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Moglen, H. (2008). Feminism, Transageing, and Ageism: A Response to Lynne Segal. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 9(4):323-327.

(2008). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 9(4):323-327

Feminism, Transageing, and Ageism: A Response to Lynne Segal

Helene Moglen, Ph.D.

I thank Lynne Segal for her generous and provocative response to my essay. I am particularly interested in the political emphasis of her comments, which explore the impact of misogynistic ageism on women's personal and collective experience of ageing. Segal's activist perspective prompts me to bring my own assumptions about ageism to the surface of my argument in order to make my feminist stakes more apparent. It is in this context, therefore, that I respond to the issues that Segal raises about my theorization of ageing and creative dissociation, considering how that theory is influenced by the strengthening of its political dimension.

Of course I agree with Segal that sexism plays a crucial role in the social and psychological construction of ageism. With her, I see the mythic female figures that haunt our culture—the witch, the hag, the gorgon, and the crone—as representing the antipathy that ageing women both encounter and internalize. Defined in opposition to the benignly maternal, these fantastic females exceed social laws and cultural practices, which govern the reproductive body that grounds gender roles and social differences. Conceptualized as anarchic, these haunting specters threaten to reclaim the primal energies and secret knowledge of their excluded sphere for their own resistant and subversive purposes.

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