Friday, 14 May 2021

Martha Cooper: Woman + Photographer.

Martha Cooper was the first women photographer at the New York Post and being the only one there she was often assigned weather related or "soft journalism" photographs since she was "only" a woman and only men could handle hard news such as politics and crime. Cooper went her own way and "shot what she wanted" ... but "she had to fight for it" (via).

::: Martha: A Picture Story: TRAILER

photographs via, via, via and via

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Football World Cup Team Stereotypes

Here is a lovely collection of football stereotypes...

Germany: A bunch of teutonic robots who play unsexy but merciless and efficient football in rigid formations, and always seem to make at least the semi-finals of everything. They never crack under pressure, suffer injuries, or have major disciplinary issues.

Italy: Gesticulating prima donnas who worship at the altar of the beautiful game and fly into the air screaming and clutching at their limbs at the slightest tap. Often disappointments, but when everything clicks, (...), it’s beautiful.

England: A bunch of egotistical Premier League superstars who on paper should be dominant but can never quite figure out how to play together. No matter the tactical genius of whatever European coach has been brought in, they always end up just hoofing it downfield over and over and largely failing to score. Utterly doomed if things go to penalties.

Brazil: Forever the kings of football, whose legendary stars like Pele and Ronaldo could create goals out of nothing and dance around whole teams with a smile on their face.

Argentina: They run circles around everyone and score some of the most beautiful goals in football’s history, but they’re also dirty rotten cheaters. Wait, can you tell this is being written by an England fan?

United States: Chipper, harmless underdogs who just learned how to play “soccer” (lol wut) last week or so and probably compete in some sort of amateur league back home. Weirdly good at producing internationally renowned goalies. Can’t seem to decide on a color for their uniform—are they red? White? Blue? Some combination featuring stripes? (literally via)
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photograph (Gigi Riva) via

Monday, 3 May 2021

Boy George: "past a certain age"

"For artists of my caliber, we're not played on the radio, so we don't really get a chance to get involved in that debate at all. We don't get a chance, because this weird kind of ageism exists in pop music. If you're past a certain age, you're not relevant. That's the kind of cliched term."
Boy George

photograph via

Sunday, 2 May 2021

Framing "Honour" Killings

Treating issues such as "honour" killing within migrant communities has proven to be difficult since it is often linked to stigmatising them as backward and "other". Generally speaking, in dominant public discourse, "honour" killing is associated with Islamic and/or Arab cultures.

"Honour" killings are mostly seen as culture-bound but these culture-based frames are not the only approach. Multicultural societies also offer gender-based frames defining the concept of so-called honour as patriarchal rather than cultural and regarding "honour" killings as part of violence against women (Ercan, 2014) since the victims are women and girls (via). Gender-based frames are seen as way to avoid the division of majority and minority culture. According to an analysis of problem definitions in Britain and Germany, "the British debate focuses on the gender-related dimension of 'honour killings'" and sees it as violence against women while in Germany, "honour" killings are discussed as "a culturally specific type of murder" (Ercan, 2014).

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- Ercan, S. A. (2014). Same Problem, Different Solutions: The Case of 'Honour Killing' in Germany and Britain. In A. K. Gill et al. (eds.) 'Honour' Killing and Violence. Palgrave Macmillan
- photograph via

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Masculine? Feminine? Claude Cahun.

"Masculine? Feminine? It depends on the situation. Neuter is the only gender that always suits me."
Claude Cahun

Claude Cahun (1894-1954), born Lucy Renee Mathilde Schwob, was a French Surrealist photographer who explored gender identity and protested gender norms. She chose "Claude" since the name was ambiguous and could refer to both a man and a woman. This very ambiguity became a theme in her exploration.

Together with muse and lover Marcel Moore (a pseudonym), Cahun became active as a resistance worker - disguised as non-Jews - placing pamphlets in soldiers' pockets. In a church, they hang a banner saying "Jesus is great, but Hitler is greater – because Jesus died for people, but people die for Hitler" (via and via and via and via).
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photograph (1927) via

Friday, 30 April 2021

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Harriet Jacobs (1813-1897) was born a slave and only fifteen when her master, Dr Flint, began his pursuit of her. At 40, she was purchased and emancipated by an abolitionist. Jacobs became an antislavery activist. Here are a few excerpts:

"(...) though we were all slaves, I was so fondly shielded that I never dreamed I was a piece of merchandise (...). When I was six years old, my mother died, and then, for the first time, I learned, by the talk around me, that I was a slave. (...)

The secrets of slavery are concealed like those of the Inquisition. My master was, to my knowledge, the father of eleven slaves. But did the mothers dare to tell who was the father of their children? Did the other slaves dare to allude to it, except in whispers among themselves? No, indeed! They knew too well the terrible consequences. (...)

There was a planter in the country, not far from us, whom I will call Mr. Litch. He was an ill-bred, uneducated man, but very wealthy. He had six hundred slaves, many of whom he did not know by sight. His extensive plantation was managed by well-paid overseers. There was a jail and a whipping post on his grounds; and whatever cruelties were perpetrated there, they passed without comment. He was so effectually screened by his great wealth that he was called to no account for his crimes, not even for murder. (...)

