Adverse effects of media on America
Women in America are one of the largest and highly influenced populations of our society. Whether young or old American women are adversely effected by media in many ways. Young girls and women are highly influenced by images of models, from clothing styles and makeup to lifestyles of the rich and famous. Young girls are dying in large numbers from starving themselves, because the media sells thinness as beauty. Middle aged women are maxing out credits cards to live up to societal standards according to advertising in magazines and on TV. Adverse effects of media on American society are shown increasingly in aging women. The emphasis on youth today as presented by the media, on television, in books and magazines affects not only how the youth of today perceive older individuals, but especially how older women perceive themselves. Women who identify with physical appearance are more likely to suffer a lack of self-esteem with declining youth.
Ageism, prejudice and discrimination based on age and fueled by stereotypes and myths concerning older adults, contribute to a negative image of aging.
Additionally, Western Society views death as a loss of control rather than a natural part of the cycle of life, which can induce a negative cultural stereotype, and aging may suffer more from social isolation in the future. Growing numbers of elderly result in a greater economic burden, not just on their families, a rapidly aging population poses serious challenges to public policy today. This creates a fear of uselessness and becoming a burden on society, which initiates and perpetuates negative bias and stereotypical attitudes regarding aging.
Ageism in this country has had a major effect on women's health and well-being as a whole. The life expectancy for women today is eighty, and increasing dramatically. One third of these women are impoverished and half of them die in nursing homes. Of those, money spent on medical costs is the predominant cause of bankruptcy and suicide. Some may face homelessness.
The needs and problems of older women as well as their strengths are being recognized and addressed due to the increase in research and studies over the past two decades. However, largely influenced by the media there is still negative influence on ageist attitudes today. Until addressed, these attitudes and the consequences of ageism on the elderly population will continue be a detriment to women and society as a whole.