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Turning Vinegar into Wine: Humorous Self-Presentations among Older GLBTQ Online Daters

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Publisher
Elsevier Inc.
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Keywords
  • Social Sciences

Abstract

This study investigates humorous and self-mocking comments about age and age-related appearance among older gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and queer advertisers in two Swedish Internet dating forums. Using a perspective where age is regarded as an accomplishment, humor was investigated as a way of relating to restrictive norms concerning age and sexuality. It was concluded that self-mocking comments, although sometimes subverting norms of age-appropriate behavior, contributed to allocating ambiguous problematic status to old age. According to this analysis, humor appeared as a form of age-salient maneuvering. If we change analytical focus and regard self-presentations as performances of marketability, the study illustrated that self-mocking comments on old age, being overweight, impotence and other age-related changes were in fact part of a repertoire that displayed marketable characteristics such as humor, self-distance and honesty among advertisers. The last part of the paper discusses these findings in terms of a need to focus on aspects that are relevant to the local context where the enactment is taking place, and the need to take care not to construct age and aging as the only objects of knowledge within aging research.

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