Recently came across this, a 2009 guide for media and advertising folks on how to avoid perpetuating ageism in the media, which is in itself a nuanced conversation. But it’s worth having a look at and thinking over for those who like to consume their media with wider, kinder, eyes. Here’s Senior Planet’s summary and cheatsheet on the document:
“Media Takes: On Aging,” a 53-page style guide for journalism, entertainment and advertising, lays out the many subtle ways in which older people are ignored, stereotyped and demeaned on a daily basis and recommends language that is respectful and inclusive.
You might not agree with every one of its recommendations, but as the guide’s introduction states: “Media do oftentimes perpetuate ageism, even if inadvertently. Still, they have the best forums and opportunities to offer redress and to ensure that they are providing accurate depictions of older Americans.” In other words, you can use online commenting features as a way to demand fair representation; when you see the invitation to comment, do so! Most important, the guide is worth reading because it can help us to more clearly parse the media we’re consuming and see the less obvious messages that they carry.
- Fewer than two percent of prime-time television characters are age 65 and older, although this group comprises 12.7 percent of the population.
- Research shows that people who watch large amounts of television believe that older people are in poor shape financially and physically, have no sex lives, and are closed-minded and inefficient.
- Approximately 70 percent of older men and more than 80 percent of older women seen on television are treated with little if any courtesy, and often with reason – because they’re perceived as “bad.”
- Twice as many older people portrayed on TV are men, while in reality older women outnumber older men; and television portrays women as “seniors” at a younger age than men, who are more often portrayed as productive professionals.
- When older guests are booked for late night shows, they are often asked to make silly cameo appearances, rather than sit down and talk.
- In its representation of older people, much of the media focuses on those who are infirm, ignoring the 80 percent of us who are healthy enough to engage in normal activities.
- Conversely, now that there’s a growing population of active people 60 and up to market to, we’re seeing a surge in images of “Woofies” – a term coined to describe the Well Off Older Folks whom advertisers are trying to reach. This surge underrepresents less well off older people and affects how as a society we think about programs like social security.
IMPERIAL CENTER, CORUSCANT – The overwhelming military superiority of the Galactic Empire has been confirmed once again by the recent announcement by the President of the United States that his nation would not attempt to build a Death Star, despite the bellicose demands of the people of his tiny, aggressive planet. “It is doubtless that such a technological terror in the hands of so primitive a world would be used to upset the peace and sanctity of the citizens of the Galactic Empire,“ said Governor Wilhuff Tarkin of the Outer Rim Territories. “Such destructive power can only be wielded to protect and defend by so enlightened a leader as Emperor Palpatine.”
Representatives on behalf of the nation-state leader from the unimaginatively named planet refused to acknowledge the obvious cowardice of their choice, preferring instead to attribute the decision to fiscal responsibility. “The costs of construction they cited were ridiculously overestimated, though I suppose we must keep in mind that this miniscule planet does not have our massive means of production,” added Admiral Conan Motti of the Imperial Starfleet.
The Galactic Empire Public Relations team responds to the White House’s refusal to build a Death Star. Star Wars Blog, Planet Earth Abandons Death Star Project In Face Of Superior Galactic Imperial Power.
Fighting words, no?
In a way, staring into a computer screen is like staring into an eclipse. It’s brilliant and you don’t realize the damage until its too late.