Feminist Issues

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 3–24 | Cite as

Jane Fonda, Barbara Bush and other aging bodies: Femininity and the limits of resistance

  • Myra Dinnerstein
  • Rose Weitz


This article uses the self-representations of Jane Fonda and Barbara Bush to assess their two different approaches to aging and to explore the degree to which women are able to resist the prevailing cultural discourse which equates femininity with a youthful appearance. While Barbara Bush uses the rhetoric of “naturalness,” implying that she makes little effort with her appearance, Fonda emphasizes the work she puts into maintaining a fit body. Both frame their self-descriptions as resistance to cultural standards, but an exploration of their efforts reveals serious limits to this resistance. The conclusions discuss the possibilities for women to resist or change cultural dictates regarding the aging female body. Data come from all articles on Fonda and Bush published in women’s magazines since 1977.


Eating Disorder Feminist Issue White Hair Cultural Construction Bodily Control 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Transaction Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Myra Dinnerstein
    • 1
  • Rose Weitz
    • 2
  1. 1.the University of ArizonaTucson
  2. 2.the Sociology Department at Arizona State UniversityTempe

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