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Brothers, D. Shane, E. (2020). Prologue: As Women Age: A Psychoanalytic Perspective. Psychoanal. Inq., 40(3):159-160.

(2020). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 40(3):159-160


Prologue: As Women Age: A Psychoanalytic Perspective

Doris Brothers, Ph.D. and Estelle Shane, Ph.D.

If you look around the auditorium at most any psychoanalytic conference, you will probably find that a great many of the seats are filled by women over fifty. Yet the presentations these women are offered rarely deal with the joys and difficulties of growing old in today’s youth-oriented culture. We suspect that one reason for this omission is that aging in itself tends to be associated with illness, death, irrelevance, and disconnection – issues that few of us want to face. But even more significantly, women who have outlived their sexual desirability and reproductive value, and consequently often go unseen and unheard in our society, may not be considered worthy of psychoanalytic attention.

Despite these caveats, we strongly believe that the articles in this issue will persuade you that there is much to be gained by attending to women’s aging. Our issue opens with Mark Freeman’s article, “The Sacred Beauty of Finite Life: Re-Imagining the Face of the Other,” in which he movingly recounts his relationship with his mother during the ten years of her dementia. As Freeman notes, his article centers around the terms “sacred,” “beauty,” and “finite life.” He writes: “By examining them one-by-one and discerning the nexus of their interrelationship, we may be better poised to re-imagine the face of the Other and to recognize, in life’s transience, what is most precious and enduring” (p. 161).

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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