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 Vanessa Cecil

Vanessa Cecil

PhD student

 Washington Singer 301


Washington Singer Laboratories, University of Exeter, Perry Road, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, EX4 4QG, UK


I am conducting PhD research under the supervision of Drs. Louise Pendry, Katherine Ashbullby and Jessica Salvatore (in the US) researching the effects of age stigma on older women who find they are subject to conflicting societal messages about the changes in their appearance as they age.

When ageism, sexism and lookism intersect women face a triple jeopardy. They find themselves expected to both age gracefully (never be 'Mutton dressed as lamb') and simultaneously to remain forever young (do not 'Let yourself go'). I am interested in how they negotiate these pressures, the prevailing stereotypes, and stigmas and whether online support helps or hinders the process.

Broad research specialisms:

  • Gendered Ageism,
  • Stereotyping,
  • Stigma concealment 
  • Appearance,
  • Online communities,
  • Social identity,
  • Intersectionality,
  • Aesthetic labour.


MSc Psychological Research Methods (Distinction) (Exeter)
BA Social Science and Art (Distinction) (Exeter)

Research group links

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Research interests


Cecil, V., Pendry, L. F., Ashbullby, K., & Salvatore, J. (2022). Masquerading their way to authenticity: Does age stigma concealment benefit older women? Journal of Women & Aging, 1-18.

Cecil, V., Pendry, L. F., Salvatore, J., Mycroft, H., & Kurz, T. (2021). Gendered ageism and gray hair: must older women choose between feeling authentic and looking competent? Journal of Women & Aging, 1-16.  

Cecil, V.,  Pendry, L., Kurz, T., & Salvatore, J. (2018). Women’s grey hair as an abomination of the body: Conceal and pass, or reveal and subvert. In Barak-Brandes, S. & Kama, A. (Eds.) Feminist Interrogations of Women's Head Hair: Crown of Glory and Shame. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.  

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Journal articles

Cecil V, Pendry LF, Salvatore J, Mycroft H, Kurz T (2021). Gendered ageism and gray hair: must older women choose between feeling authentic and looking competent?. Journal of Women & Aging, 34(2), 210-225.

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