The Other within Us: Feminist Explorations of Women and Aging

By Marilyn Pearsall | Go to book overview

16
TOWARD ANOTHER
DIMENSION . . .

May Sarton

The tendency to think of the old only as deprived, as those we have shoved into nursing homes, neglected, only "half there," rather than as treasures and exemplars is one more example of the lack of imagination that keeps us in America from being truly civilized. It is as though the need for good nursing homes and care had blinded us to a greater reality, that old age can be magnificent! We have become neurotic about it -- to speak of it at all touches a raw nerve. Isn't all this a little as though we thought of children only in terms of the starving or disabled or neglected?

For old age can be a very rich time, and it is surely always an adventure, a new stage in growth, requiring immense courage and spirit. When I think of it, I think how many of my real friends have been older than I, and how from the time I was seventeen I hoped that little by little I would grow toward what I saw in them, wisdom and power. When I think of old age I think of Basil de Selin. court, well into his eighties, planting a huge vegetable garden each year and how he worked, having learned the slow pace of the true gardener, never hurrying, but accomplishing far more than I could in a given day. I think of Eleanor Blair, who has just been here for a visit. Eleanor, after a lifetime of teaching and editing, began to be interested in photography professionally after she was seventy, learned to develop and print herself, and published her first book, an illustrated ramble about Wellesley College and its environs when she was eighty. Her little house and her beautiful garden are an oasis for friends of all ages; she is passionately interested in politics; she washes her own sheets; she cooks splendid meals for her friends, and still looks about sixty, if that. I do not associate

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The Other within Us: Feminist Explorations of Women and Aging
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 16
  • Part One - Situating 17
  • 1 - The Double Standard of Aging 19
  • 2 - Portnoy's Mother's Complaints 25
  • 3 - The Plight of Older Black Women 37
  • References 41
  • 4 - The Feminization of Poverty Among the Elderly 43
  • Notes 54
  • 5 - Older Women in the City 57
  • Notes 68
  • Part Two - Problematizing 71
  • 6 Friends or Foes - Gerontological and Feminist Theory 73
  • Notes 91
  • References 91
  • 7 Heresy in the Female Body - The Rhetorics of Menopause 95
  • Notes 110
  • References 110
  • 8 Gender, Race, and Class - Beyond the Feminization of Poverty in Later Life 113
  • Notes 119
  • References 119
  • 9 - The View from Over the Hill 121
  • Notes 134
  • 10 - Adult Daughters and Care for the Elderly 135
  • Notes 146
  • 11 What Setting Limits May Mean - A Feminist Critique of Danielcallahan's Setting Limits 151
  • Notes 158
  • References 159
  • Part Three - Representing 161
  • 12 Sunset Boulevard - Fading Stars 163
  • Notes 175
  • 13 - Remembering Our Foremothers Older Black Women, Politics of Age, Politics of Survival as Embodied in the Novels of Toni Morrison 177
  • Notes 193
  • 14 Visible Difference - Women Artists and Aging 197
  • Notes 214
  • 15 - Time Will Tell 221
  • Part Four - Privileging 227
  • 16 - Toward Another Dimension . . . 229
  • 17 - Indian Summer 233
  • 18 - In the Heat of Shadow 239
  • 19 - Mirror of Strength Portrait of Two Chilean Arpilleristas 243
  • 20 - The Space Crone 249
  • 21 - Serenity and Power 253
  • Notes 273
  • Credits 275
  • About the Book and Editor 277
  • About the Contributors 279
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