Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Meet me in St. Louis

Webster University's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Virtual Conference, 23-25 February.



My lecture: The Urgent Need for a New Narrative on Ageing; 24th February, 11 AM - 12 St. Louis time

Age is not a popular diversity dimension to focus on. Research shows comparably little interest, there are no allies, no hashtags trending. The reluctance to turn it into an issue society discusses leads to little awareness. Ageism hardly elicits emotional responses in everyday life – no matter if encountered in health care, design, language, marketing, movies, urban planning or at the workplace, to mention a few. We are taught gerontophobic stereotypes in younger years and start developing prejudice against our future selves early which makes them appear more acceptable at a later stage and us vulnerable to self-stereotyping. Despite the need to act and the fact that old age, if we are lucky, affects us all, stigmatising ageing is widely accepted.

Friday, 19 February 2021

APA Guidelines: Bias-Free Language for Age

"Avoid using terms such as “seniors,” “elderly,” “the aged,” “aging dependents,” and similar “othering” terms because they connote a stereotype and suggest that members of the group are not part of society but rather a group apart (see Lundebjerg et al., 2017; Sweetland et al., 2017). Do not use these stigmatizing terms in your research even if your participants use them to refer to themselves (also see guidance regarding disability). Likewise, avoid negativistic and fatalistic attitudes toward aging, such as age as being an obstacle to overcome (Lindland et al., 2015). Do not use “senile”; it is an outdated term with no agreed-upon meaning. Use “dementia” instead of “senility”; specify the type of dementia when known (e.g., dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease). Be sure your language conveys that aging is a normal part of the human experience and is separate from disease and disorder." 
::: More: APA Guidelines



photograph by Lee Friedlander via

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Self-Stereotypes and Handwriting

Abstract: (...) Handwriting samples of 20 Ss (mean age 71 yrs) were randomly selected, with half of the sample taken from individuals who had been subliminally exposed to positive stereotypes of aging while the other half was taken from individuals who had been subliminally exposed to negative stereotypes of aging. The handwriting samples were produced both before and after the priming. 40 individuals (aged 16–36 yrs) then judged the handwriting samples according to how much they felt the samples were characterized by six attributes: accomplished, confident, deteriorating, senile, shaky, and wise. The age of each writer was also guessed. Results found that judges were able to distinguish the writers who had been exposed to the negative stereotypes from those exposed to positive stereotypes. It is concluded that self-stereotypes influence mental functioning and behavior in the elderly. (...)



- Levy, B. (2000). Handwriting as a reflection of aging self-stereotypes. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 33(1), 81–94.
- photograph by Leon Levinstein via

Sunday, 31 January 2021

Sweet Country

"Thornton’s sensitively scripted story, which draws on the conventions of the western, is simple. Its social and ethical implications, though, are not."
Lucio Crispino


"Its political messages are unsubtle, but the tone is meditative and the drama achingly personal."
Luke Backmaster



"It resonates in a strange way with people. It’s a classic tale. It’s about land grabs. It’s about taking over the country. It’s a basic western that people relate to on a range of different levels, based in a place they don’t have access to: 1920s central Australia."
Warwick Thornton



images via and via and via and via

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Drawn to the fundamental question of what's happening in the world: Susan Meiselas

Susan Meiselas, member of Magnum Photos since 1976, is committed to sharing the stories of women (via), but not only. Basically, she is "drawn to the fundamental question of what's happening in the world" (via). "A Room of Their Own", for instance, is a project of hers about women in  a refuge centre in the UK (more).



"By intuitively following her own instincts over the course of her career, Meiselas has built a unique body of work that examines the many lives and stories of women that might have otherwise been overlooked. Her inclusive process brings a diverse array of voices to bear on issues from human rights to civil conflict, and encourages us to become more responsible in how we consume and interpret images."
Lisa Sutcliffe

"I think it’s crucial to acknowledge one’s outsiderness, and perhaps the limited capacity to ever become an “insider” unless you’re reporting on your own subjective experience. You’re faced with that “other than” status all the time; how you resolve it in each situation doesn’t always feel the same. In the classical sense, ethnographers speak about deviants: the people who reach out and—for reasons that one doesn’t necessarily understand at the time—become the people who start to introduce you to their community."
Susan Meiselas



From 1972 to 1975, Meiselas documented women performing striptease at small-town carnivals in the US which she followed from town to town (via).

"I met Lena on the first day she arrived to get a job at the girl show near her home town in Damariscotta, Maine. The second portrait shown here is long after that ‘first day’. She’d worked the shows for three summers; her body revealed the wear of those years. She was astoundingly articulate and open to sharing her feelings. She at times expressed alienation or sudden ecstasy. She was defiant. She challenged the managers, both male and female, and was erratic in her moods when performing. I wanted my photographs of her to convey her complexity. We knew each other over many years. When her mother sent me a letter saying she had died of an overdose, it was just after I’d been photographing the insurrection in Nicaragua (1978–9). There I had seen a very different kind of death. The idealistic Sandinista slogan was Patria libre o Morir (‘a free country or death’). I was in the midst of covering this phenomenally collective, enveloping movement, and in contrast Lena seemed so isolated and alone."
Susan Meiselas

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photographs by Susan Meiselas via and via

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Doing Gender in Coffee Shops

"Overall my observations confirmed my assumption that the majority of customers frequenting Coffee Corps displayed either hegemonic masculinity or emphasized femininity (Connell 1987). However, the focus of my research was to identify gender maneuvering strategies (Schippers 2002), therefore the results of this study suggest that many individuals performed gender displays which differed from their perceived primary gender expression to varying degrees...



