The ways we read our bodies and bodily transformations are deeply inscribed in cultural meanings that vary across different historical times and societies. Even if the desire to achieve culturally imposed beauty standards and ideals is relevant to all age groups, anxieties about bodily decline become more pronounced as we approach the final stages of our lives. Physical changes are never just manifestations of cellular and organic loss, but can also be a source of troubled identifies and fragmented personalities caused by the mismatch between our external appearance and the inner perception of the self. This paper offers the longitudinal analysis of female processes of ageing from age-studies and feminist perspectives, as depicted in the works of Erica Jong, a contemporary American writer. It uncovers significant aspects of the pressures older women are subjected to in order to look more appealing in youth-oriented cultures, and demonstrates that the human body is often regarded as a conflicting site of perpetual ambiguities and troubled feelings caused by physical decay.
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