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Aging, appearance and meanings among old women from Brazil and Spain

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Patricia da Silva Yokomizo
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Escola de Artes, Ciências e Humanidades
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Andrea Lopes; Guita Grin Debert; Marisa Accioly Rodrigues da Costa Domingues; Beltrina da Purificação da Corte Pereira
Advisor: Andrea Lopes

The discourse on old age has been in force in the last decades as a synonym with decadence, promoting widely ways to combat aging through the use of products and services that promise eternal youth, especially to women. In this context, the appearance is presented by different informal educators, mainly the media and advertising, as an important resource for engagement in social life. Purpose: to investigate, characterize and compare, in the context of informal education and social engagement, how Brazilian and Spanish elderly women, with low income and schooling, construct their personal appearances. Originality/value: analysis of the potential of appearance for the management of female aging in a cross-cultural context and elaboration of a register on the ways of composing the personal aspects among a group less investigated in relation to the theme. Method: qualitative, exploratory and descriptive research, based on ethnographic method. Use of free and participant observation, informal conversations, in-depth interviews, documentation and photographic records techniques. Use of semi-structured script and field notebook. The participants were: 1) nine Brazilian women and 11 Spanish women aged 80 and over; 2) living most of their lives, respectively, in São Paulo and Madrid cities; 3) participants in community life; 4) housewives in old age; 5) low income and schooling; 6) without cognitive impairment. Application of Free and Informed Consent Term. Findings: it was found that the construction of the appearance is accomplished throughout life. For both Brazilian and Spanish, the ways of composing and meaning personal presentation are related to their informal education and their social engagement. The most active informal educators are, in particular, family members, friends and professionals of the centers of coexistence for the elderly. Among the meanings transmitted through the appearance, for both groups, the main ones were decency, naturalness and femininity. In general, no significant transcultural differences were found considering the variables age, gender, income and schooling. Conclusions: it is understood that appearance is an interesting variable for studies and actions around the ways of getting older and getting involved in different social contexts. It is suggested to continue with research on the subject, relating it to other variables not explored in this study, such as marital status and generation, which were also relevant. Support: São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) (AU)

FAPESP's process: 15/12100-5 - Old age and construction of appearance: the importance of informal education in the social engagement of Brazilian and Spanish octogenarian women
Grantee:Patrícia da Silva Yokomizo
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Master