“Beauty is not only in the eyes of the beholder, but has also become one of the main focus points for discussing age and ageing in more general terms. This book provides an in-depth discussion not only of “issues expressed through our faces”, but also offers an important contribution to the discussion on specific contexts of time and place that inform our approach to age and ageing. The author makes us understand that it is both the universal and the particular that determine how we behold beauty, and how these perceptions are generationally shaped.”
— Prof. Dr. Roberta Maierhofer, University of Graz, Austria
“Fluently written and sensitive to context, nuance, and the humor of her aging respondents, Woodspring’s book gives a lively tour of our disparate responses to the common urge to remain forever young, in a generation that lives longer than any before. She shows how masculinities, femininities, and gendered ideals of beauty shift with new divisions of labor, as age brings greater self-awareness of the limits of roles of the past. This book weaves into that analysis a rich array of insights from studies of art, taste, psychology, history, sociology, and feminist scholarship from many disciplines.”
— Professor Neal M. King, Virginia Tech, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, US
“Woodspring reminds us of the tyranny of the omnipresent stereotypes of what successful (i.e. glamourous) ageing looks like. This book is a timely reminder that the perspectives of older people should no longer be ignored.”
— Emerita Professor Nichola Rumsey OBE, University of the West of England, UK
Reviews of Baby Boomers, Age, and Beauty
A Lifespan Perspective on Beauty
Having previously published a book on Baby Boomers’ attitudes toward their aging bodies (Woodspring, 2016), British scholar Naomi Woodspring focuses her most recent book on Boomers’ attitudes toward beauty from the neck up. Although much research has been conducted on physical appearances, very little has examined the connections between age and appearance. Woodspring aims to fill this gap.
Based on her interviews with 31 British and American men and women born between 1945 and 1955, Woodspring concludes that, while there is beauty at each point in our lifespan, late-life beauty differs from youthful beauty. The “everyday” people she interviewed recognized this truth, but Western culture (specifically the United Kingdom and the United States) has mostly overlooked it, along with other “vital pieces of information about the meaning of aging, the identity of older people, and what makes beauty” (p. 225)…
… I would recommend it as a timely prompt for class discussion, future research questions and further inquiry, personal pondering, and thoughtful conversation, especially among Baby Boomers.
Ruth Ray Karpen, PhD. The Gerontologist, gnz 043, https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnz043. Published 15 May 2019.
Ruth Ray Karpen has published widely on qualitative research in gerontology and gender and aging. Now retired from academe, she is a freelance researcher and writer who contributes blog articles on late-life development to agegracefullyamerica.com.
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“A recurring theme that arises in many discussions within my undergraduate classes is a contemplation on the ways in which their ageing generation may (and in their opinion, will likely) differ from that of those before them on any number of issues: technology, sexuality and relationships, leisure and recreation, and so on. Often speculative in nature, this book offers a lens by which this question could be undertaken on a more rigorous scale, with a framework that considers how the social context layers with individual choices and experiences. Woodspring does this eloquently, interspersing rich description and data with a consideration of the social and historical milieu in question (the 1960s).”
— Age and Society Journal, Associate Professor Meridith Griffin, McMaster University
“A British sociologist paints a vivid picture of the first wave of baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1955. She provides a penetrating look at how the 1960s influenced the postwar generation and shaped their view of old age.In Baby Boomers: Time and Ageing Bodies, Naomi Woodspring, a research fellow at University of the West of England, writes boomers are changing how we grow old. They are focused on contributing a legacy for younger generations.”
— Aging Horizons Bulletin, Ruth Dempsey