In Our Prime
How Older Women Are Reinventing the Road Ahead
by Susan Douglas
Pub Date 10 Mar 2020
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Do you see women your age portrayed as puttering gardeners and docile grannies? Do you feel bombarded by anti-aging products that insist you must “defy” getting older? Do you feel invisible in professional and social situations? And have you had enough and are you ready to challenge the intertwining of sexism and ageism in our culture?
Susan Douglas knows that you are not alone. She declares it is time now for the largest female generation over fifty to reinvent what it means to be an older woman and to challenge the outdated stereotypes—think doddering or shrewish—that Hollywood and TV have assigned them. She zones in on how the anti-aging cosmetics industry targets older and younger women alike with their products, and how Big Pharma ads equate getting older with disease and decline.
Douglas exposes the ageism that mature women face at work and why conservatives’ decades-long attacks on Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare disproportionately affect women. With a sharp sense of justice and fresh wit, In Our Prime sees a social movement emerging that may help to create a different view of and life for older women. It celebrates Gray Panther Maggie Kuhn, who broke down legal barriers in the past, as well as today’s activists, career women, actors, and others who defy stereotypical images by embracing their age and remaining strong and socially involved.
Ultimately, Douglas calls on women of all ages to join together now to fight against gendered ageism, to secure our country’s financial safety net, and to make a brighter, more welcome future for older women.
About the Author: Susan J. Douglas is Catherine Neafie Kellogg Professor of Communication and Media at the University of Michigan. The author most recently of In Our Prime as well as the groundbreaking works Where the Girls Are, The Rise of Enlightened Sexism, and The Mommy Myth, she lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
“Today’s older women are energetic, active and involved with life way beyond grandkids and gardening. The majority say they are feminists. Yet society ignores us, when it isn’t selling us face cream and face lifts. Susan J. Douglas is here to rouse us and put our issues front and center in today’s revitalized women's movement. More power to her! Read this book, ladies, and let’s get very, very busy.” - Katha Pollitt, author of Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights
“In this rollicking, riveting celebration of lifespan feminism, Douglas critiques the gendered ageism of Big Pharma, cosmetics-pushers, and Hollywood, savages mansplaining statistics, and urges boomer women to take to the barricades to safeguard the nation’s social and financial safety net. In Our Prime is personal, powerful, and persuasive. A must-read.” - Kathleen Jamieson, director, Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania
“Susan Douglas has managed to combine an unstinting but often hilarious media critique with a social analysis of feminism that is as astute as it is inspirational. There’s simply no other feminist writer who is able to take our culture apart with such good humor.” - Susan Bordo, author of The Destruction of Hillary Clinton
“Women of all ages, unite! In Our Prime is a skilled and stirring call for young and old to confront the ‘double helix of ageism and sexism that still…courses through our culture’ and complete the unfinished business of the women’s movement. Susan J. Douglas’s blueprint for ‘bridge feminism’ offers vision, strategies, and tools for the struggle. We are indeed in our prime—at any age—and this is our time.” - Ashton Applewhite, author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism