Drawing upon 62 participant-produced visual diaries and accompanying interview narratives, this article explores the significance of everyday body work for people in mid- to later life. Departing from previous work that has explored the intersections of gender and age in relation to a single embodied practice, this article highlights the salience of a myriad of bodily practices for the everyday ways that gender and ageing identities are constituted, specifically hair styling, beauty work, clothing, and dieting. We argue that women negotiate a gendered pressure to age well, which results in an in/visibility paradox, in which they are at one and the same time seen, but not seen. Consequently, we question whether women are thus forever ‘becoming’ – attempting to become embodied subjects, alongside subjecting to ‘becoming’ – aligning with normative discourses. The article examines the competing ways that ageing and gendered bodies are constructed, together with participants’ embodied resistance to negative normalising discourses.
Bibliographical notehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Funding: ESRC (RES-061-25-0459)
- body work
- everyday life
- visual methods