This study aims to examine the phenomenon of self-perceived age (SPA) identity for Generation X (GenX) women in the UK. Squeezed between the more ubiquitous “boomer” and “millennial” cohorts, and now with both gender and age stigma-related challenges, this study looks to provide insights for understanding this group for marketing.
This study adopts an existential phenomenological approach using a hybrid structured/hermeneutic research design. Data is collected using solicited diary research (SDR) that elicits autoethnographic insights into the lived experiences of GenX women, these in the context of SPA.
For this group, the authors find age a gendered phenomenon represented via seven “age frames”, collectively an “organisation of experience”. Age identity appears not to have unified meaning but is contingent upon individuals and their experiences. These frames then provide further insights into how diarists react to the stigma of gendered ageism.
SDR appeals to participants who like completing diaries and are motivated by the research topic. This limits both diversity of response and sample size, but coincidentally enhances elicitation potential – outweighing, the authors believe, these constraints. The sample comprises UK women only.
This study acknowledges GenX women as socially real, but from an SPA perspective they are heterogeneous, and consequently distributed across many segments. Here, age is a psychographic, not demographic, variable – a subjective rather than chronological condition requiring a nuanced response from marketers.
To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first formal study into how SPA identity is manifested for GenX women. Methodologically, this study uses e-journals/diaries, an approach not yet fully exploited in marketing research.
This research has been entirely funded by Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent Unversity.
Gillooley, S.-M., Resnick, S.M., Woodall, T. and Allison, S. (2023), "The self-perceived age of GenX women: prioritising female subjective age identity in marketing", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 57 No. 10, pp. 2765-2807. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-04-2022-0267
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