Tuesday 23 September 2014

Grammatical Gender

The concept of grammatical gender is one that is more evident in some languages than in others. The English word "the", for instance, has three equivalents in German: der (masculine), die (feminine), das (neuter). Nouns are divided into gendered categories, even those without a biological sex. In other words, inanimate objects become feminine (the door, die Tür) or masculine (the table, der Tisch). Sometimes, morphology offers clues to a noun’s gender.

Often, there is no clue at all. On the contrary, since grammatical gender varies from language to language, it is rather considered to be arbitrary by many linguistics (e.g. the moon is feminine in Italian and masculine in German: la luna, der Mond, the sun is masculine in Italian and feminine in German: il sole, die Sonne) (El-Yousseph, 2006).

A great many scientists, among them Whorf, argue that people would build an association between biological gender and grammatical gender and try to make a relationship between an object and its gender. In other words, an object with a masculine grammatical gender would be perceived as having more "masculine qualities" than one with a feminine grammatical gender (El-Yousseph, 2006).

In their study, Boroditsky et al. presented 24 object names with opposite grammatical genders in Spanish and German to Spanish and German native speakers who were highly proficient in English. All participants were asked to describe each object with three adjectives in English, a "neutral" language without a grammatical gender system. As predicted, in both languages the inanimate objects were rated more masculine when they were grammatically masculine and more feminine when they were grammatically feminine. "Key", for instance, is masculine in German and feminine in Spanish. German speakers described keys as "hard, heavy, jagged, metal, serrated, and useful" while Spanish speakers described them as "golden, intricate, little, lovely, shiny, and tiny". "Bridge", on the other hand, is feminine in German and masculine in Spanish. Bridges were described as "beautiful, elegant, fragile, peaceful, pretty, and slender" by German speakers while Spanish speakers described them as "big, dangerous, long, strong, sturdy, and towering" (Boroditsky et al., 2003).

The photographs of April Atkins, the "world's strongest seventh-grader", were taken by Loomis Dean in 1954. Muscle Beach, south of Santa Monica Pier, closed in the 1950s and reopened in Venice (via).

- Boroditsky, L., Schmidt, L. A. & Phillips, W. (2003) Sex, Syntax, and Semantics. 61-79
- El-Yousseph, N. (2006) Sex and Size: The Influence of Grammatical Gender on Object Perception in English and German. Ohio: Thesis
- Tight, D. G. (2006) The Relationship between Perceived Gender in L1 English and Grammatical Gender in L2 Spanish.
- Vigliocco, G., Vinson, D. P., Indefrey, P., Levelt, W. J. M. & Hellwig, F. (2004) Role of Grammatical Gender and Semantics in German Word Production. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 30(2), 483-497.
- Vigliocco, G., Vinson, D. P., Paganelli, F. & Dworzynski, K. (2005) Grammatical Gender Effects on Cognition: Implications for Language Learning and Language Use. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 134(4), 501-520.
- photos of April Atkins (1954) via and via and via and via and via, and directly via LIFE

Sunday 21 September 2014

World Alzheimer's Day & a Tribute to "La Girardot"

World Alzheimer's Day, September 21st of each year, is a day on which Alzheimer's organizations around the world concentrate their efforts on raising awareness about Alzheimer's and dementia. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, a group of disorders that impairs mental functioning. (...) Alzheimer's disease is often called a family disease, because the chronic stress of watching a loved one slowly decline affects everyone (literally via).

According to a study carried out in the US, the majority of Alzheimer caregivers work full or part time. Compared to other caregivers, the demands of caregiving have a more negative impact on their responsibilities at work. Expressed in figures, about 66% of working Alzheimer caregivers report that they miss work due to their caregiving responsibilities, 14% have given up work or chosen early retirement, 13% have cut back on their work hours or taken a less demanding job, 8% have turned down a promotion, and 7% have lost job benefits. Balancing caregiving with job performance seems to be very difficult (Alzheimer's Association and National Alliance for Caregiving, 2004).

