An ageblind feminism?
– The invisibility of older women in feminist research
The issue of normativity, who the Woman in feminist research is, has to some extent been discussed in the feminist debate. Many researchers have shown that these constructions of gender have been based on whiteness, middle class and on heterosexuality. Still, less attention has been paid to the assumptions of the age of the woman in these discourses.
Based upon a Swedish official research report, the article illustrate the invisibility of older women in the gender field. The case study distinguishes three forms of age constructions: a) Selection of arenas and themes, b) Model monopoly and c) Lack of problematisation of age. One example of these mechanisms is how an emphasis on the combination of family life and working life as a central theme, creates a vision of a woman in a specific age. The image of a fertile woman in working age appears and makes other ages and other ways of life concealed. This image is further constructed by reproducing family as synonymous with household and parents only as parents to minor children. In addition, the age blindness becomes apparent in the statistics as well, which only includes ages from 18 to 64 years, and thereby creates the image of women 64+ as none existing.
This age bias reflect how theoretical discussions have been influenced by the researchers own age position. Thus, to conceive more age sensitive gender theories the researchers age position as well as their theoretical starting points and assumptions have to be taken into consideration and to be scrutinised. Instead of taking an age potential for granted in all feminist theories, constructive might be to ask how age sensitive they are.
2003. no 4, 184-190 p.