Gender and Aging: An Investigation of Television’s Infatuation with Youth and Beauty By Kendall Davenport An Honors Senior Thesis Submitted to the Department of Communication

  • Published 2008

Abstract

This thesis examines primetime television’s negative portrayal of the aging process as well as the double standard in aging that benefits men and punishes women. Unlike their male counterparts, older women in television shows are often portrayed in a negative light or, even worse, not represented at all. Older women are almost invisible in prime-time television shows and movies. In my analysis of “Desperate Housewives,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “The Comeback,” three popular television series, I argue how the under-representation of older women in television highlights and reinforces society’s negative connotations associated with aging and the glorification of youth and beauty. Further, based on my analysis, I argue that this lack of representation suggests that once women pass a certain point in their physical appearance, they lose their power and their voice. It is not only older women who are confronted with this issue as I will demonstrate through “Desperate Housewives,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “The Comeback:” as the obsession with youthfulness increases, younger women also feel the pressure. As a result, women try to defy the devastating hands of time by adopting apparently youthful characteristics such as appearing confused and needy.

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{2008GenderAA, title={Gender and Aging: An Investigation of Television’s Infatuation with Youth and Beauty By Kendall Davenport An Honors Senior Thesis Submitted to the Department of Communication}, author={}, year={2008} }