Women and Varieties of Ageism
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Powerful myths and stereotypes of aging limit the lives of mid dle-aged and old people. For women as they age, the intersection of ageism with sexism can be devastating in circumscribing their ac tivities and controlling their self-image. The varieties of ageism af fecting women grow out of sex role stereotypes and discrimination combined with ideas about the nature of the middle-aged and old. Feminist critiques of sex role stereotypes and challenges to sexist claims about women’s nature have not generally extended to old women; with few exceptions, feminists have failed to confront their own ageism or to challenge ageist constructions of the nature of women beyond midlife. The idea for this volume grew out of con cerns expressed by members of the Task Force on Aging and Age ism of the National Women’s Studies Association as we looked unsuccessfully in Women’s Studies texts and classrooms for discus sions of the last third of women’s lives.