No pen can give an adequate description  of the all-pervading corruption produced by slavery. The slave girl is reared in an atmosphere of licentiousness and fear. The lash and the foul talk of her master and his sons are her teachers. When she is fourteen or fifteen, her owner, or his sons, or the overseer, or perhaps all of them, begin to bribe her with presents. If these fail to accomplish their purpose, she is whipped or starved into submission to their will. (...)

I was twenty-one years in that cage of obscene birds. I can testify, from my own experience and observation, that slavery is a curse to the whites as well as to the blacks. It makes white fathers cruel and sensual; the sons violent and licentious, it contaminates the daughters, and makes the wives wretched. And as for the colored race, it needs an abler pen than mine to describe the extremity of their sufferings, the depth of their degradation. 

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Jacobs, H. (2000). Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Harriet Jacobs writing as Linda Brent. With an Introduction by Myrlie Evers-Williams. New York. A Signet Classic.

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

The Intruder (1962)

"A man in a gleaming white suit comes to a small Southern town on the eve of integration. His name is Adam Cramer. He calls himself a social reformer. But his aim is to incite the people against letting black children into the town’s white school. Soon he has the white citizens of the town worked up." (MUBI)

C: "You may say I'm a social worker. I've come to do what I can for the town. The integration problem."
W: "Oh that. But that's all over. I mean they've got ten n***ers enrolled already in the school. And they're starting Monday."
C: "Yes, I know. But do you think it's right?"
A: "No, I sure don't. Neither does nobody. But it's the law."
C: "Whose law?"

::: The Intruder: WATCH
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image via

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Florence and the Machine + Feminism

"I'm not very good at speaking to crowds, but I’m going to try, because what I have to say next is very important. I’m so happy today to be playing a festival that is 70 per cent women. Which is unfortunately still so rare in the festival circuit but look - welcome to the matriarchy, it's fun! So I just wanted to say thank you, not only to all of you who came here to support this whole event but to the incredible women I work with behind the scenes every day who help me put this whole show together. This festival, this line-up was brought together by women and really, what you are experiencing is a matriarchal experience."
Florence Welch (British Summer Time, Hyde Park, 2019)

"I definitely consider myself a feminist and it matters. The idea of what a feminist is is changing. I have so many strong women in my life. Throughout making this record I was really supported, consoled and held by the women in my life. My mother is a professor of renaissance history so I spent a lot of time in France as a child. Going to the Duomo and seeing St. Agatha with her breasts cut off was particularly shocking and made a mark. When you have a history of women behind you, you are constantly being floored by something powerful. It’s like waves of truth. It is humbling to listen to strong women and it makes me realize my capacity. I had to go through this as I was making the record. Through advice from other women, I felt like I [gained] more strength."
Florence Welch

YouTube Mini Selection

::: Dog Days Are Over: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Kiss With a Fist: LISTEN/WATCH
::: You've Got the Love: LISTEN/WATCH

image via

Sunday, 25 April 2021

The Desexualisation of the Asian American Man

The construction of Asian masculinity is one defined by otherness, a contrast to Western masculinity. One rather disturbing stereotype is the effeminate Asian male. The body is stigmatised, the smoother skin and lack of hair associated with a boyish and feminine look (Atkins, 2005). Asian (American) male sexuality is probably best described by a "discourse of nothingness", his absence or inferiority in the coloniser's sexual hierarchy, in films often portrayed as a "sexually impotent voyeur or pervert" (Kee, 1998), generally castrated by media (Eng, 2001).

"The West thinks of itself as masculine - big guns, big industry, big money - so the East is feminine - weak, delicate, poor."
Liling (cited in Atkins, 2005)

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- Atkins, G. L. (2005). My Man Fridae: Re-Producing Asian Masculinity. Seattle Journal for Social Justice, 4(1), 67-100.
-Eng, D. I. (2001). Racial Castration: Managing Masculinity in Asian America. Durham: Duke University Press.
- Kee, J. (1998). (Re)sexualizing the Desexualized Asian Male in the Works of Ken Chu and Michael Joo; link
- photograph by Dorothea Lange via

Saturday, 24 April 2021

How a Museum Can Make a Difference to the Debate of Migration

"It can make a difference because you can take the conversation about migration away from the heat of political debate and the media, where arguments tend to be framed in extreme terms and become polarized, and there is sometimes a dearth of real information. If you can take this conversation into a calmer cultural space - and the cultural world is where people are accustomed to test what they think about things - then that is a benefit. I think that people go to see films, read books or visit museums in order to see the world through other people's eyes. This automatically makes you question your own attitudes, and your relationships with other people.

I think that the medium of culture is often where we process our emotional responses. People sometimes have feelings about migration that are complicated or internally inconsistent; it is the topic that is on everybody' lips nowadays - indeed it has been for decades, but the focus is particularly intense right now. If we can help take these conversations into a well-informed cultural space then I think that we can make a real contribution to a calmer, more reasoned public conversation about migration."
Sophie Henderson

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- Henderson, S. (2017). Migration Museum Project. In Acesso Cultural (ed.) The Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees: The Role of Cultral Organisations.
- photograph via