NWSA Journal

NWSA Journal
Volume 18, Number 1, Spring 2006
Special Issue: Aging and Ageism

CONTENTS

Introduction

Poem

Interview

    Lipscomb, Valerie Barnes.
    Rich, Cynthia.
  • "We need a theoretical base": Cynthia Rich, Women's Studies, and Ageism: An Interview
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    Subject Headings:
    • Rich, Cynthia -- Interviews.
    • Ageism -- United States.
    • Women's studies -- United States.

Articles

    Calasanti, Toni M.
    Slevin, Kathleen F., 1947-
    King, Neal, 1947-
  • Ageism and Feminism: From "Et Cetera" to Center
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    Subject Headings:
    • Aging -- Social aspects -- United States.
    • Feminism -- United States.
    • Older people -- United States -- Social conditions.
    Abstract:
      Although women's studies scholars and activists do not deny the reality of ageism, they have relegated it to secondary status, neglecting to theorize age relations or place old age at the center of analysis. After explaining what we mean by age relations and their intersections with other inequalities, we discuss the ways in which old people are oppressed, and why age relations represent a political location that needs to be addressed in its own right. We then demonstrate ways in which feminist theories and activism might change if the focus shifted to old people.
    Keywords:
      ageism / age relations / race / sexuality / class
    Dillaway, Heather.
  • When Does Menopause Occur, and How Long Does It Last? Wrestling with Age and Time-Based Conceptualizations of Reproductive Aging
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    Subject Headings:
    • Menopause -- United States.
    • Human reproduction -- Age factors -- United States.
    Abstract:
      Despite the growth of biomedical and feminist research on menopause, we still lack a comprehensive definition of what reproductive aging is, when it begins, how long it lasts, and how women experience different menopausal stages. Likewise, while aging scholars have made strides in understanding age identities and the meanings attributable to various chronological ages, we lack an understanding of how chronological age figures into individuals' experiences, medical treatment, and academic research. The gaps in knowledge about chronological age are particularly glaring in regard to women's experiences. In this article I use data from 61 in-depth interviews with menopausal women to explore the ways in which chronological age appears in their discussions of menopause experiences and their interactions with doctors about this reproductive transition. I also describe how chronological age shaped recruitment efforts for my own study. I conclude that, despite unclear information about the age and time boundaries of reproductive aging, we still use chronological age as a way to diagnose and operationalize women's experiences at midlife. I argue that reliance on chronological age hinders understandings of menopause, women's midlife, and women's overall well being. Even though feminist research exists on the topics of menopause and aging already, feminist scholars need to work toward broader conceptualizations of menopause, women's midlife experiences, and aging processes and challenge existing definitions of menopause more directly.
    Keywords:
      aging / chronological age / duration / definition / menopause / reproductive aging / interviews / qualitative research
    Norris, Elaine.
  • Age Matters in a Feminist Classroom
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    Subject Headings:
    • Ageism -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- United States.
    • Feminist theory -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- United States.
    • Feminism and education -- United States.
    Abstract:
      This article describes the match between feminist epistemology and pedagogy in a service-learning literature and gender course in which undergraduates became partners with residents of a local retirement home. The author argues that, based on this classroom experience, age and gender belong together in a feminist critique of subjectivity because of the intersecting indeterminacies of the body and its significations.
    Keywords:
      gender studies / age studies / ageism / feminist pedagogy / feminist classroom / service learning
    Barnett, Barbara.
  • Focusing on the Next Picture: Feminist Scholarship as a Foundation for Teaching about Ageism in the Academy
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    Subject Headings:
    • Ageism -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- United States.
    • Feminism and education -- United States.
    • Education, Higher -- Aims and objectives -- United States.
    Abstract:
      Feminist pedagogy may offer a model for teaching about ageism in the university classroom. Because it challenges the status quo, questions assumptions about hierarchies and power, and encourages those typically portrayed as silent objects to become vocal subjects about their own experiences, feminist pedagogy provides an opportunity to help students learn about the experiences of the elderly as "the other." This paper suggests that teaching about ageism involves three strategies: making students aware of ageist stereotypes, helping students learn how to analyze images and texts, and preparing students to advocate for change. Instructors can help students to think critically about ageist stereotypes and can encourage students to consider how to change social messages that position the elderly as pariahs.
    Keywords:
      ageism / elderly / women / mass media / feminist pedagogy / feminism / service learning
    Dullemen, Caroline van.
  • Older People in Africa: New Engines to Society?
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    Subject Headings:
    • Older People -- Africa -- Social conditions -- 1960-
    • Intergenerational relations -- Africa.
    • HIV infections -- Social aspects -- Africa.
    • AIDS (Disease) -- Social aspects -- Africa.
    • Africa -- Social conditions -- 1960-
    Abstract:
      People in the West tend to have romantic views of aging in developing countries, where supposedly grandparents are respected for their contribution to society and for their wisdom. In our fantasies we see seniors in developing countries surrounded by happy grandchildren begging for another story. The reality is often very different. One in five of the poorest people of the world—those living on less than a dollar a day—are over 60 years of age. While their grown children leave for the cities, for Europe, the United States, or for the army, the elderly in developing nations struggle for daily survival. Moreover, the HIV/AIDS pandemic causes a profound change in the position of the older generation. After having taken care of their dying relatives, many grandparents are left with emotional and financial burdens, often including the task of raising grandchildren. There is an urgent need for a change of attitude toward the elderly, who should not be perceived as a burden to society but as key players in the productive and reproductive field.
    Keywords:
      old age / United Nations / HIV/AIDS / urbanization / refugee / intergenerational solidarity / demographic revolution / millennium goals
    Henneberg, Sylvia B.
  • Of Creative Crones and Poetry: Developing Age Studies Through Literature
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    Subject Headings:
    • Sarton, May, 1912- -- Criticism and interpretation.
    • Rich, Adrienne Cecile -- Criticism and interpretation.
    • Aging in literature.
    • Older people in literature.
    Abstract:
      As a comparative look at the works of May Sarton and Adrienne Rich shows, literature can contribute to the development of age studies in a variety of ways, some of which may not be obvious. Sarton's direct treatment of aging provides a key to the less apparent approaches Rich takes in her later career to further our understanding of age. Employing radically different strategies, the two writers constitute an odd couple of "creative crones" whose combined efforts have begun to generate a critique of aging that we as feminists and human beings desperately need as we confront the future.
    Keywords:
      aging / old age / senescence / ageism / May Sarton / Adrienne Rich / twentieth-century American literature / twentieth-century American poetry / creativity
    Overall, Christine, 1949-
  • Old Age and Ageism, Impairment and Ableism: Exploring the Conceptual and Material Connections
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    Subject Headings:
    • Ageism -- United States.
    • Older people -- United States -- Social conditions.
    • Identity (Psychology) -- United States.
    • Social psychology -- United States.
    Abstract:
      Much can be learned about (old) age-identity and age-related oppression by noting their similarities to, respectively, impairment and ableism. Drawing upon the work of Shelley Tremain, I show that old age, like impairment, is not a biological given but is socially constructed, both conceptually and materially. I also describe the striking similarities and connections between ableism and ageism as systems of oppression. That disability and aging both rest upon a biological given is a fiction that functions to excuse and perpetuate the very social mechanisms that perpetuate ableist and ageist oppression.
    Keywords:
      old age / aging / ageism / impairment / disability / ableism
    Port, Cynthia.
  • "Ages are the Stuff!": The Traffic in Ages in Interwar Britain
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    Subject Headings:
    • Macaulay, Rose, Dame -- Criticism and interpretation.
    • Aging in literature.
    • Older women in literature.
    Abstract:
      This article investigates an explosion of media interest in "women's ages" and the corresponding idealization of youth in Britain during the 1920s and '30s. In this period, the social implications of aging came to be seen as particularly vexed, especially for women, who were considered social commodities. Various contexts are identified in which the obsession with gendered age emerged, including changing economic theories of accumulation and consumption, shifts in population, the emergence of gerontology as a discipline, and the evolving status of women. Examining how both high literary works and popular magazines produced at the time articulated and responded to these new attitudes, the article concludes by considering Rose Macaulay's novels, Dangerous Ages and Keeping up Appearances. These novels reveal that economic dependence and restricted life choices contribute to women's keen sense of loss over time, and that these serious psychological costs are often disguised behind what is feared and mourned as the "loss" of youth. Ultimately, the anxieties about aging projected by early-twentieth-century culture served to deflect women's attention from personal and professional development that began to seem within reach after World War I.
    Keywords:
      aging / women's literature / twentieth-century British literature and culture / Rose Macaulay / youth cult / age studies
    Woodward, Kathleen M.
  • Performing Age, Performing Gender
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    Subject Headings:
    • Suleiman, Susan Rubin, 1939-, ed. Female body in western culture.
    • Warr, Tracey, ed. Artistís body.
    • Older women in art.
    • Body art.
    Abstract:
      How is the older female body represented in visual mass culture? Contrasting the performance of age in two recent feature films—About Schmidt and Pauline and Paulette—I draw on the strategy of Pauline and Paulette, which focuses on the older female body to the exclusion of the male body. I turn to the work of the artists Louise Bourgeois, Rachel Rosenthal, and Nettie Harris, exploring how they expose, critique, subvert, and exceed what I call "the youthful structure of the look," one that exhorts women to pass for younger once they are a "certain" age. In their work, the female body is presented boldly and bracingly as the continuing site of gender and sexuality. At stake is what I call "feminist aging."
    Keywords:
      age autobiography / aging / feminist aging / sexuality / the youthful structure of the look

