From Zoomers to Geezerade: Representations of the Aging Body in Ageist and Consumerist Society
This paper is based on an analysis of representations of seniors in the media. In particular, we examine images of the bodies of seniors in the advertising campaigns promoting a product called Geezerade sold in Circle K convenience stores in the Atlantic provinces of Canada in the summer of 2011. We contrast these with images of seniors in the Canadian magazine Zoomer , formally CARP magazine, a magazine published by the Canadian Association of Retired People, a seniors advocacy organization. Following Goffman’s arguments in his seminal presidential address to the American Sociological Association, “the Interaction Order”, we take the position in this analysis that the body does not determine social practices but none-the-less the body is the sign vesicle that enables interaction. Concomitant however, while the images of bodies we see in the media do not determine the signs given and given off via bodily presentation, they none-the-less provide us with the categories by which we interpret those signs. We conclude that the images in the Geezerade campaign and Zoomer magazine represent a binary model of images of seniors that reflects ageist and classist assumptions about the bodies of seniors. Such a model limits the categories through which we understand the aging body and fails to account for the diversity of seniors’ bodies in society.
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