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Hags: The Demonisation of Middle-Aged Women

Victoria Smith

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Feminism & feminist theory

An examination of the torrent of ageism and misogyny currently directed against women in their forties and older.

What is about about women in their forties and beyond that seems to enrage - almost everyone?

In the last few years, as identity politics has taken hold, middle-aged women have found themselves talked and written about as morally inferior beings, the face of bigotry, entitlement and selfishness, to be ignored, pitied or abused.

Hags asks the question why these women are treated with such active disdain. Each chapter takes a different theme - care work, beauty, violence, political organization, sex - and explores it in relation to middle-aged women's beliefs, bodies and choices. Victoria Smith traces the attitudes she describes back to the same anxieties about older women that drove Early Modern witch hunts, and explores the very specific reasons why this type of misogyny is so powerful today. The demonisation of hags has never felt more now.

Victoria Smith has decided in this book that she will be the Karen so nobody else has to be, and she ends on a positive note, exploring potential solutions which can benefit all women, hags and hags-in-waiting.

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