Learning to Be Old: Gender, Culture, and Agingby Margaret Cruikshank
Cruikshank (women's studies, U. of Maine) describes beliefs, customs, and traditions surrounding aging in America and suggests that awareness of these social constructions can help women resist their negative impact. After critiquing cultural myths, ageism, the politics of aging, and mainstream gerontology, she proposes a feminist "gerastology" in which older women (including minorities and lesbians) interview their peers as part of the research agenda. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
In this lively and engaging book, Margaret Cruikshank challenges the concept of successful aging, which imposes a competitive and male standard on a complex social process, and argues that we adopt instead the notion of 'aging comfortably.
The American view of aging is dominated by cultural myths, simplistic media portrayals, and public relations science. In this confusion, strong voices are needed to help us reflect on important issues. Learning to Be Old is a strong critique of the views of aging contained in our culture, and it is a very welcome addition to the growing humanities literature in the field.
Through its underlying feminist perspective, Learning to Be Old raises the promise of a transformative approach to the paradoxes of aging. Margaret Cruikshank argues that aging is socially constructed and therefore we can (and must) change, unlearn, or rethink what is accepted as the 'truth' about aging in order to learn to age comfortably.
Margaret Cruikshank's approach is innovative and creative. Many of her ideas are essential for fully understanding the personal and societal aging experience. She integrates ways to help us age successfully with the larger social and economic questions. Well thought out.
Exciting and important . . . this pioneering work addresses an area that is desperately in need of critical analysis.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues, a division of the American Psychological Association: This third edition of Cruikshank's widely-used text makes two main points: 'The first is that aging in North America is shaped more by culture than biology, more by beliefs, customs, and traditions than by bodily changes. In other words, it is socially constructed. The second is that awareness of social constructions and resistance to them is crucial for women's comfortable aging.' She develops these two themes while making significant important points about countercultural gerontology and presents a feminist's view of aging. . . . This book is a useful tool to challenge student thinking about conventional views of aging and to help them broaden their horizons about ethnicity, race, class, sexual orientation, and aging from the standpoint of an old lesbian who is not about to go quietly into that good night.
In her excellent book, Learning to Be Old, Margaret Cruikshank compares the aged to a 'colonized people', suggesting that ageism goes beyond dehumanization into actual scapegoating of the old.
- Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Third Edition
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
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Meet the Author
Margaret Cruikshank is retired from the women’s studies program and the graduate faculty of the University of Maine. She continues as a faculty associate of the Center on Aging.
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