Caregiving also takes a large personal toll on the dementia caregiver and her/his family: 55% have less time for other family members; 49% give up vacations, hobbies or social activities; 30% get less exercise than before. Over 40% report high levels of emotional stress. One in five dementia caregivers is in fair or poor health and 18% say that caregiving has made their health worse (literally taken from Alzheimer's Association and National Alliance for Caregiving, 2004).

These caregivers are not only taking on enormous responsibility at great personal cost, they are doing it without the help and support they need. While many caregivers get help from other family members, only about half use any paid help or supportive services. Three out of four Alzheimer caregivers have unmet needs. One in three say they need time for themselves, help in balancing work and family responsibilities, and help in managing stress, but only 9% use respite services and only 11% participate in support groups (literally taken from Alzheimer's Association and National Alliance for Caregiving, 2004).

Former model and MTV moderator Sophie Rosentreter lost her grandmother Ilse Bischof in 2009 after nine years of living with Alzheimer's. In these years, Sophie Rosentreter learned to accept her grandmother's disease and to find a way to get through to her, to communicate with her. As she could not get through to her with words, she used music and photographs. That way they managed to stay close to each other. Rosentreter noticed that televisions played a central role in the daily life of residents of care homes. At the same time those suffering from Alzheimer's did not pay much attention since they could not follow the programmes. With a few exceptions. Landscapes, for instance, were remembered more easily; so were the words presented with them (a combination that is seen in a great many commercials). Rosentreter decided to make films for people with Alzheimer's - combining nature with classical music (via). Films for a very specific audience.

French actress Annie Girardot (1931-2011) won the César Award and the Molière Award more than once, won the Prix Suzanne Biachnetti, the David di Donatello Award, the Volpi Cup, was a BAFTA nominee, and in the 1970s became both the highest paid actress and a symbol of feminist movement in France. In 2012, a street in Paris was named after her and France's Postal Service issued a stamp dedicated to her. She is still the highest ranked woman in the list of French stars.
In 2006, it was published that "La Girardot" was suffering from Alzheimer's disease (via).

- Alzheimer's Association and National Alliance for Caregiving (2004) Caring for Persons with Alzheimer's: 2004 National Survey; via
- photos of Annie Girardot via and via and via and via and via and via

Wednesday 17 September 2014


"Bodenlos" (German, loosely translated "lost ground") is a photography project. The "models" are unaccompanied minor refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Iran. Currently, they are living in a refugee asylum in the city of Graz.

In this refugee asylum, minors from about ten countries are living. Most of them prefer not to talk about the past they left behind. At the beginning, they were rather reluctant to participate in the project. After a while two young men agreed. Then the next one. And when the photographer returned the following day, they were already waiting for him ... with a meal cooked for him: chicken, rice and naan. During the next weeks more and more wished to participate (via).

Bodenlos. Abandoned identities. Individuals who have lost ground. Those who have no ground, no home (or rather not yet a home), live between cultures. They live in a space where something new is about to be created.

The exhibition runs from 13 September 2014 to 9 October in Graz, Austria. The photographs are exhibited in the gallery of the parish church St. Andrä.


St. Andrä is located in a multi-ethnic area and describes itself as "a face of church in a multicultural neighbourhood". It is one of the most active churches when it comes to promoting modern art and integration. There, the African Catholic Community of Graz celebrates mass in English every Sunday at 12 o'clock and La Comunidad Latina celebrates mass in Spanish every first Sunday of each month. Not everybody was happy about St. Andrä's interpretation of hospitality. Some parish members left because to them the sound of African drums was incompatible with worship service. St. Andrä has chosen to be an open church. Or to quote the parish priest: "Jesus is international." (via)

photographs by Michael Brus via

Monday 15 September 2014

Born this day ... Jean Batten

Jean Batten was born on 15 September 1909 in Maori. Inspired by Charles Lindbergh's solo non-stop flight crossing the Atlantic Ocean (via), she decided to become a pilot when she was 18. Her mother Ellen Batten, who was "ahead of her time in her feminism, pushing boundaries wherever she could" and "organized suffragist rallies" (Powter, 2006), took her to England where she joined the London Aeroplance Club (via). Ellen Batten taught her daughter that there was nothing a woman could not do. At the same time she taught her that there were a great many things a woman should not do, such as showing weakness and not being properly dressed and made up. Her mother had a great influence on her life, the two "were inextricably intertwined" (Powter, 2006).

