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By Paul Simpson

Is midlife for homosexual males the beginning of a slide in the direction of the rejection, exclusion and distress linked to the spectre of the lonely previous queen? when exclusion is feasible as homosexual males age, heart elderly homosexual males, growing older and Ageism bargains a extra nuanced view of homosexual ageing, utilizing sociological instruments to develop realizing past stereotypes.

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Extra resources for Middle-Aged Gay Men, Ageing and Ageism

Sample text

Here, middle-aged selves were being recuperated at the expense of the younger gay other. This challenges men’s notion of ageing as linear path to calm acceptance of others (and themselves) based on accumulated knowledge, sober reflection and life experience. In addition, the resources of ageing (capital or technologies) that men invoked occur within ‘fields of existence’ (Thomson 2009) – cultural arenas with their own norms. The situated rules of the game become so entrenched within the body that they animate habitual thought/practice or what Bourdieu calls ‘habitus’ (1984: 100).

Simultaneously, Daniel’s words represent a claim for men of his generation to have a say in what counts as desirable and attractive and how gay culture is represented. His 40 Middle-Aged Gay Men, Ageing and Ageism implicit claim for the heterogeneity of this culture reminds us that the hegemony of younger men therein is far from guaranteed. Nonetheless, informants expressed empathy in terms of the kind of pressures younger gay men face to produce a particular kind of appearance. Jeff (48) spoke of his lifestyle extravagancies in his twenties but contrasted these with his financial prudence in midlife, which he understood as a marker of personal growth as a result of age and experience of humanistic therapies.

The everyday not transcendental’ and which seeks to bring about ‘a small reworking of their own spaces of action’ (Rose 1999: 279–80). Gay male midlife distinction through authenticity Self-presentation is an immediately visible way in which people distinguish themselves from others. But through what mechanisms are selves or social groups distinguished from others? Bourdieu’s (1984) concept of ‘distinction’, central to his theory of social class relations, can be used to explain how midlife gay men become differentiated from heterosexuals Work on the Body 35 and from each other.

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