The Other within Us: Feminist Explorations of Women and Aging

By Marilyn Pearsall | Go to book overview

ABOUT THE BOOK AND EDITOR

Feminist women who were part of the second wave of the women's movement in the 1970s bequeathed to us a powerful personal and political critique of our society's obsession with beauty and impossible body ideals. Having refused makeup, high heels, and short skirts in their youth, these women are now entering the most stigmatized stage in a woman's life: old age. As their bodies gradually become those of the "older woman," the feminists' rejection of beauty standards and their ability to locate self-worth is being challenged afresh.

How will these women respond to the issues raised in this phase of their lives? It was difficult to become a woman in a patriarchal society, but it is even more difficult to become an older woman. By confronting the issues unique to older women in our culture and society, this book seeks to redress the neglect and isolation they have experienced within contemporary feminism and gerontology. Representing the multifaceted collectivity of women, the contributors explore the progression of women's roles and share the varied responses of women to the stereotypes and societal invalidation that they must grapple with throughout the aging process. Ultimately, the goal of the book is to inspire the quest for fresh paradigms to supplement, revise, and extend existing discourses in ways that will allow the aging woman to more easily embrace the "older other" within her.

Marilyn Pearsall teaches philosophy and women's studies at the University of Puget Sound and is a research associate at the Five College Women's Studies Research Center. She is the editor of Women and Values: Readings in Recent Feminist Philosophy and coeditor of Women, Knowledge, and Reality: Explorations in Feminist Philosophy.

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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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