In 1934, Jean Batten flew from England to Australia and broke Amy Johnson's record. The following year she became the first woman to make a return flight (Australian - England) and set the world record flying from England to Brazil, followed by another world record in 1936, flying from England to New Zealand (via). The New Zealander Batten became one of the most famous aviatrixes in the world, her receptions took levels of hero worship. Due to her flying records, looks and glamour she was given the name "Garbo of the Skies". She was awarded several honours, among them the Order of the Southern Cross which had never before been given to a member of the British Empire who was not of royal birth (via). At that time, there was a "relative equality that women enjoyed in the young sport. The number of female pilots - famous female pilots quite the equal of men - was much greater than women's penetration of other risk pursuits." Female pilots were more or less as often in the newspapers as male pilots. They competed not to break women's records but to be the first or the fastest ones independent of gender (Powter, 2006).

Descriptions of Jean Batten range from the warm-hearted aviatrix to a narcissistic, seductive persona (Powter, 2006). Jean Batten is also referred to as "the girl who has beaten all the men" and as a woman who, in her way, supported ongoing feminist struggles (Millward, 2007).

Later, Jean Batten withdrew and lived with her mother. In 1982, she was bitten by a dog on Majorca. She did not wish any treatment, the wound became infected, Jean Batten died from the complications. Anonymously. It was only in 1987 that her relatives and the world learned about her passing away (via).

Clip "Jean Batten Triumphs.": watch

- Millward, L. (2007) Women in British Imperial Airspace, 1922-1937. McGill-Queen's University Press
- Powter, G. (2006) Strange and Dangerous Dreams. The Fine Line between Adventure and Madness. Seattle: The Mountaineers Books
- photos via and via and via and via and via

Saturday 13 September 2014

The -ism Series (17): Trollism

"Online trolling is the practice of behaving in a deceptive, destructive, or disruptive manner in a social setting on the Internet with no apparent instrumental purpose. From a lay-perspective, Internet trolls share many characteristics of the classic Joker villain: a modern variant of the Trickster archetype from ancient folklore. Much like the Joker, trolls operate as agents of chaos on the Internet, exploiting ‘‘hot-button issues’’ to make users appear overly emotional or foolish in some manner. If an unfortunate person falls into their trap, trolling intensifies for further, merciless amusement." (Buckels et al., 2014). The Joker is also described "as a tragic character; a family man and failed comedian who suffered "one bad day" that finally drove him insane" (via).

Social media platforms have become important means to promote cultural activism and education, to promote e.g. anti-racism, feminism, LGBT rights by raising awareness and sharing information. But they also attract racist and sexist trolls who "spread disharmony among online activists" (via). Adam Reed distinguishes the psychopathological troll from the missionary troll. While the latter is motivated by a desire to convince others that his or her favourite belief system is to be considered, the psychopathological troll is "motivated to participate in an internet forum by psychotic delusions or compulsions, or by a neurotic seeking of false self-esteem" (via). Although this is not a scientific categorisation but one based on everyday observations, there is probably a pattern to be recognised by those reading comments from time to time. In general, there is not yet much empirical research on trolling behaviour (Buckels et al., 2014).

In their studies, Buckels et al. (2014) investigated online commenting styles and personality profiles of Internet trolls. Their measures included a personality inventory, a scale to measure the Dark Triad (narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism), a scale to assess sadistic personality, questions on internet use and four items relevant to trolling: "I have sent people to shock websites for the lulz.", "I like to troll people in forums or the comments section of the websites.", "I enjoy griefing other players in multiplayer games." and "The more beautiful and pure a thing is, the more satisfying it is to corrupt." The authors found significant correlations between trolling and psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and particularly sadism. Sadism is specific to trolling behaviour. "The troll persona appears to be a malicious case of a virtual avatar, reflecting both actual personality and one's ideal self. (...) for those with sadistic personalities, that ideal self may be a villain of chaos and mayhem (...)." (Buckels, 2014).

