In Our Prime: How Older Women Are Reinventing the Road Ahead (Hardcover)

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Prize-winning author Susan J. Douglas calls on women of all ages to join together now to fight against gendered ageism, to secure our country’s financial safety net, and to make a brighter, more welcome future for older women.


Do you see women your age portrayed as puttering gardeners and docile grannies? Do you feel bombarded by anti-aging products that insist you must "defy" getting older? And have you had enough, and are ready to challenge the intertwining of sexism and ageism in our culture? Know that you are not alone.


Susan J. Douglas declares that it is time for the largest female generation over fifty to reinvent what it means to be an older woman and to challenge the outdated stereotypes—think doddering or shrewish—that Hollywood and TV have assigned them. She zones in on how the anti-aging cosmetics industry targets older and younger women alike with their products, and how Big Pharma ads equate getting older with disease and decline. Douglas exposes the ageism that mature women face at work, and why conservatives’ decades-long attacks on Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare disproportionately affect women.


With a sharp sense of justice and fresh wit, In Our Prime sees a social movement emerging that may help to create a different view of—and life for—older women. It celebrates the women who broke down legal barriers in the past, as well as today’s activists, career women, actors, and others who defy stereotypical images by embracing their age, by remaining strong, and by being socially involved.



About the Author


Susan J. Douglas is Catherine Neafie Kellogg Professor of Communication and Media at the University of Michigan. The author most recently of In Our Prime as well as the groundbreaking works Where the Girls Are, The Rise of Enlightened Sexism, and The Mommy Myth, she lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Praise For…


[It is] impossible to deny the political, economic and cultural potential of what Douglas describes as an incipient demographic revolution…Douglas has performed a valuable service.
— Leslie Bennets

A feminist intervention, a call to reclaim women’s aging as a social movement and harness their voices, experience, and wisdom toward social change…forward-thinking and hopeful.
— Andi Zeisler

In Our Prime is a masterful takedown of gendered ageism.

— Molly Sprayregen

With humor and aplomb, Douglas makes a convincing case for how to end the war on older women and reinvent what aging can mean.
— Priscilla Kipp

Douglas, a master at powerfully marshaling anecdotes, statistics, and words, asks women to push back and support each other.

Smart, savvy, and informed, Douglas is the perfect guide for women who are sick of the rampant sexism and ageism in our society and are ready to do something about it. 

Today’s older women are energetic, active and involved with life way beyond grandkids and gardening. The majority say they are feminists. Yet society ignores us, when it isn’t selling us face cream and face lifts. Susan J. Douglas is here to rouse us and put our issues front and center in today’s revitalized women's movement. More power to her! Read this book, ladies, and let’s get very, very busy.
— Katha Pollitt, author of Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights

In this rollicking, riveting celebration of lifespan feminism, Douglas critiques the gendered ageism of Big Pharma, cosmetics-pushers, and Hollywood, savages mansplaining statistics, and urges boomer women to take to the barricades to safeguard the nation’s social and financial safety net. In Our Prime is personal, powerful, and persuasive. A must-read.

— Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director, Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania

Susan J. Douglas has managed to combine an unstinting but often hilarious media critique with a social analysis of feminism that is as astute as it is inspirational. There’s simply no other feminist writer who is able to take our culture apart with such good humor.
— Susan Bordo, author of The Destruction of Hillary Clinton

Women of all ages, unite! In Our Prime is a skilled and stirring call for young and old to confront the ‘double helix of ageism and sexism that still…courses through our culture’ and complete the unfinished business of the women’s movement. Susan J. Douglas’s blueprint for ‘bridge feminism’ offers vision, strategies, and tools for the struggle. We are indeed in our prime—at any age—and this is our time.

— Ashton Applewhite, author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism

Susan Douglas’ fierce, funny, engaging book sent me off to Google Maggie Kuhn, the over-fifty warrior who challenged negative ideas about older women at the dawn of Second Wave feminism. Douglas thinks older women are due to rise up again—arm in arm with sisters across the generational divide—and I am ready to storm the barricades with them. I was alarmed by Douglas' startling yet non-hyperbolic depictions of gendered ageism—as well as real threats to Medicare and Social Security. In Our Prime is not just for older women—or even exclusively women. In droll, lively, exhaustively documented prose, it exposes the threat that market fundamentalism poses to people across the economic spectrum.

— M. G. Lord, author of The Accidental Feminist

Susan Douglas’s hilarious and deeply intelligent book chronicles how older women are rejecting sexist ageism. Required reading for those of us who are 50 or older —and everyone who (with any luck) someday will be. An informative and sharp call to arms, In Our Prime just may help bring the revolution we all need.

— Liza Featherstone, author of Divining Desire
Product Details
ISBN: 9780393652550
ISBN-10: 0393652556
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: March 10th, 2020
Pages: 288
Language: English