...These displays often seemed to reify hegemonic masculinity when enacted by individuals displaying an overall masculine or feminine gender display, and conversely a few individuals appeared to challenge the gender hierarchy through a display of an alternative femininity. Examples of gender maneuvering were often observed in the interactions of mixed-gender dyads in which individuals attempted to access masculine cultural capital through a temporary display of hegemonic masculinity or emphasized femininity." 
McClean, 2014 

"The way in which customers interact with employees shapes and reinforces present notions of gender. Many of my coworkers are verbal about their under-standing of male and female gender performances. At times, they were quick to assume passivity or compliance from female customers regardless of their engagement with emphasized fem-ininity as well as assumed assertiveness and confidence in men regardless of the performances of hegemonic masculinity. In es-sence, they were quick to essentialize male and female behavior based on the traditional gender performances that took place at The Coffee House. Therefore, traditional gender performances were also upheld by my coworkers through their narratives of essentialist gender differences." 
Limbourg, 2003

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- Limbourg, A. (2003). Large Americano, Extra Masculine: How People Do Gender at the Coffee House. Journal for Undergraduate Ethnography, 3(2), link
-McClean, J. (2014). Gender Maneuvering over Coffee: Doing Gender through Displays of Hegemonic Masculinity and Alternative Femininity. Journal for Undergraduate Ethnography, 4(2), 19-31.
- photograph by Saul Leiter via

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Sunny and cold with a small chance of snow and a higher chance of inclusion

New German Media Makers, an association of journalists with different backgrounds, has named a low-pressure system bringing low temperatures Ahmet, after a boy's name of Turkish origin in order to make weather news more cross-cultural and make the country's ethnic diversity more visible. Other names to follow for low-pressure systems are Cemal, Goran, Hakim and Dimitrios, and Bożena, Chana or Dragica for high-pressure systems (via).



"The weather-naming project, which the group dubbed #WeatherCorrection, is a symbolic initiative demanding that Germany’s diversity be better reflected across society. The group is lobbying German media outlets to establish hiring quotas for journalists of colour and from migrant families. The group estimates that journalists of colour are vastly underrepresented in the media in Germany. They say only between 5% to 10% of reporters and editors in Germany have migrant roots."

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photograph by Saul Leiter via

Monday, 4 January 2021

The Pandemic. The Best Time for Elder Financial Abuse.

"Abusers are using the threat of the virus and the isolation to provide misinformation to people. One of the threats that abusers are using is… 'If you don't hand over your check, I can get you put into a nursing home, and you will die there' or 'If you don't hand over your check, I'll come visit you, and I've been out and exposed. Being locked in the house with the person they might be most afraid of — who might be threatening, hurting or manipulating them — it takes a situation that was rocky beforehand and makes it worse in this environment. We expect that it's getting worse."
Bonnie Brandl



photograph by Richard Kalvar (NYC, 1969) via

Sunday, 3 January 2021

Rodriguez. Bigger than Elvis.

I wonder about the tears in children's eyes
And I wonder about the soldier that dies
I wonder will this hatred ever end?
I wonder and worry, my friend
I wonder, I wonder, wonder don't you?


"The first white anti-Apartheid movement derived [inspiration] from a few rock bands. Rodriguez was the first artist that actually had political content that was anti-establishment that got heard. ... By remote control, Rodriguez was actually changing a society." 
In the 1970s, Sixto Rodriguez was a superstar in South Africa where some of his songs became anthems of the anti-Apartheid movement (via) ... making him bigger than Elvis ... and where his music was "outlawed by the authorities and only played on pirate radio" (via). 
It’s the plaintive, yearning, totally honest-and-true way that Rodriguez sings, combined with his easy fingering on a six-string guitar, that touches the heart and mind. That’s why his music is said to have the political impact and cultural clout of the early Bob Dylan. (via)

Rodriguez grew up witnessing first-hand the oppression throughout the city (Detroit). What he experienced on the streets inspired his songs, and he began his musical career–or attempted to. During the day, Rodriguez was a hard-working laborer who worked in demolition and housing restoration, and by night he was a melodic, poetic messenger, a voice for the locally oppressed. (via)



photograph via, song "I wonder" via YouTube

Saturday, 2 January 2021

... entirely spurious ... but important

"All nationalistic distinctions - all claims to be better than somebody else because you have a different-shaped skull or speak a different dialect - are entirely spurious, but they are important so long as people believe in them."
George Orwell



photograph by James Barnor via