The Invisible Majority
The social sciences have been dominated by a male middle-class bias, and this has served to invalidate the unique experiences and perspectives of women. Studies on aging have usually considered older men and women as a homogeneous, asexual group, as Dulude (1988) has stated,
Feminism has begun to correct this bias, but most research on women has concentrated on younger and middle-aged women, just as most active feminist lobbying has focused on issues as they affect women's early and middle adult years. No doubt, changes made now will positively affect the lives of future older women, but the process is a slow and indirect one. McDaniel (1989) has suggested that combining the sociology of aging with the sociology of women will result in more and better research on older women, while the increasing pressure from women, especially "greying" feminists, will force policy-makers to consider the needs of older women.
Ageism is Sexism
In a broader social context, growing old returns individuals to the "private" world of domesticity and isolates them from the social and economic relations of the "public" world. In this sense, ageism encountered by elderly men may simply introduce them to the fact that they are now treated "more like women": as increasingly dependent, vulnerable, and marginal. Aging is, for the most part, a "feminized state" (Roebuck, 1983), characterized by low status, economic vulnerability and social exclusion.