The relationship between political ideology and the pursuit of staying forever young

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

Abstract

In an era defined by an aging population, the desire to look younger is so great, that the anti-aging industry is expected to grow by hundreds of billions of dollars within only a few years’ time. This research aims to investigate how the increasing interest to look younger is related to political ideology. We propose that accepting the ideal beauty of youthful bodies and pursuing physical youthfulness would be more prevalent among conservatives. We build this upon previous research showing that political conservatism is related to the acceptance of norms and values, as well as having strict boundaries for social perceptions and sensitivity to threat and losses. We conducted a pilot study which revealed that the queries related to anti-aging were more popular in states where political conservatism was higher in the US. Moreover, a survey among American participants revealed that conservatives tended to show a greater interest in preserving their youthfulness, and that they had more resistant attitudes toward aging. Moreover, they exhibited higher preferences for anti-aging benefits, compared to liberals and moderates. These findings contribute to extant literature on political psychology, body ideal, and ageism by demonstrating the relationship between political ideology and the pursuit of youthfulness, which is a neglected but critical dimension of the beauty ideal.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Population Ageing
Early online date5 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

The work described in this paper was supported by the Institute of International Business and Governance, which had been established and supported by a grant from the Research Grants of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (UGC/IDS/16/17).

Keywords

  • Youthfulness
  • Anti-aging
  • Cosmetics
  • Political ideology
  • Conservatism

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