Double standards of aging essays examples


The principle of the double standard of aging is thought to be more prevalent on women as compared to men. This principle dictates that women and men become less attractive as they advance in age, but the rate at which women become less attractive is rapid as compared to men’s rate. This principle has also found evidence of a difference in judgment in relation to masculinity and femininity as far as advancement in age is concerned. For men, there was hardly a difference in their judgment of masculinity while there was a significant difference on the judgment of women’s femininity as they grey older (Sontag 1972). The purpose of this paper is derived from these statements. The paper highlights the significances of this topic. Additionally, this paper gives and insight on the historical background of this topic and the application of sociological theory as far as this topic is concerned.


This topic has some significance in societies today. It is important to note that most people in the present world live in self denial and illusion of eluding old age (Bartos, and Wehr 2002). A 21st century lady would do anything to look twenty years younger, and this is the reason why people ought to be well acquainted with this topic. The importance of the study of the principle of a double standard of aging is designed to help young adults in determining their attitudes towards old age and most especially if they have varied attitudes towards old men and women. For this reason, this topic serves an imperative role in helping young adults to distinguish between the consequences of aging in women and men (Stolley 2005).

Conflict theory and its relation to double standard of aging principle

Definition of conflict theory
Conflict theory is a sociological theory that puts emphasis on the functions of coercion and intimidation as far as the production of social power is concerned. This angle of thought was derived by Karl Marx that perceived society as comprising of fragments that are constantly competing for both economic and social power. He further categorized these fragments in terms of femininity and masculinity. According to Karl Marx, every society has two antagonistic forces that compete frequently in a generation but one force keeps winning with the other losing each time. Women normally loose the battle to men as they advance in age simply because of the principle of a double standard of aging (Bartos, and Wehr 2002).

The relationship between conflict social theory and double standard of aging

There is a clear relationship between conflict theory and the principle of a double standard of aging. According to this principle, the society perceives aging in women different from how it perceives aging in men. As a result, more pressure is exerted on women as far as age is concerned which in turn leads to a much higher psychological cost on their end. Ideally, advancement in age has never been liked by either man or woman (Stolley 2005). This is because it leads to reduced sexual attraction and functionality in both men and women. However, women are frustrated by the fact that men’s reduction in their attractiveness is compensated by increased respect from the society and the notion that men become wiser and more interesting as they grow old whereas women have nothing to compensate for this loss of sexual attractiveness. There is hardly any achievement in women that can be attributed to the appearance of wrinkles on the face.
Owing to the fact that growing old comes along with variant status in the community for women and men, the notion of old age is attributed to varying psychological costs and processes. As a result, the previously equal men and women gradually become different in terms of fight for equality as age progresses. This is where the sociological theory of conflict comes to play. It is important to mention that women suddenly feel inferior to men even to those that are younger than them. Women see this as a war that must be fought, and this is why most women try as much as they can in order to maintain their youthful looks. They are known to invest much funds and time into preserving their youth. Sadly, this does not stick for long and hence they eventually lose the battle (Sontag 1972).


In conclusion, therefore, the principle of a double standard of aging is a significant topic that helps in making comprehensive conclusions on the difference between men and women brought about by age. Therefore, it is important that people are well acquainted with this subject in order to be able to draw meaningful borders that conflict societal matters of men and women.


Bartos, O. J., & Wehr, P. E. (2002). Using conflict theory. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Sontag, S. (1972). The double standard of aging. Ontario: Women’s Kit.
Stolley, K. S. (2005). The basics of sociology. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.