An Exploration of Older Men’s Acceptance of Age Inequality


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Virginia Tech


Age relations treat old people as marginal to occupational and dating networks, stigmatizing them as unattractive and unfit to do valuable work (Calasanti 2003; King 2006). Those systems intersect with gender, in which men gain privilege by associating themselves with skilled, valuable work and athletic performance, and women with sexual receptivity and artificial display (Calasanti and King 2007). In the intersection of age and gender, men lose much of their privileges as they grow old and leave the workplace, dismissed as no longer able to perform on valued jobs (King and Calasanti 2013). A large anti-aging industry markets to men products that promise to restore sexual potency and workplace assertiveness, as ways to counter the emasculating effects of old age (Calasanti 2007). Among studies of inequality, that of age relations provides a unique opportunity to test the extent to which a group can reify its own eventual subordination. This is due to the temporal nature of age relations (Calasanti 2007; Spector-Mersel 2006). We test for the hegemonic effect of masculinity.