Article | Inter: A European Cultural Studies : Conference in Sweden 11-13 June 2007 | The Conception of Breasts in the Intersection of Age and Gender

Title:
The Conception of Breasts in the Intersection of Age and Gender
Author:
Therése Persson: National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later Life (NISAL), Linköping University, Sweden
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Full text (pdf)
Year:
2007
Conference:
Inter: A European Cultural Studies : Conference in Sweden 11-13 June 2007
Issue:
025
Article no.:
051
Pages:
471-482
No. of pages:
12
Publication type:
Abstract and Fulltext
Published:
2007-11-27
Series:
Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings
ISSN (print):
1650-3686
ISSN (online):
1650-3740
Publisher:
Linköping University Electronic Press; Linköpings universitet


Four interviews on the interviewees’ notions about their bodies are used as a point of departure for a discussion on one part of the female body – the breast – as an arena where age and gender intersect. How is the relation between age and femininity given meaning in these narratives; and specifically in the interviewees’ accounts about their breasts? The breasts play a part in everyday negotiations on femininity and; as I argue; also in the construction and reconstruction of age. Cultural norms and principles concerning gender order and age order work together; and I describe how the interviewees both adhere to and challenge cultural patterns. For example; in their notions about differences in how much of the breasts you can show when you are twenty and when you are fifty years old. The analysis is focused on negotiations about appropriateness and attractiveness. The results indicate that breasts are related to aesthetic; existential; sexual; reproductive and sensual dimensions. The paper demonstrates that different aspects of the breast are being brought to the fore in different phases of a person’s life and in different times in history; and how this is conveyed in the embodied biographies of the interviewees.

Inter: A European Cultural Studies : Conference in Sweden 11-13 June 2007

Author:
Therése Persson
Title:
The Conception of Breasts in the Intersection of Age and Gender
References:

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Närvänen; Anna-Liisa. 2004. Age; Ageing and the Life Course. I: Öberg; Närvänen; Näsman; & Olsson (red.). 2004. Changing Worlds and the Ageing Subject. Dimensions in the Study of Ageing and Later Life. Hampshire: Ashgate.


Storey; John. 2003. Inventing Popular Culture. From Folklore to Globalization. Oxford: Blackwell


Sörensdotter; Renita. 2000. Kvinnobröst och kvinnlighet – om bröstens symboliska betydelse vid bröstcancer. Magisteruppsats i socialantropologi. Socialantroplogiska Institutionen. Stockholms Universitet.


Yalom; Marilyn. 1997. A history of the breast. Stockholm: Ordfront.

Inter: A European Cultural Studies : Conference in Sweden 11-13 June 2007

Author:
Therése Persson
Title:
The Conception of Breasts in the Intersection of Age and Gender
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