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Int J Aging Hum Dev. 2008;66(4):307-27.

Ravishing or ravaged: women's relationships with women in the context of aging and Western beauty culture.

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Department of Psychology, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO 65897-0001, USA.


We undertook this narrative analysis study to explore the complexities of women's relationships with other women within the sociocultural milieu of beautyism and ageism. Using an open-ended narrative framework, four focus groups of women living in different regions throughout the U.S. were conducted and analyzed to identify thematic categories within and across group sessions. We discuss four of the six key themes discovered in response to the primary research question: How does beauty culture shape women's experiences of aging and their relationships with women of all ages? We conclude that Western idealized beauty standards exert a divisive impact on women's relationships with each other across the life span, negatively affecting their socioemotional well-being, especially in old age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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