Older men in contemporary discourses on ageing: absent bodies and invisible lives.


Contemporary discourses on ageing are essentially 'feminized', and as such report little on the experiences of older men. Living into late old age has become, and will continue to be, a normal phenomenon in our social worlds for both men and women. As a disadvantaged group, older women have attracted more attention than their older male counterparts. Yet this 'advantaged' older man may well be shackled by his gender role, and male gender socialization does impact upon men in later life. Older single men often have poorly developed social and family networks leaving them at a disadvantage. However, the masculinities of older men are conspicuously absent from most male gender studies. Rather than omitted, it is more that the dominant discourses of younger and middle-aged men are preserved. In turn, disability and disease do accompany old age yet disability has remained in the background and is, consequently, underdeveloped. This is not to say that disability represents the whole experience of health for older people, but it is clearly not an ageist fantasy. The phenomena of ageing, gender (including masculinity), and disability can be connected and consequently interpreted and understood by studying embodiment in old age.

Cite this paper

@article{Fleming1999OlderMI, title={Older men in contemporary discourses on ageing: absent bodies and invisible lives.}, author={Alice A Fleming}, journal={Nursing inquiry}, year={1999}, volume={6 1}, pages={3-8} }