Sexism, ageism and 'late style'
In what ways have dominant ageist discourses in the West impact on the late style identities and performance strategies of older women popular music stars?
The research discussed at this lecture will focus on performers such as Mavis Staples, Joan Baez, Marianne Faithfull and Kate Bush — female popular music performers who have established long and notable careers.
Popular music studies have been dominated by the urge to chronologize and categorize. This is especially true in relation to musical genres, where understandings are both gendered and delineated by ideas of age appropriateness.
This process has also tended to ensnare age within relatively rigid notions of time and of generation, and has enshrined positive connections between popular music and youth meaning that this field of studies has until recently either ignored issues of ageing in pop or alternatively engendered negative attitudes towards it.
The analysis that will be presented examines the ways that the cultural forces of ageism and sexism are entwined with dominant understandings of race, class and nation — working to construct older female popular music performers in particular and often, negative ways.
Taking a ‘life course’ approach to their careers in popular music, this research interrogates the late style performances of the older female popular music performers mentioned above and looks at the ways they respond to ageing and musical performance through strategies that disrupt linear notions of time.
About Ros Jennings
Ros Jennings is the co-director of the Centre for Women Ageing and Media (WAM), leader of the annual WAM International Summer School and head of Postgraduate Research at the University of Gloucestershire. She is a self-confessed methods geek and is interested in developing multiple collaborative qualitative approaches to research problems in the area of ageing, old age and media cultures.
She is a founder member of the European Network in Ageing Studies (ENAS) and researches and publishes on older age identities in relation to carers, caring and the media; popular music; popular television; and late style performances.
The sixth floor of the Faubourg Building (FB) is accessible by elevator. This presentation will be in English.