we look at the research for racism and sexism, there is a massive amount but the problems still continue to persist. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. How Is The Harshness Of Community Life In Starkfield Conveyed By Edith Wharton?

    We realize that this was n important part of their life and they held their respect in high regard. In comparison to this, we find that in today's time respect is disregarded and free will is observed as authentic. My reason for this statement is that there had become a

  2. 'How far do these sources support the historian Vincent Crimon's view that the witches ...

    The Reformation began when a German priest voiced his disagreements with the way that the Catholic Church was run; this resulted in his excommunication from the Church. The priest named Martin Luther then went on to present his views to others who then took them on.

  1. The ancient civilizations of Central and South America

    The basic of this empire were, nonetheless, built during this time period. At the time of AD 300, the Classical Period began when the different tribes in the Mayan empire combined. This can be considered the golden age, or height of the empire.

  2. Why were Witches women?

    - (D. Willis, 1995, in web page). Holistically speaking, the Church's contribution to witchcraft fears and prosecutions led to the general belief within society that demons actively interfered upon the Earth and that witches were hugely prevalent concerning the interactions with and/or the dealings with such forces upon the Earth.

  1. Organizational Perspectives on Stratification.

    Within the core sector there is evidence of significant adverse race and gender main effects on the earnings even after controlling human capital and occupational variables, while there is no significant evidence of this in the peripheral sector. The process of earning determination differs between sectors even when the analysis is restricted to full-time employed white males.

  2. Sexism is a form of prejudice.

    For example, the chore of cooking the meals, the percentage of just of just women cooking has decreased but it has risen for the job now being shared. In the future I think that all the jobs, excluding taking care of the children and disciplining them will all be shared.

  1. Mateship has long been a major aspect of the national image as projected by ...

    In addition to being sexist, Thompson (1994, p136) argues that bush mateship is also racist. Aboriginal women were trapped as slaves for the sexual needs of the white men in the outback. And in fact, as Thompson (1994, p147) points out, the convict women faces a similar adversity as the Aboriginal women in the outback.

  2. Despite ongoing changes in society, sexism still remains a burning issue" - Discuss

    'Human' is also a sexist word and so is 'woman', both of those words contain 'man'. Here is a list of some sexist words in the English language: 'human', 'history', 'woman', 'mankind', 'Walkman'. As we can see the English language is very 'man' dominated.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work