La abuela perplex: Cambiando el guión de las latinas mayores

Translated title of the contribution: The abuela perplex: Unscripting Latina elderhood

Mérida M. Rúa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This essay takes up a facet of “aging in displacement”—the experience of coming of age in a context of recurring spatial and social dislocation—by considering how often the expectation that older adult Latinas serve as idealized abuela figures dislocates these women’s sophisticated conceptions of themselves and their ways of being. It offers the concept of the “abuela perplex,” a constricting age-gender-sexual script that imagines Latinas in later adulthood as pious asexual beings perpetually in the service of others, to deconstruct how this figure of adoration and reverence dominates ideas about Latina elderhood. The sites of analysis—the stage, the screen, and daily life—shed light on the ways in which older adult Latinas engage with these expectations, whether they are abuelas or not.

Translated title of the contributionThe abuela perplex: Unscripting Latina elderhood
Original languageSpanish
Pages (from-to)498-517
Number of pages20
JournalLatino Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Abuela
  • Older Latinas
  • Sexuality
  • Urban life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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