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Ageing, Images and Attitudes


Thu 27. 8.  14:00 - 15:30
room FA 204

Is Elderly Asexual? – the Image of Elderly Women and Men in Polish Media and its Social Consequences


Świątek-Młynarska, Paulina
Jagiellonian University, Poland

The aim of this paper is to analyze the image of elderly women and elderly men functioning in Polish popular culture texts (such as soap operas and TV commercials), which have a major impact not only on the development of the stereotypical image of seniors, but also the formation of social norms about how to live and displaying their sexuality in old age. Modern and developed (not only) European societies face the demographic challenge of an aging population. This process progresses most rapidly in developing countries, to which Poland is classified. In this context, it is important to understanding the problems of the elderly, very often seen through the prism of stereotypes associated with old age. Elderly people often are treated by social scientists as a homogeneous category in terms of gender. Seniors gender identity is not paying too much attention for gender studies, or social gerontology. The biomedical model is dominant - the old men and women is referred to as sexual beings, if you are considering the diseases associated with the male or female reproductive system. Images of elderly men and women have been analized in the most popular Polish TV series (last 10 years emissions), and commercial advertisements. The analysis focused on issues such as the very presence of men and women (makeup, clothes, etc..), exhibited social activity, and the context in which seniors are portrayed. It turns out that the way of presenting old men essentially no different from the young characters of the same sex, while the old woman (other than young and middle-aged) are presented through the prism of the role of grandmother. The paper is an attempt to explain the reasons for this situation.