Book recommendations about women and aging
January 8, 2019 10:27 AM   Subscribe

Are there some well-written books that deal thoughtfully with the topic of aging and the perception of women in society?

I'm not talking about the medical aspects of being elderly - I'm referring to a discussion of ways society has conceptualized and often marginalized women who are middle aged and older. I'm also not looking for a memoir written from an individual personal point of view or a biographical discussion of strong women, but a book about women in aggregate, and maybe even throughout history. I realize this is very specific. Thanks for any and all recommendations!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (12 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure if this is quite what you want, but the 2018 edition of The Change by Germaine Greer might be one starting point. It goes beyond menopause. (I want to add: she's controversial, in part because of her feminism, but also because she's transmisogynistic.)

...Greer also addresses cultural changes that surround female aging today, launching a clear and necessary protest against the notion that women should shrink into the background as they grow older. She argues that menopause marks the point in a woman's life when she should be able to stop apologizing and bask in the freedom and joy that come with her later years....
posted by bluedaisy at 11:45 AM on January 8 [2 favorites]

The Tomato Thief. Short story, fantasy.
posted by rebent at 12:09 PM on January 8

I enjoyed reading, This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, by Ashton Applewhite.
posted by jennstra at 12:32 PM on January 8

Nora Ephron! I Feel Bad About my Neck.

posted by nantucket at 12:50 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]

Composing a Life by Mary Catherine Bateson is sort of adjacent to this topic as it deals broadly with alternative definitions of success and achievement.
posted by brookeb at 12:55 PM on January 8

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver.
posted by BoscosMom at 1:15 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]

The day before the revolution by Ursula K Le Guin helped me realize that aging wasn’t toxic.
posted by Jesse the K at 1:20 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]

Women Who Run With The Wolves covers this as a main topic, but also incorporates mythology and archetypes about older women and how that has affected both past and current perception of the notion of female aging.

It's really good.
posted by ananci at 4:16 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]

An Unnecessary Woman is amazing.
posted by Threeve at 6:49 PM on January 8

May Sarton's journals, I think. Also Carolyn Heilbrun, The Last Gift of Time?
posted by huimangm at 7:11 PM on January 8

Ursula Le Guin's essay The Space Crone
posted by veery at 7:22 AM on January 13

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