Age, Gender and Feminism: Addressing the Gap from Literary and Cultural Perspectives

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Stončikaitė, IevaStončikaitė, Ieva - ORCID ID
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cc-by-nc (c) Stončikaitė, Ieva, 2021
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Although important demographic shifts have generated both an interest and profound transformations in sociocultural interpretations of ageing and old age, the experience of growing older is still perceived negatively and is often measured according to how successfully people adapt to the current Western ideals of later life. In the light of recent research on cultural and literary representations of ageing, this article critically addresses contemporary American writer Erica Jong's mid-life and later works from feminist and gender perspectives. It shows how the author's writings contest the narrative of decline and ageism and incorporate some aspects of positive ageing in terms of body image. Yet, instead of following the model of successful ageing, Jong offers alternative views of ageing femininities and sexuality that enable a different narrative of growing older to emerge. The writer's work also shows that socially and culturally constructed gender and power relationships can be deconstructed, which allows for new forms of self-expression that are not moulded into anti-ageing discourses and their neoliberal imperatives.
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Gender a výzkum / Gender and Research, 2021, vol. 22, núm. 1, p. 59-77