The Conception of Breasts in the Intersection of Age and Gender

Therése Persson
National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later Life (NISAL), Linköping University, Sweden

Ladda ner artikelhttp://www.ep.liu.se/ecp_article/index.en.aspx?issue=025;article=051

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

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 25:51, s. 471-482

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Publicerad: 2007-11-27


ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


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.


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