Flying in the face of this culture’s extreme ageism, STILL DOING IT explores the lives of older women. Partnered, single, straight, gay, black and white, nine extraordinary women, 67-87, express with startling honesty and humor how they feel about themselves, sex and love in later life and the poignant realities of aging.
Outspoken for their generation these women mark a sea change. Women over 65 are already the fastest growing segment of the population and when the baby boomers begin to turn 65 in 2011 their numbers will swell.
STILL DOING IT reveals the wonderful truth that many older women are actually beginning intense romantic relationships after 65. Frances, 87, continues to enjoy a palpably sexual relationship with journalist David Steinberg, the love of her life she met at 80. Aware that many people see her as "nothing but an old woman," she is defiant in living life on her own terms.
We meet Ruth who met her husband Harry after 30 years of dating hell; Harriet, a writer and bohemian who continues to see sex as the core of her life; and Freddie, who enjoyed the best sex of her life with her third husband Syd.
We also meet sex expert Betty Dodson who met her boyfriend Eric, 47 years her junior, in cyberspace when she was 69. Betty's life (and her humor) stand not only in defiance of the sexual compliance expected of women, but as a reminder that what is really happening is often far more interesting than the limited scenarios the media create.
We also follow lesbian partners Ellen and Dolores who met each other in their 60’s. For Ellen, who was a model 1950’s suburban housewife, sexuality is central. It is why she endured the pain of leaving her good, but sexually unsatisfying marriage. For her the women's movement rescued her from an isolation that began as a child when she realized she was attracted to girls and culminated when her strong feelings for women finally made her realize she had to get a divorce. Ellen revels in her relationship with Dolores, and as an activist fights to ensure that older gays and lesbians are not forced back into the closet in nursing homes and senior centers.
STILL DOING IT not only delves into each woman's personal history but also into the broader history these women lived through. Archival footage, stills and music are integrated to take the audience from the 1940s and 1950's to the explosive energy of the women's movement and the sexual revolution. Entering these past decades reminds us that these times were far more radical than the conservative times we are living in now. The doc thus illustrates the reality that while many older women are still reluctant to speak about their personal lives there is a new vanguard of women over 65 who came into their own later in life and have taken that strong sense of themselves and their sexuality into their older age. Even the two churchgoing African American great grandmothers, Juanita and Elaine, featured in the film are redefining themselves as they age.
STILL DOING IT follows the lives of these nine extraordinary older women as well as this society's complex relationship to aging with surprising and revelatory results.
Running time: 54 minutes.