Lesbian activist Copper offers a frank, provocative analysis of what ageism means for American women. Although she decries the general tendency of American society to worship youth and to treat older women as useless and worthless, the 68-year-old author is most sharply critical of the ways in which her fellow feminists participate in this oppressive behavior. The source of this betrayal of sisterhood, asserts Copper, is women's internalized ageism, which causes them to fear and hate their bodies as they age. In addition, Copper believes that many seek an idealized mother figure in every older woman, someone who selflessly nurtures and supports the younger generation. To break down the barriers of fear, loathing and idealization, Copper calls for a revival of the feminist consciousness-raising groups prevalent in the early 1970s. Although the slim volume assumes that its audience is cognizant of lesbian-feminist political issues, it deserves a wide hearing. Readers who persevere will be richly rewarded by Copper's powerful, forthright insights on ageism. (May)
Copper is angry that old women provide most of the ``mule work'' in modern societies, from the peasants who sweep Soviet streets to the American grandmothers, whose resignation to raising two generations has liberated their daughters to seek rewards and fulfillment outside the home. In doing this, Copper believes that such women pass up opportunities for radical change and self-expression, from which all women would benefit; she blames younger women for not understanding this reality, for their own self-absorption, and for trying to push older women back into self-sacrificing rolls. Copper offers some wonderful insights and ideas, but her message may be lost to women unfamiliar with the world from which she draws many of her examples. Beverly Miller, Boise State Univ. Lib., Id.