Archive for August, 2005

Getting Old

Aging, Disability, and Illness. It’s frustrating to me that these topics constantly get lumped in together. I feel that even though there are some common concerns between the three, the issues of aging are significantly different than the issues of illness and you could say the same for disability.

The issues of aging are complex and even though ageism is prominent in our society it is hardly discussed. Women begin fearing old age very young. I know my daughter (age 11) does.

  • The poverty that is common to elderly women is horrific.
  • The quest for youth drives our economy: surgery, creams, chemical procedures, exercise, etc.
  • Women live longer than men. Mandatory retirement at age 65 means many years of no income for women.

Institutional decisions like this have not considered the needs of women (but when has this ever been a priority?) Read more »

Taking It Off

There are many reasons why people take off their clothes. When I was suddenly single, pregnant, mother of 2 kids, no food, no money, no welfare I modeled for visual arts drawing classes. As a pregnant, desparately poor woman with no hope or future (or so it seemed) my body seemed the only resource I had for making any money. Lower class women have fewer choices about how to support themselves and this leads to making choices that women of higher socioeconomic status would not make – or would make for different reasons. For myself I could disengage from the fact that I was naked because I could tell myself the students were looking at my big belly, not *me*. And after all, it was for *art*. The school was always looking for a fringe subject: pregnant, older, people of colour. I was happy at first to be able to buy food but soon the baby was born and I went back to being ordinary poor white woman. My flag of interest was gone. Poor people are supposed to be invisible so that the rest of society doesn’t feel guilty for what they have.

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