Online dating has become increasingly popular among older adults following broader social media adoption patterns. The current study examined the visual representations of people on 39 dating sites intended for the older population, with a particular focus on the visualization of the intersection between age and gender. All 39 dating sites for older adults were located through the Google search engine. Visual thematic analysis was performed with reference to general, non-age-related signs (e.g., facial expression, skin color), signs of aging (e.g., perceived age, wrinkles), relational features (e.g., proximity between individuals), and additional features such as number of people presented. The visual analysis in the present study revealed a clear intersection between ageism and sexism in the presentation of older adults. The majority of men and women were smiling and had a fair complexion, with light eye color and perceived age of younger than 60. Older women were presented as younger and wore more cosmetics as compared with older men. The present study stresses the social regulation of sexuality, as only heterosexual couples were presented. The narrow representation of older adults and the anti-aging messages portrayed in the pictures convey that love, intimacy, and sexual activity are for older adults who are “forever young.”.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis.
- older adults
- online dating sites
- visual representations
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Gender Studies
- Geriatrics and Gerontology