Women Rowing North Book Summary - Women Rowing North Book explained in key points
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Women Rowing North summary

Mary Pipher

Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing As We Age

4.2 (21 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

Women Rowing North by Mary Pipher is a guide for women navigating the challenges of aging. It offers insight and advice on how to cultivate resilience, joy, and meaning in later life, drawing on the author's personal experience and interviews with over 100 women.

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    Women Rowing North
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    Ageism, particularly against older women, is common in American society.

    Growing older can be alienating and challenging, especially for women. The author, now in her seventies, recently came face-to-face with this challenge when a little girl approached her in a park and sweetly asked, “Where do old ladies come from?”

    This question might seem astonishing. But it’s not really that surprising, given the extent to which American culture excludes and disempowers older women. This alienation is so widespread that this little girl’s confusion is understandable. Consider how often older American women are portrayed negatively in popular culture. For instance, mothers-in-law are commonly the butt of derisive jokes or viewed as bossy, nagging nuisances. The word ‘witch’ is often used to describe older women, as well.

    While sexist ageism overtly portrays older women negatively, this sort of prejudice manifests in more subtle ways as well, like in the total erasure of older women from popular culture. There is a dire underrepresentation of older people, and particularly older women, in American films. A 2017 study conducted by the Media Diversity and Social Change Initiative found that less than 12 percent of films that won an Academy Award between 2014 and 2016 featured older people. More shockingly still, older women were featured in close to none of them.

    This discrimination against older people in Hollywood is a reflection of the prejudice endemic in American society – a culture that values youth and beauty, while fearing and denigrating the aged. This fear and hatred, known as gerontophobia, was highlighted in a 2012 study by the Yale School of Public Health. The study assessed the extent to which social groups on Facebook dedicated to the elderly expressed disapproval of older people in their group descriptions. The researchers found that nearly all of them used negative stereotypes about the elderly, often denigrating and infantilizing them.

    Ultimately, unkind and discriminatory attitudes toward older people stem from ignorance. While older people know how it feels to be a child, a teenager and a middle-aged person, no other age group has experienced being old. Thus, younger age groups struggle to imagine the reality of advanced age and may lack empathy and understanding. Ageism may be understandable, but it’s still hugely damaging. And not just to the old, but to the young, as well.

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    What is Women Rowing North about?

    Women Rowing North (2019) explores how women can continue to flourish as they enter their sixties and seventies. Through poignant stories from real women’s lives, these blinks examine the possibilities for happiness, friendship and community engagement in the later stages of life.

    Women Rowing North Review

    Women Rowing North (2019) is a thought-provoking book that explores the challenges and opportunities of women navigating the complexities of aging. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With insightful anecdotes and poignant stories, it offers a realistic and relatable portrayal of women's experiences as they age.
    • The book provides practical advice on how to embrace the changes that come with aging, promoting resilience and self-growth.
    • It tackles important topics such as self-care, relationships, and societal expectations, making it a valuable resource for women at any stage of life.

    Best quote from Women Rowing North

    After all, ageism is a prejudice against ones future self.

    —Mary Pipher
    example alt text

    Who should read Women Rowing North?

    • Older women looking for inspiration
    • Self-help enthusiasts seeking fresh insights
    • Those interested in gender politics

    About the Author

    Mary Pipher is a clinical psychologist and author specializing in trauma, women’s mental health and the impact of culture on psychological well-being. Pipher has written several New York Times best sellers, including Reviving Ophelia and Another Country.

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    Women Rowing North FAQs 

    What is the main message of Women Rowing North?

    The main message of Women Rowing North is about navigating the challenges of growing older with purpose and resilience.

    How long does it take to read Women Rowing North?

    The estimated reading time for Women Rowing North is several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Women Rowing North a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Women Rowing North is worth reading as it provides valuable insights and practical advice for women entering the later stages of life.

    Who is the author of Women Rowing North?

    The author of Women Rowing North is Mary Pipher.

    What to read after Women Rowing North?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Women Rowing North, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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