The troll persona is an everyday sadist that hides behind a "veil of anonymity" since offline "they would quickly have their ass kicked for their incessant provocations." (via). But perhaps the biggest danger is not to be provoked but to be bored to death by comments that - once their content is translated - say "I am paranoid and have no idea what I am talking about but ignorance does not keep me from commenting and criticising everything."
Racism, sexism, ... sadism, trollism. "The more beautiful and pure a thing is, the more satisfying it is to corrupt." And diversity is beautiful.

- Buckels, E. E., Trapnell, P. D. & Paulhus, D. L. (2014). Trolls just want to have fun. Personality and Individual Differences, 67, 97-102.
- photos of Cesar Romero as the Joker via and via and via and via

Friday 12 September 2014

A Genius' Stance on Racism

"a disease of white people"
Albert Einstein

Many biographies have been written on the life of Albert Einstein (1879-1955), "the" genius. Before Jerome and Taylor published "Einstein on Race and Racism" in 2006, one aspect of his life remained ignored: Einstein's public attitude to racism (via).

The scientist, pacifist and Jew Einstein was forced to leave Germany in 1932. He left and renounced his citizenship. In 1933, he ended up in Princeton where he discovered another kind of racism, one that targeted black US-Americans. Princeton University did not accept black students.
Einstein spent much time with the local African-American community "Witherspoon" (via). In 1946, he visited Lincoln University, "the first degree-granting college for African-Americans" where he was supposed to give a lecture on physics and where he also addressed racism calling it "a disease of white people" (via). The same year he wrote a letter to President Truman and asked for a passage of an anti-lynching law (Jayaraman, 2007). Einstein made it clear that it was not his intention to be quiet about his opposition to racism (via). His "courage in defending the right to the freedom of expression is all the more remarkable for the great lack of it that characterized academic life, particularly in the sciences, in the United States even in the post-McCarthy era." (Jayaraman, 2007).
He supported Princenton's black community, paid one student's tuition, formed relationships with black leaders, such as W.E.B. Dubois (who he witnessed for at the beginning of McCarthyism), invited the famous black American contralto Marian Anderson to stay in his home when she was refused a room at the Nassau Inn in 1937 and together with Paul Robeson worked on the American Crusade to End Lynching (via).

A Message to my adopted country (Einstein, 1946):

(…) In the United States everyone feels assured of his worth as an individual. No on humbles himself before another person or class. Even the great difference in wealth, the superior power of a few, cannot undermine this healthy self-confidence and natural respect for the dignity of one’s fellow-man.
There is, however, a somber point in the social outlook of Americans. Their sense of equality and human dignity is mainly limited to men of white skins. Even among these there are prejudices of which I as a Jew am clearly conscious; but they are unimportant in comparison with the attitude of the “Whites” toward their fellow-citizens of darker complexion, particularly toward Negroes. The more I feel an American, the more this situation pains me. I can escape the feeling of complicity in it only by speaking out.
Many a sincere person will answer me: “Our attitude toward Negroes is the result of unfavorable experiences which we have had by living side by side with Negroes in this country. They are not our equals in intelligence, sense of responsibility, reliability.”
I am firmly convinced that whoever believes this suffers from a fatal misconception. Your ancestors dragged these black people from their homes by force; and in the white man’s quest for wealth and an easy life they have been ruthlessly suppressed and exploited, degraded into slavery. The modern prejudice against Negroes is the result of the desire to maintain this unworthy condition.
(…) I believe that whoever tries to think things through honestly will soon recognize how unworthy and even fatal is the traditional bias against Negroes.
What, however, can the man of good will do to combat this deeply rooted prejudice? He must have the courage to set an example by word and deed, and must watch lest his children become influenced by this racial bias.
I do not believe there is a way in which this deeply entrenched evil can be quickly healed. But until this goal is reached there is no greater satisfaction for a just and well-meaning person than the knowledge that he has devoted his best energies to the service of the good cause.
That is precisely what I have tried to do in writing this. (via)

- Jayaraman, T. (2007) in Wadia, S. R. (ed.) The Legacy of Albert Einstein. A Collection of Essays in Celebration of the Year of Physics. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing
- photos via and via and via
- inspired by Open Culture

Wednesday 10 September 2014

World Suicide Prevention Day

According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention, every year, more than 800.000 people die from suicide, statistically one death every 40 seconds. In 2012, suicide was the 15th leading cause of death, among those aged 30 to 49 it was cause number five and among those aged 15 to 29 it was cause number two (via).

