Twelve: Representing self – representing ageing


Previous research has shown that older women are negatively stereotyped as the focus of a rapidly expanding anti-ageing industry or otherwise absent from the media. This chapter discusses the Representing Self-Representing Ageing project, which worked collaboratively with older women, using a range of participatory visual methods to explore their everyday experiences of ageing. The aim was to create alternative images of ‘ordinary’ older women. The women produced a diverse range of visual artwork including photos, fine art and sculpture, which subsequently has been displayed in exhibitions across the UK. Collectively, project participants called for more representations in the media of older women who had not been surgically or digitally enhanced, and who were making a contribution so that younger people might be less fearful of ageing. Participating in the project enhanced the women’s well-being and sense of public validation, while the project itself has contributed to a new cultural turn in social gerontology.

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