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.
- Older Latinas
- Urban life
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Sociology and Political Science