Suicide is complex. Reasons, their combinations and what finally triggers this very last step vary. Apart from well-researched psychological predispositions, socio-cultural factors - such as postcolonialism - also need to be understood ... like in the case of the Kaiowá. The Kaiowá are part of the Guarani indigenous population. Most of them live in Brazil, in a territory that has been occupied by more and more non-Indians, a territory more and more Kaiowá had to leave. Many were transferred to reservations, those who stayed lived under changing circumstances which affected their traditional forms of organisation, housing conditions, work possibilities, their social and religious life.

The reason why the Kaiowá caught attention was – and still is - the high suicide rate. Since 1986, suicide rates are high among the young population and this development is still going on. The anthropologist Georg Grümberg coined the expression "the Kaiowá sequence suicide" identifying the following four causes: 1) lack of living space and loss of self determination, 2) lack of prospects, the experience of void rather than a future, 3) the idea that the person who commits suicide is actually a hero, someone who captures a new reality and creates a new situation, 4) the social instability created by Christian missionaries, who have prevented people from negotiating their conflicts in traditional ways. According to Grümberg, suicide occurs in three out of four communities under Christian power. In the given context, suicide is one way to react to the social situation. Suicide becomes part of identity formation. Just as indigenous identity is deconstructed, suicide deconstructs identity (Rothstein, 2008).

Suicide, here, is the action and reaction of a traumatised people that traditionally moved from one place to another searching for the "Land without Evil". The quest for the "Land without Evil" led to migration movements back in the 19th century. Migration was a crucial part of Guarani culture. Colonialisation took the space necessary for migration, for motion and autonomy. In the case of the Kaiowá, high suicide rates are regarded as a post-colonial phenomenon, as a postcolonial legacy. According to Bornschier's hypothesis, "social motionlessness" and collective impassivity enhance suicide. While suicide rates decrease in societies in which collective protests and violence increase, suicide rates are particularly high in societies that do not respond to paradoxes with collective action. In other words, if - due to social conditions - individuals see themselves forced to solve their problems individually, the tendency towards suicide rises. During phases of "social motionlessness", suicide is an expression of individual conflict solving (Furrer & Widmer, 1997). It is complex.

- Furrer, S. & Widmer, R. (1997) Aspekte suizidaler Handlungen in den westlichen Gesellschaften. via
- Rothstein, M. (2008) Individual Drawings and Collective Representations. Perceptions of Death Mong Kiowá Youth. anpere.net, 1-21
- photos of Robin Williams (1974) via

Monday 8 September 2014

International Literacy Day

"(...) adult education has a vital role to play, because it allows us to address gaps in primary education, (...) and it also enables us to establish fair and equal opportunities between countries and contintents, and also between individuals (...)"
Jacques Delors

774 million young people and adults cannot read or write, two-thirds of them are women (via).The  Education for All (EFA) movement is a global commitment to provide quality basic education for all children, youth and adults. At the World Education Forum (Dakar, 2000), 164 governments pledged to achieve EFA and identified six goals to be met by 2015. Governments, development agencies, civil society and the private sector are working together to reach the EFA goals (literally via).

photos by Alfred Eisenstaedt (1959) via and via

Friday 5 September 2014

Quoting Peter O'Toole & Dustin Hoffman

"I quite like being old."
Peter O'Toole

"I don't like the fact that I have to get older so fast, but I like the fact that I'm aging so well."
Dustin Hoffman

photo via

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Mickey Mouse & Jim Crow

Before civil rights were expanded in recreational spaces, a great many amusement parks used to be segregated in the U.S. They were "white spaces that signaled their purity and safety through racial exclusion." (Wolcott, 2012). Their target group was the white middle-class family, an ideal many minority families were excluded from (Hawk, 2004).

