media representations of age

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  • Representations of Age
    • Childhood
      • Six stereotypes in media: 1. cute 2. little devils 3. brilliant 4. brave little angels 5. accessories 6. modern
      • Heintz-knowles study children on American TV motivated by relationships, sports and romance - rarely shown coping with issues like racism
      • Heintz-knowles also found positive representations engaging in pro-social actions
        • about 40% tv drama
        • last 15 yrs realistic drama featuring issues from child point of view
      • functionalist argue essential part of socialisation, media equips children with values and norms needed
      • tv commercials socialise them become active consumers
        • Evan and Chandler led new family pressure: pester power (power of children manipulate parents to spend money on consumer goods
          • greater anxiety for poorer parents
    • Youth
      • magazines produced specifically for young people; networking sites allow young people project identities
      • in news portrayed as social panic, immoral, anti-authority or part moral panic
        • major moral panic since 1950s around concerns of young people's behaviour
        • Wayne et al- 286 news items, 82% focused young people as victims or perpetrators of violent crime
        • only 1% news items feature young people perspective or opinion
        • distracts from real problems young people might face caused by society of government failure
      • pluralists: media representations reflect social reality
      • Interactionist: argue young people labelled by older generations as threat because often challenge their authority
      • Postmodernists: in postmodern society, negative portrayals only small aspect of media representations, actually diverse and pluralistic. young people are accomplished creators
    • Ageing and elderly
      • old age devalued by parts of media industry - emphasis on youth & beauty in TV, advertising & film
      • Charity age concern (2000) - elderly underrepresented and portrayed negatively: grumpy, mentally challenged and burden
        • Robinson et al: neither students or elderly liked adverts that poked fun at elderly or presented them as out of touch or unattractive
      • recent research suggest media producers reinventing how to deal with elderly, now realise group have more disposable income to spend on consumer goods
        • Lee et al representation of elderly in advertising only 15%
          • of those adverts 91% portray as 'golden agers' who are active, alert and successful
        • some research suggest positive stereotypes are unrealistic does not reflect loss of status, poverty or loneliness


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