Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Age Representation in Online Images

Photographs of people aged over fifty are usually missing and if they are not, you might wish they were. Using natural language processing technology, Thayer and Skufca (2019) reviewed more than 1.116 online images (randomly drawn from more than 2.7 million images) posted in 2018 by brands and opinion leaders on sites and social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blogs, news sites) with at least one million followers.

The results:

46% of the adult population in the US is over fifty but only 15% of the images contain people in "that age segment".

The images suggest homogeneity and exaggerate stereotypcial and outdated characteristics. While 31% of adults over fifty colour their hair, only 15% of the images show nongrey hair. 73% of images of the so-called "50-plus" show people with wrinkles, 12% have age spots, only 15% have clear skin.

Snapshots of those over 65 become less varied and vibrant.

Seven in ten photographs of people over fifty show them in isolated situations, seated, alone, dependent, with a partner or a medical professional receiving care. Younger adults, however, are often "standing in the workplace, giving speeches, or actively participating in the world".

While 30% of the labour force is fifty or older, only 13% of images involve these adults at work settings. The contrast: 55% of photographs of people under fifty show them at work.

Only 5% of images depict people over fifty interacting with technology. And if they do, the photographs usually involve a younger person teaching the older one how to use it.

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- Thayer, C. & Skufca, L. (2019). Media Image Landscape: Age Representation in Online Images. Wahsington, DC: AARP Research, link
- photograph by Richard Sandler via

Saturday, 15 January 2022

Stereotypes... Does age outweigh gender? Spoiler: Yes.

Abstract: Stereotypes of age and gender are examined with 35-yr-old and 65-yr-old men and women as target persons. Age stereotypes were more pronounced than gender stereotypes; respondents offered more elaborate free-response descriptions of older targets than of younger targets and described same-age targets more similarly than same-sex targets. On the rating scales, older people were judged less likely to possess masculine characteristics, but ratings of feminine characteristics were largely unaffected by age. Older people were not uniformly devalued on the age-stereotypic characteristics, but when negative evaluations occurred they were of the older targets. Results attest to the importance of a multidimensional conception of age and gender stereotypes. (Kite, Deaux & Miele, 1991)



- Kite, M. E., Deaux, K., & Miele, M. (1991). Stereotypes of young and old: Does age outweigh gender? Psychology and Aging, 6(1), 19–27. doi.org/10.1037/0882-7974.6.1.19
- photograph by Richard Sandler (NYC, 1985) via

Friday, 14 January 2022

Thursday, 13 January 2022

Pandemic Depression + Age

Using telephone and web survey data to study the impact of social determinants and health-related factors on depressive symptoms during the initial lockdown that started in March 2020 in Canada, Raina et al. (2021) came to the conclusion that overall, older adults had "twice the odds of depressive symptoms during the pandemic compared to pre-pandemic". Further factors having an impact were. lower income, poorer health, loneliness, caregiving responsibilities, separation from family, family conflict, and gender (women were more affected).



"The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionated impact on older adults, with groups of people who were already marginalized feeling a far greater negative impact.Parminder Raina

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- Raina, P., Wolfson, C., Griffith, L., Kirkland, S., McMillan, J., Basta, N. Joshi, D., Erbas-Oz, U., Sohel, N., Maimon, G., Thompson, E. &  CLSA team (2021). A longitudinal analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of middle-aged and older adults from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging. Nature Aging, 1, 1137- 1147; link
- photograph by Harvey Stein via

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Ageing Dancers and the Shift from the Outer to the Inner Body

Youth being an essential condition for a dance career is a notion that is still widely unchallenged in cultures obsessed with youth. Once in their late thirties, dancers are expected to retire. Only recently did "mature" dancers become more visible on stages "emphasising the boundless waste of artistic talent and embodied knowledge".

Choreographers responded by developing works for mature dancers. The Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, for instance, reinterpreted "Kontakthof" - originally created in 1978 - in 2010 using dancers in their sixties. The aim was to confront the audience "to face up to its ageist society". Several works were developed by different choreographers in the 1990s celebrating the dancers' maturity, showing effort, emotion, and vulnerability instead of dazzling technique. Involving them was seen as an artistic need and the question arose whether "the older dancer has a stronger message to voice as opposed to the youthful one". Seeing professional dancers still working in their fifties was - and still is - rare.

Years of knowledge and wisdom stored within these older bodies go to waste and audiences lose transformative experiences as we, as a society, revel in the virtuosity of youth and fail to see physical feats as merely one aspect of an artistic investigation. Jillian Harris

Dancers notice a shift from the emphasis on physicality to the thought process of and about the movement, a shift from the outer to the inner body. The dancers' passion, however, remains unchanged. 

The transformation moves from quantity to quality of movement with perceptions of agility over ability and maturity over youth. There is an inner subjecivity and honouring of experience that can only be perceived or embodied by a mature dancer. (York-Pryce, 2014)

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- York-Pryce, S. (2014). Ageism and the Mature Dancer. Conference: time space & the body 3 inter-disciplinary /probing-the-boundaries/making-sense-of/time-space-and-the-bodyAt: Mansfield College Oxford University UK, link
- photographs of Pina Bausch via and via

Wednesday, 5 January 2022

Friday, 31 December 2021

Happy 2022

Dearest friends of Diversity is beautiful, it is time again to wish you all the best for the coming year... have a wonderful, interesting (but perhaps a bit less interesting than the past two years), sparkling, sunny, bright, friendly, pandemic-free, joyful, fabulous, fun, warm, relaxing, adventerous, and marvellous year. Buon anno!

photograph via

Sunday, 26 December 2021

Desmond Tutu (1931-2021)

"Be nice to whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity."
Desmond Tutu

photograph (by Jane Bown, 1993) of the wonderful Desmond Tutu who shall always be missed via

Saturday, 25 December 2021

F***ing Nerve (Lamont Humphrey, 2000)

When I'm born I'm black 
When I grow up I'm even more black 
When I'm in the sun I'm still black 
When I'm cold, guess what: I'm black 
And when I die I'm f*cking black too 



But you: When you are born you're pink 
When you grow up you are white 
When you're sick, man look at yourself, you're green 
When you go in the sun you turn red 
When you are cold you turn blue 
And when you die you look purple 

And you got the f*ing nerv to call me colored (...)
(lyrics via)

::: Tongue Forest ft. Lamont Humphrey on YouTube: LISTEN/WATCH

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photograph by John Vachon (1938) via

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

The Ageless John Forsythe and the "Old" Ladies

"Well, I think this shows how ageism in Hollywood is. I was in my forties when I got that role, and Linda was in her thirties. John was 62. Do you think any of the press ever mentioned that he was 62? It was always "the older women, Linda and Joan, you know, in their thirties and their fourties". Never mentioned it. And I would bring this up in interviews because I don't like ageist people. And Mr Forsythe didn't like it. And he would say, "Why do you have to mention my age?" I say, "because our is mentioned, Linda's and ours is mentioned all the time and we want equality, you know. They are mentioning ours and we are mentioning yours." Joan Collins

photograph via