Scholars Program Lecture by Susan Douglas

The Media, Baby Boomers and the Advent of New Age Ageism
01 Mar 2016 -
6:15pm to 7:30pm
Annenberg School for Communication, Room 109
Open to the Public

Baby boomers, the first television generation, the rock’n’roll generation—76 million strong—are now approaching retirement.  The first baby boomers—those born between 1946 and 1964—turned 65 on January 1, 2011.  And now, according to the Pew Research Center, for the next 19 years, about 10,000 people will turn 65 every day.  How are the media, notorious for their obsession with youth markets and especially the millennial market, confronting and representing this major demographic shift?  This talk will explore the contradictory terrain of aging in America, where negative stereotypes of older people are colliding with “new age” ageism, a recent, media-crafted zeitgeist whose central tenet is that aging is something we can and should “defy.”  The talk will pay special attention to the intersections between ageism and sexism, and emphasize how neoliberal discourses about personal responsibility frame and mark off good successful aging from bad failed aging.   

Susan Douglas is the Catherine Neafie Kellogg Professor of Communication Studies at The University of Michigan and former Chair of the Department. She is author of The Rise of Enlightened Sexism: How Pop Culture Took Us From Girl Power to Girls Gone Wild (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2010); The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Undermines Women (with Meredith Michaels, The Free Press, 2004); Listening In: Radio and the American Imagination (Times Books, 1999), which won the Hacker Prize in 2000 for the best popular book about technology and culture, Where The Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media (Times Books, 1994) and Inventing American Broadcasting, 1899-1922 (Johns Hopkins, 1987). Where the Girls Are was widely praised, and chosen one of the top ten books of 1994 by National Public Radio, Entertainment Weekly and The McLaughlin Group. She served on the Board of the George Foster Peabody Awards from 2005-2010, and in 2010 was selected as Chair of the Board. She is the 2009 recipient of the Leonardo Da Vinci Prize, the highest honor given by the Society for the History of Technology to an individual who has greatly contributed to the history of technology through research, teaching, publications and other activities. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with her husband.  

For those attending the lecture, there will be a cocktail reception in the Forum from 5:15-6:15pm.

If you would like to attend this event, PLEASE RSVP to Emily Plowman.

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