FORUM FOR ANTHROPOLOGY AND CULTURE

ANTROPOLOGICHESKIJ FORUM
RUS | ENG

Antropologicheskij forum, 2018, no. 38

 

A Review of JANE TRAIES, THE LIVES OF OLDER LESBIANS: SEXUALITY, IDENTITY AND THE LIFE COURSE. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, 256 pp.

Polina Kislitsyna
European University at St Petersburg
6/1 А Gagarinskaya Str., St Petersburg, Russia
pkislitsyna()eu.spb.ru

Abstract: This book by Jane Traies investigates various aspects of the lives of older British lesbians. The author has collected a large empirical base for her research. According to the author’s opinion, the main aim of this research is to overcome invisibility of older lesbians in culture and academia, to foreground their life experience and to preserve their stories. Jane Traies provides quantitative data on the marital status of her respondents and describes hidden support networks within the lesbian community. The book discusses how lesbian identity was formed in 1940–1970 while there was no information about homosexuality. Jane Traies pays attention to how the second wave of feminism influenced the lives of her informants and the conflict between the feminist community and those who identified themselves as butch or femmes. Of particular interest is the consideration of stories about “suffering, surviving and surpassing”. These are the several plots of biographical narratives affecting stigmatization and ways to cope with it. Jane Traies offers rich material and a range of interesting observations. However, this review reveals several methodological shortcomings regarding the lack of due criticism in relation to her sources, the confusion of concepts of “sexual identity” and “sexual practices”, and some victimization of informants.

Keywords: homosexuality, lesbian, gender, aging, biographies.

To cite: Kislitsyna P., ‘A Review of Jane Traies, The Lives of Older Lesbians: Sexuality, Identity and the Life Course. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, 256 pp.’, Antropologicheskij forum, 2018, no. 38, pp. 211–221.

doi: 10.31250/1815-8870-2018-14-38-211-221

URL: http://anthropologie.kunstkamera.ru/files/pdf/038/kislitsyna.pdf