Nevertheless, when Disneyland opened in Anaheim in 1955, it was "notable for the absence of hot spots of racial conflict - swimming pools, dance halls, and roller rinks. There were no rock 'n' roll dance parties in 1950s Disneyland. Disney chose the park's location, inland from the beautiful Pacific coast, because he recognized the dangers of racial mixing at bathing beaches. Within the park there were no spaces where men and women could dance or swim together, eliminating concerns about interracial sexuality that sparked internal park segregation throughout the North. (...) The Disney example demonstrates the extent to which segregation was never simply about the law. Walt Disney's greatest accomplishment may have been creating a regulated, controlled, and clean space without conflict" (Wolcott, 2012) at a time most of the amusement parks had a clear "whites-only" policy (Nathan, 2011).

::: Related posting: Sharon's First Merry-Go-Round Ride

- Hawk, A. (2004) "Disney-fying" Mother Nature in the Atomic Era: How Disneyland's Portrayals of Nature Reflected Post-War Ideals of Family, Child-Rearing, and the Home, 1955-1966. Explorations: An Undergraduate Research Journal, 7-28.
- Nathan, A. (2011). Round and Round Together: Taking a Merry-Go-Round Ride into the Civil Rights Movement. Philadelphia: Paul Dry Books.
- Wolcott, V. W. (2012) Race, Riots, and Roller Coasters: The Struggle Over Segregated Recreation in America. University of Pennsylvania Press.
- photos via and via

Monday 1 September 2014

The -ism Series (16): Weightism

Cultures that value thinness and tend to blame overweight individuals instead of considering environmental conditions, too, show a tendency to promote weight bias. According to the Rudd Report, weight bias can have psychological and medical consequences and have an impact on hiring, earning potential, promotion and academic opportunities (Friedman & Puhl, 2012). Although there are some positive associations with overweight individuals, such as happiness, sweetness, kindness, and generosity (De Caroli Sagone, 2012), negative stereotypes seem to more widespread.

Among those reporting weight-based employment discrimination, women seem to be particularly vulnerable (Friedman & Puhl, 2012); employment discrimination is also observed in simulated job interviews (e.g. Pingitore et al., 1994). In their study, Fouts and Burggraf coded the weight of female cast members in prime-time comedies broadcast in October 1996. 33% were rated as below-average weight, 7% as above-average weight. Most interestingly, the frequency of positive comments about the female cast members decreased as their weights increased. In 2000, the same authors carried out another study and found that 76% of the female characters were below-average weight and 5% were above-average weight. Again, the frequency of negative comments increased with the woman’s weight (Blaine & McElroy, 2002).


Weight bias is also an issue in health care. In a study, 400 doctors ranked obesity behind drug addiction, alcoholism, and mental illness as a condition they responded negatively to. More than two thirds of overweight people report having been stigmatised by doctors. Discrimination can range from doctors spending less time with the patient to doing less intervention (Friedman & Puhl, 2012). Weight bias is also prevalent among health professionals specialised in obesity (Schwartz et al., 2003).

In education, teachers have lower expectations for overweight students and tend to consider them as "untidy, more emotional, less likely to succeed at work, and more likely to have family problems." In addition, there are classmates who tease and bully overweight students. Negative attitudes can already be observed in pre-school. "In elementary school, the likelihood of being bullied is 63% higher for an obese child than a non-overweight peer." 92% of adolescents report having witnessed overweight peers being teased at school (Friedman & Puhl, 2012). In a study, children aged 8 to 10 years rated overweight children as bullying, unintelligent, lazy, greedy, unpopular, unable to play physical games and - most interestingly - bad at academic skills (Chalker & O'Dea, 2009).

Heavyweight individuals are perceived as "lazy, unattractive, lacking self-esteem and willpower, socially inept, and intellectually slow" (Blaine & McElroy, 2002). Wide-spread stereotypes are poor self-discipline, poor personal hygiene, dishonesty and less ambition and productivity (Friedman & Puhl, 2012). Negative stereotypes are perpetuated by television programmes and even weight loss infomercials (Blaine & McElroy, 2002). Particularly younger women are influenced by "media broadcast stereotypes about the weight of a beautiful woman" (Pogontseva, 2013), women and girls are "bombarded with messages from the media, parents, and peers that the ideal body is one that is almost impossibly thin" (Klaczynski et al., 2004).

