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Now you see me: the invisibility of older lesbians

Traies, Jane Elizabeth (2009)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

Monika Kehoe (1986) described older lesbians as "a triply invisible minority.‟ In this dissertation I seek to establish whether that description is still valid and, if so, why. I go on to ask, if older lesbians are culturally / discursively invisible, what are the circumstances which can enable them to be seen? and what could be gained from that visibility? By analysing a range of cultural texts I demonstrate that, although the visibility of women and of lesbians has steadily increased in recent years, older lesbians are still rarely represented in popular culture or the media. Academic research reflects this blindness: gerontology largely ignores non-heterosexual subjects, while lesbian and gay studies marginalise the old. I then use a case study of the documentary film Women Like Us (Neild and Pearson, 1990) to investigate the social and political forces which enable older lesbians to become visible, and to demonstrate the cultural importance of these representations. I conclude that older lesbians in Britain today are rendered invisible by a combination of sexism, ageism and hetero-sexism; that lack of media representation has been a decisive factor in maintaining their invisibility; and that there is a need for further research in this neglected area.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Ross, Charlotte
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music
Subjects:HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
HT Communities. Classes. Races
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:497
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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