Report

    Shields, Stephanie A.
    Schuberth, Rebecca L.
    Conrad, Danielle R.
  • The Women's Studies Ph.D. in North America: Archive II
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    Subject Headings:
    • Women's studies -- United States.
    • Doctor of philosophy degree -- United States.
    • Universities and colleges -- Curricula -- United States.

Review Essay

    Gresch, Nora.
  • Technologies of Governmentality and the Question of Feminist Politics: New Literature on the Relationships between National Narratives, Law, and Identity Formation
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    Subject Headings:
    • Gray, Frances (Frances B.) Women, crime, and language.
    • Halkias, Alexandra, 1965-Empty cradle of democracy: sex, abortion, and nationalism in modern Greece.
    • Menon, Nivedita. Recovering subversion: feminist politics beyond the law.
    • Rai, Shirin, ed. Mainstreaming gender, democratizing the State?: institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women.
    • English literature -- 19th century -- History and criticism
    • Abortion -- Political aspects -- Greece.

Book and Film Reviews

    Franzen, Trisha, 1951-
  • Whistling Women: A Study of the Lives of Older Lesbians (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Claassen, Cheryl, 1953- Whistling women: a study of the lives of older lesbians.
    • Older lesbians -- United States.
    Dollins, Annie.
  • Making an Exit: A Mother-Daughter Drama with Machine Tools, Alzheimerís, and Laughter, and: Losing a Life: A Daughterís Memoir of Caregiving (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Fuchs, Elinor. Making an exit: a mother-daughter drama with Alzheimer's, machine tools, and laughter.
    • Gerber, Nancy, 1956- Losing a life: a daughter's memoir of caregiving.
    • Kessler, Lilian -- Mental health.
    • Frankel, Charles Walter, 1922-2001 -- Health.
    Boris, Eileen, 1948-
  • Monitoring Sweatshops: Workers, Consumers, and the Global Apparel Industry (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Esbenshade, Jill Louise. Monitoring sweatshops: workers, consumers, and the global apparel industry.
    • Sweatshops.
    Clement, Grace.
  • Embodied Care: Jane Addams, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Feminist Ethics (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Hamington, Maurice. Embodied care: Jane Addams, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and feminist ethics.
    • Caring.
    Slagell, Amy.
  • Signatures of Citizenship: Petitioning, Antislavery, and Womenís Political Identity (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Zaeske, Susan. Signatures of citizenship: petitioning, antislavery, and women's political identity.
    • Women in politics -- United States -- History.
    Pepinsky, Hal.
  • From Madness to Mutiny: Why Mothers Are Running from the Family Courts and What Can Be Done about It (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Neustein, Amy. From madness to mutiny: why mothers are running from the family courts and what can be done about it.
    • Lesher, Michael.
    • Domestic relations courts -- United States.



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