Beliefs about causes, correlates and consequences of obesity might lead do discrimination which more and more children, adolescents and adults are confronted with. The negative attitude is nurtured by the image of the slim, successful person and the Western emphasis on individualism suggesting that those who do not have a "body for success" failed to cultivate it because of lacking personal efforts only and are therefore weak-willed, have other personal shortcomings and cannot succeed in other fields, either. As prevalence of overweight and health concerns are increasing, there is a growing need to better understand the psychosocial correlates of weight (Klaczynski et al., 2004). Obesity is a health risk factor but it also has social consequences (Washington, 2011). And a lot can be done as stigma reduction methods prove to be successful (Kim, 2013; Puhl et al., 2005).

“The most serious health problem in the U.S. today is obesity.” This was the opening line to a LIFE magazine article published in March 1954. Many of these photographs, taken by Martha Holmes, were not published.

>The LIFE article (...) focused (...) in part on one woman, Dorothy Bradley, whose struggles with overeating and body-image issues were familiar, and remain familiar, to countless American men and women.
“When she finished high school in Tyner, Tenn., in 1940,” LIFE told its readers, “5-foot 5-inch Dorothy Bradley weighed 205 pounds and fit snugly into a matronly size 44 graduation dress. She had overeaten from the time she began to mature, possibly because of unconscious emotional turmoil.”
The article chronicled Dorothy’s efforts to lose weight; her desire to work in medicine; her successes (losing 60 pounds) and her backsliding (gaining it all back, and then some); and ultimately, something of a happy ending, as she lost and, as of the article’s publication, had kept off close to 70 pounds and earned a job as head nurse at a hospital in Kentucky.< (literally via LIFE)

Dorothy's happy end.

- Blaine, B. & McElroy, J. (2002) Selling Stereotypes: Weight Loss Infomercials, Sexism, and Weightism. Sex Roles, 46(9/10), 351-357
- Chalker, B. & O'Dea, J. A. (2009) Fat Kids Can't Do Maths: Negative Body Weight Stereotyping and Associations with Academic Competence and Participation in School Activities Among Primary School Children. The Open Education Journal, 2, 71-77
- De Caroli, M. E. & Sagone, E. (2012) Anti-fat prejudice and stereotypes in psychology university students. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 00, 1-5
- Friedman, R. R. & Puhl, R. M. (2012) Rudd Report: Weight Bias. A Social Justice Issue. A Policy Brief. www.yaleruddcenter.org
- Kim, J. (2013) Body Surveillance as a Moderator of the Relationship Between Fat Stereotypes and Dissatisfaction in Normal Weight Women. Windsor: Electronic Theses and Dissertations, Paper 4982
- Klaczynski, P. A., Goold, K. W. & Mudry, J. J. (2004) Culture, Obesity Stereotypes, Self-Esteem, and the "Thin Ideal": A Social Identity Perspective. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 33(4), 307-317
- Pingitore, R., Dugoni, B. L., Tindale, R. S., Spring, B. (1994) Bias Against Overweight Job Applicants in a Simulated Employment Interview. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79(5), 909-917
- Pogontseva, D. (2013) Modern Social Phenomenon of the Appearance Discrimination. Studia Sociologica V, 1, 108-114
- Puhl, R. M., Schwartz, M. B. & Brownell, K. D. (2005) Impact of Perceived Consensus of Stereotypes about Obese People: A New Approach for Reducing Bias. Health Psychology, 24(5), 517-525
- Schwartz, M. B., O'Neal Chambliss, H., Brownell, K. D., Blair, S. N. & Billington, C. (2003) Weight Bias among Health Professionals Specializing in Obesity. Obesity Research, 11(9), 1033-1039
- Washington, R. L. (2011) Childhood Obesity: Issues of Weight Bias. Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy, 8(5), 1-5
- photos via