Baby Boomers, Age, and Beauty

by Naomi Woodspring

Baby Boomers Age and Beauty

Baby Boomers, Age, and Beauty is a rich exploration of the baby boomers – those coming of age in the sixties and now entering old age – the influences that have shaped how they perceive ageing appearance, how they define ageing and beauty, and the meaning of appearance, beauty, and identity. The book draws from a variety of sources from ageing research, history and gender studies and a diverse group of interviewees.

The longevity revolution and shifting notions of identity coalesce as older women and men seek to find new modes of self-presentation as they age. Ageing is a profoundly embodied process, yet older people’s concerns about appearance and beauty is perceived, by many, as trivial or a function of consumer society. Investigating notions of appearance and beauty as a core human concern, the author explores Western cultural notions of beauty. What then is beauty in old age? Is it even a possibility given the history of youth and aesthetic preference? The book seeks to bring forward ideas of age and beauty as defined by baby boomers, how they see themselves and how they are seen.

About the author

Dr Naomi Woodspring is a Visiting Research Fellow, University of the West of England, UK. Prior to returning to university as a late life learner, she had her own consulting firm working with non-profit agencies and for-profit businesses seeking sustainable solutions to organisational and community challenges. She has also worked as a psychotherapist in a wide variety of settings from a managing a community prison project to Native American communities.


“This book offers an important contribution to the discussion on 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, USA

“In the context of an ageing population, Woodspring reminds us of the tyranny of the omnipresent stereotypes of what successful (ie, glamourous) ageing looks like. This book is a timely reminder that the perspectives of older people are also of crucial value to current debates in this field and should no longer be ignored.” – Emerita Professor Nichola Rumsey OBE, UWE, UK

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