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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The seasoning of aging, the ripening of culture: A study of heterosexual and lesbian women in their latter years
by Kittle, Krystal Rae, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2012, 69; 1522583
Abstract (Summary)

This ethnographic inquiry compares the aging experience between senior heterosexual married women with children and lesbian women. While literature concerning the relationship between age, gender, sexual orientation and sexuality does exist, heterosexual women's documented experiences with aging are much more prevalent and easily obtained than those of lesbian women. For the purpose of this study, senior lesbians are the sole source in which new data were obtained between the months of January and October 2011. Ethnographic data collected about this particular group was compared to previous published data concerning aging heterosexual married women with children as well as literature that pertains to elderly lesbian women. The research design includes personal interviews of ten women who identify as lesbian and who are considered "seniors," or at least 60 years old. Data from this research focuses on determining if a relationship exists between sexual orientation and the process of aging in regards to healthcare, intimacy, relationships and support. The data also examines the social needs of lesbian women as they grow older. The study suggests that homosexual women and heterosexual women experience the same physical changes associated with aging, but lesbian women are more accepting of their physical appearance as older women than their heterosexual counterparts. Furthermore, data collected from this project reveals that lesbian women depend on their peers more than heterosexual women who often rely on their children for their caregiving needs as they get older. Lesbian women have a variety of social needs that can be met by the implementation of a local support group that is designed by them and for them.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Loewe, Ronald
Commitee: Howell, Jayne, Wilson, Scott S.
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 51/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, LGBTQ studies
Publication Number: 1522583
ISBN: 978-1-303-01995-1
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