Wednesday, 2 December 2020

The Lamu Hat-Makers

"The project is significant to me because as someone who grew up in an African country, you are constantly presented with negative images and news portraying poverty and violence. The wealth of culture, the beauty of the landscapes, and the creative vision of many who live here is overshadowed by these stereotypes. The goal is always to contradict these stereotypes by capturing the positives that are often ignored. This particular project is about optimism, empowerment and pay homage to the creative vision of the artists of Lamu."
Kristin-Lee Moolman


Since 2010, the Shela Hat Contest has been taking place in Lamu, Kenya, with people participating showing their beautiful hats made of ... everything: flipflops, lobster fishnets, light bulbs, ... (via).



photographs via

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

World Aids Day, Tilda Swinton, Love, and Dance

"I wanted it to be something that is very pure; very human. We’re talking about people who have to take medicines everyday and have to live with this everyday, and I think for me the film was very poetic, communicating the support that ICCARRE provides. The song is about love. I think what ICCARRE is doing is about love too. The song gives the film another emotional dimension with the narration that I’m doing with the dance.”
Blanca Li, choreographer



In 2003, the ICCARRE (Intermittents en Cycles Courts les Anti Rétriviraus Restent Efficaces) programme was founded to replace the presently recommended seven anti-viral pills a week by two to three aiming to improve patients' quality of life (via).

ICCARRE - 4min30 SANS ST from St Louis on Vimeo.

"It’s something that we can all be truly grateful for that a diagnosis of HIV is no longer the same terrifying threat it once felt for so many of us in the Eighties and Nineties. It’s something that younger generations may not be aware of, the extent of that threat and its realities. For the sake of perspective, let’s just say that I, myself, remember in 1994 attending, with many others, the funerals of 43 friends. My grandmother who was born in 1900 and lost her brothers in France in 1915 and drove an ambulance in the Blitz was sincerely empathetic. She called it my generation’s war. Happily, things have progressed. Many of us now live full and fulfilled lives having been diagnosed with the virus for decades. This fact is wonderful to remind ourselves of: so many friends have left us too early, others have lived for too long with the debilitating effects of treatment that has impaired their ability to fully engage with their lives. What ICCARRE offers is a chance to work with HIV in harmonious collaboration, naturally and with an attitude self possession and self determination."
Tilda Swinton

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photograph of Tilda Swinton via

Monday, 30 November 2020

Design Doing Gender

No matter if razors, barbeque sauces or low-fat products, the consumer's gender is anticipated and inscribed into marketing and packaging guiding consumer choices, reflecting, reproducing and constructing gender norms by placing men on one side and women on the other. In her article, Petersson McIntyre (2019) sees packages as "objects that play an active part in gender performativity", objects that do/perform gender and "create notions of what is masculine, feminine, and even gender-neutral".



Design, according to many scholars, can never be gender-neutral. Nevertheless design discourse shows the tendency to regard objects as neutral ones that only follow principles of form and function. 
 
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- Petersson McIntyre, M. (2019). Gender by Design: Performativy and Consumer Packaging. The Journal of the Design Studies Forum, 10(3), 337-358.
- photograph by Garry Winogrand (New York City, 1966) via

Thursday, 26 November 2020

A Child's Birthright

"The Negro baby born in America today, regardless of the section of the nation in which he is born, has about one-half as much chance of completing high school as a white baby born in the same place on the same day. One-third as much chance of completing college, one-third as much chance of becoming a professional man, twice as much chance of becoming unemployed, about one-seventh as much chance of earning $10,000 a year, a life expectancy which is seven years shorter, and the prospects of earning only half as much."
John F. Kennedy, 11 June 1963



photograph (Kennedy, Indiana, 1968) by Burt Glinn via

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

The Age-Friendly Standards Self-Assessment Checklist for Museums

Museum Development North West has developed a checklist for museums to help assess and monitor their progress against age-friendly standards. The main aspects are: building relationships, considering programming, providing appropriate facilities, communicating appropriately, and providing a warm welcome.



