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Sociology of Social Problems

1. What are the effects of individual and institutional discrimination?

Discrimination has both physical and psychological effects on the person facing it. The physical effects include poor appetite, headaches, sleeplessness, weight loss, ulcers, bruises, health deterioration, poor personal hygiene, and a change in eating habits. Emotional effects include lack of confidence, low self-esteem, insecurity, feelings of being unwanted, disengagement, stress, depression, lack of cooperation and anxiety. The social effects include feeling like a stranger among colleagues, problems in forging friendships, poor performance, poor job prospects, isolation and lack of friends. Long-term effects include loss of motivation, mental illnesses, low life opportunities and reduced individual rights.

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Institutional discrimination is easier to detect because it involves a group rather than a single individual. However, institutional discrimination is more difficult to control and eliminate for the same reason: it involves a large number of people. Changing the behavior of a group is more difficult than changing the behavior of a single person.

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2. How do media representations of the elderly (or lack thereof) contribute to the prevalence of negative stereotypes about the elderly?

Of the old people that appear on TV screens, majority of them seem to be foolish, eccentric, comical, and stubborn compared to other characters. This, in turn, paints a negative picture about the elderly in the viewer’s mind, which is not necessarily the case. The media usually shows images of struggling old people, who might be a minority, and rarely do they show images of thriving old people. Advertisements such as those for bladder control or Viagra for men make many people fear getting old as they communicate a feeling that the old are helpless.


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3. What arguments can be made for making divorces more difficult to obtain?

It is a norm now, especially among young marriages, that the solution to their marital problems is an outright divorce. These couples never take time to discuss their problems, or even understand their problems; they simply look at a divorce as a means to end the relations. Secondly, marriage is slowly turning into a business where young women marry rich men only to divorce them a few years later, and escaping with half of their hard-earned wealth.

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What arguments can be made for making divorces easier to obtain?
The longer a person is in a failed marriage, the higher the chances that one of the couple will be mistreated both physically and emotionally. In such a situation, divorce proceedings should be expedited in order to preserve the health of the mistreated partner.

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