The other day I was perusing the aisles of Wal-Mart, walking though the aisles until I found my self in an aisle filled with vitamins and supplements. I wasn’t looking for anything but I looked around anyways, and something caught my attention.  Right at eye level, there was a bright orange package reading “One-a-day Teen Advantage for her” right next to the women’s One-a-day. Wondering if there was even a difference between the ‘teen’ and the ‘normal’ vitamin, I stopped to pick it up and inspect the package. It had all the good stuff that vitamins have, vitamin A, B, vitamins to make your hair shiny, bones strong, etcetera. The normal One-a-day Women’s multi-vitamin, was priced a full 2 dollars cheaper and sold in larger quantities.

“Now, what would make such a price difference?” I wondered.

I picked up the women’s multivitamin, only to discover that the one difference between the two was that the women’s vitamin helped support a healthy reproductive system.

What a clever marketing idea! Take the stuff to help a women’s reproductive system out, sell it for more money and market it to teens because no reasonable adult likes to think about irresponsible teenagers having sex!

Never mind that most teenagers are past puberty and are fully capable of reproduction.

This is a sad example of how ingrained ageism is in our society. It permeates every inch of our society, especially in big business. Corporations like Mattel and others, who market to kids not only contribute to the ageist mindset this country has, but they will most likely fight any cultural shifts to the contrary.  These companies have big money invested in kids wanting their toys and parents buying them for their kids. If people were to start to think of kids as capable beings then they might start to purchase less childish gifts, like chess or checkers or books instead of Barbie’s and Hotwheel’s, for a child’s birthday or Christmas.

The big business side of ageism is often overlooked, but it is there and it is painfully obvious when you look. There are hundreds of companies that made their fortunes off of young people and people’s ageism. They will most likely fight youth rights to the death. 

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