Tag Archives | Epebiphobia

American Ephebiphobia

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Picture: Anthony22 (CC)

Thomas J. Leeper writes at Psychology Today (last year):

American mass culture is obsessed with youth: abundant beauty treatments aim to curb the signs of aging, literature frequently emphasizes the innocence of youth, and young love is glorified for its naiveté and lack of complication. But, Americans rarely take a positive view of youths themselves. Many of us are ephebiphobes – fearful and loathing of young people. While we love the condition of being young, we see young people as threatening, ignorant, lazy, and disengaged. What’s the deal with that?

Harvard professor and acclaimed scholar of intergroup relations Jim Sidanius has written about how human societies tend to have three hierarchical systems: (1) gender-based system, where men have disproportionate power and influence, (2) “arbitrary-set” system, where groups arbitrarily defined (e.g., around race, religion, creed, etc.) are given disproportionate power and influence, and (3) an age system, where adults have disproportionate influence over children.

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