Reading the 'Sexy Oldie': Gender, Age(ing) and Embodiment (2009)
Type of ContentJournal Article
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury. School of Language, Social and Political Sciences
University of Canterbury. Gender Studies
- Arts: Journal Articles 
AuthorsVares, T.show all
In recent years there has been a cultural-scientific shift in the ways in which ageing and sexuality are represented. This has been most notable in the popular media where the predominant portrayal of asexual old age is increasingly accompanied by newer images of the 'sexy oldie'. While this shift counters conventional stereotypes of the asexual and disengaged elderly, the implications for seniors of such a change have not yet been adequately researched. Do senior viewers read images of sexy oldies as a challenge to traditional framings of older people as not sexually desirable, desirous, or capable? Do such portrayals disrupt the 'unwatchability' of elderly bodies and sexuality? This article draws on material from a reception study of seniors' readings of the film The Mother (2003) and focuses on the tensions and contradictions within and between the responses of focus groups of men and women (aged 49—85). In particular, I explore the ways in which some female participants' affective responses of 'disgust' to a filmic image of a naked, sexually active woman in her 60s, work to reconstitute it as 'unwatchable'
CitationVares, T. (2009) Reading the 'Sexy Oldie': Gender, Age(ing) and Embodiment. Sexualities, 12(4), pp. 503-524.
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