Ageism Examined in Literature At Issue

At Issue

(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

Like all forms of prejudice, ageism influences the popular image of a group of people in a negative way that allows them to be categorized as less than human. Discriminatory cartoons, films, and television shows categorizing old people as lonely, confused, and unattractive perpetuate the myth that growing old is something to dread. Such myths, according to psychiatrist Robert Butler, reflect a profound prejudice against the elderly that goes beyond a classic fear of old age to “unreasonable fear and/or hatred of old people.”