Women with Disabilities: Essays in Psychology, Culture, and Politics

By Michelle Fine; Adrienne Asch | Go to book overview

In Rubin's ( 1975) terms, the "political economy of sex" creates a "traffic in women" that leaves on the side of the highway and on the margins of the sexual marketplace those women who are past what men designate as the female prime. Married women in old age, in short, lose their men and much of their desirability to men. They are reduced to the same category inhabited by never-married women and disabled women all of their adult lives -- that of women manqué. The aging process creates a large caste of women into which never-married women merge after decades of social segregation.


Note
1.
This article is based on data from in-depth interviews with fifty nevermarried women, 65 years old and older, who live in the Philadelphia and New York City areas. These interviews were part of a study, "Never-Married Old Women: Pathfinders for Aged Singles," funded in part by the National Institute on Aging Small Grant #1 R03 AG04694-01 ( 1984).
2.
Two exceptions to this generalization are important to note. The nevermarried woman with a severe, highly visible disability throughout life is set apart from others by this obvious deviation from the physical norm. Her disabled appearance and condition constitute her "master status.' In a similar way, a never-married woman of a racial minority is an exception. Her color overwhelms her marital status because, in a racist world, it is her most blatant "blemish."

References

DeJong, G., and R. Lifchez. 1983. "Physical disability and public policy". Scientific American 248 (June): 40-49.

Gubrium, J. 1974. "Marital desolation and the evaluation of everyday life in old age". Journal of Marriage and the Family 36 (February): 110, 107.

----. 1976. "Being single in old age". In Time, roles and self in old age, ed. J. Gubrium. New York: Human Sciences Press.

Hughes, E. 1945,. "Dilemmas and contradictions of status". American Journal of Sociology 50 (March): 353-59.

Rubin, G. 1975. "The traffic in women: Notes on the political economy of sex". In Toward an anthropology of women, ed. R. Reiter. New York: Monthly Review Press.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1980a. Social Indicators III, Table 2/17. Washington, D.C.: GPO, p. 101.

----. 1980b. Current Population Reports, Series P-20, no. 349. Marital status and living arrangements: March 1979. Washington, D.C.: GPO, pp. 2, 7.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 1981. Public Health Service, National Center for Health Statistics, series 11, no. 221, Hypertension in adults 25-74 years of age, U.S., 1971- 1975. Washington, D.C.: GPO, p. 57.

----. 1983. Public Health Service, National Center for Health Statistics, series

-224-

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Women with Disabilities: Essays in Psychology, Culture, and Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface and Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction: Beyond Pedestals 1
  • Notes 31
  • References 32
  • I: Bodies and Images 39
  • Notes 40
  • 1. on Embodiment: A Case Study of Congenital LImb Deficiency in American Culture 41
  • Notes 68
  • References 70
  • 2.Sex Roles and Culture: Social and Personal Reactions to Breast Cancer 72
  • Notes 85
  • 3. in Search of A Heroine: Images of Women with Disabilities in Fiction and Drama 90
  • References 110
  • Ii: Disabled Women in Relationships 111
  • Notes 112
  • 4. the Construction of Gender and Disability in Early Attachment 115
  • References 136
  • 5. Daughters with Disabilities: Defective Women Or Minority Women? 139
  • References 170
  • 6. Friendship and Fairness: How Disability Affects Friendship Between Women 172
  • Notes 192
  • References 192
  • 7. Disability and Ethnicity in Conflict: A Study in Transformation 195
  • Notes 213
  • 8. Never-Married Old Women and Disability: A Majority Experience 215
  • Note 224
  • References 224
  • Iii:Policy and Politics 227
  • 9. Women, Work, and Disability: Opportunities and Challenges 229
  • References 243
  • 10. Disabled Women and Public Policies for Income Support 245
  • References 267
  • 11. Autonomy as A Different Voice: Women, Disabilities, and Decisions 269
  • Notes 292
  • 12. Shared Dreams: A Left Perspective on Disability Rights and Reproductive Rights 297
  • Notes 305
  • 13. Smashing ICons: Disabled Women and the Disability and Women's Movements 306
  • Notes 329
  • References 331
  • Epilogue: Research and Politics to Come 333
  • Notes 336
  • About the Contributors and Index 337
  • About the Contributors 339
  • Index 343
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