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An exploration and history of the demonisation of the middle-aged woman, and a re-evaluation and defence of the role and relevance of middle-aged woman in our society.

Fleet / Little, Brown
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Victoria Smith



What is about women in their forties and beyond that seems to enrage almost everyone?

In the last few years, as identity politics have taken hold, middle-aged women have found themselves talked and written about as morally inferior beings: the face of bigotry, entitlement and selfishness, to be ignored, pitied or abused.

In Hags, Victoria Smith asks why these women are treated with such active disdain. Each chapter takes a different theme – care work, beauty, violence, political organization, sex – and explores it in relation to middle-aged women’s beliefs, bodies, histories and choices. Victoria Smith traces the attitudes she describes through history, and explores the very specific reasons why this type of misogyny is so very now. The result is a book that is absorbing, insightful, witty and bang on time.


‘Brilliantly and unrelentingly exposes all the weasel ways in which ageist misogyny enables regressive beliefs to be recast as progressive… a future classic, up there with Joan Smith’s Misogynies and Susan Faludi’s Backlash.’
Rachel Cooke, The Observer

‘Hags is rich and complex and witty and cleverer than I am.’
Rose George, The Spectator

‘Smith argues that women “past their expiry date” are viewed with a cruel lack of sympathy, which stems from men’s and younger women’s refusal to acknowledge that they too will grow older; that they were once powerless babies; and that the women who gave birth to them, dealt with their tantrums, and taught them how to use a toilet are truly their peers. Young women should think twice before they joke at the expense of “Karens”- one day they will be Karens, too.’
Chosen by Ellen Pasternack in The Critic as a book of the year

‘This eloquent, clever and devestating book describes the last remaining acceptable prejudice, one that is now even posited as progress: the loathing of older women.’
Janice Turner, The Times

‘Devastating and clever.’
Bel Mooney, Mail on Sunday

‘Riveting, vital and impossible to read without rage.’
Lissa Evans, author of Old Baggage

‘Smith is very, very funny. But she’s making a serious point, all the same, about the way that women past a certain age are not merely ignored, but treated as all-purpose antagonists…’