excerpts:

building relationships:
- Facilitate relationships between the different generations the organisation interacts with
- Aim to foster relationships with older people not only as audiences, but as volunteers, ambassadors, trustees and active participants in the organisation
- Acknowledge that older people are not a homogenous or distinct visitor segment but a diverse group with a wide range of abilities, tastes etc. The organisation will respond in ways that are appropriate to individual needs, informed by individuals themselves
- Be open and willing to learn from older people and solicit their views, either formally, or informally
- Encourage relationships with other places and services older people may use (e.g. health and care facilities, housing providers, adult learning centres, libraries, clubs and societies and community centres)   
- Consider working in partnership with other age-friendly cultural organisations and venues in the local area to help inform older people about the whole cultural offer that is available to them

consider programming:
- Encourage artistic work that has the ability to inspire, articulate & celebrate life in older age  
- Avoid making assumptions about taste and recognise that with any large and diverse group comes diverse interests. Ensure that the views of older people are represented on any consultation panels or questionnaires 
- Aim for intergenerational provision to be integrated into the whole programme and sustained beyond specific participation or engagement initiatives 
- Think about collaboration, co-production and work that is not only for older people, but with and by older people- as programmers, facilitators and artists 
- Consider timings and times of day in programming- including matinees and daytime activities. Build in extra time for getting settled, intervals and comfort breaks. Also factor-in local public transport provision and be aware that where it is unavailable at certain times (particularly at night), this may present a significant barrier, as well as potential hidden costs

::: Checklist: LINK

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photograph by Burt Glinn (Museum of Modern Art, 1964) via

Monday, 23 November 2020

Men + Optimistical Bias: It's others who get skin cancer. Not me.

According to two studies carried out in Sweden, women spend much more time sunbathing than men but also use sunscreen more often and are more likely to seek the shade for sun protection although they spend more time in the midday sun. Both men and women underestimate the incidence of skin cancer in the population. Men, however, are more optimistically biased, i.e., they tend to believe that they have lower than average risk of developing skin cancer (17% of men versus 9% of women) (Bränström et al., 2005, Widemar & Falk, 2018).



- Bränström, R., Kristjansson, S. & Ullén, H. (2005). Risk perception, optimistic bias, and readiness to change sun related behaviour. European Journal of Public Health, 16(5), 492-497.
- Widemar, K. & Falk, M. (2018). Sun Exposure and Protection Index (SEPI) and Self-Estimated Sun Sensitivity. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 39, 437-451.
- photograph by Burt Glinn (four sunbathers on leopard skin-printed rafts, Las Vegas, Nevada, 1966) via

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Nobody is Normal

"Working alongside [UK charity] Childline to help young people feel better in their own skin energized all of us at the agency, as well as our partners. It’s a campaign that speaks to children in a way that is natural to them. To walk through the usual walls these types of messages face, we needed an emotional story that intrigued people enough to pay attention and moved them enough to make them reflect and change their perspective."
Lucas Peon



Client: Childline 
Agency: The Gate 
CCO: Lucas Peon Creatives: John Osborne, Rickie Marsden, Sam Whatley 
Producer: Susie Innes 
Production: Blink Productions, Rowdy Films 
Producer: Daisy Garside Blink 
Producer: Joe Byrne 
DOP: George Warren 
Animator: Tim Allen, Tobias Fouracre 
Puppets: Adeena Grubb 
2D animator/compositor: Tom Fisher Rig removal: Ieuan Lewis 
BTS: Joe Eckworth 
Art Department Runners: Feiyang Yin and Stella Chapman Shot at Clapham Road Studios 
Sound: Major Tom, Grand Central 
Music: Radiohead “Creep” 
Label: Beggars, Warner Chappell, Concord

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image via

Friday, 20 November 2020

New Designers. Old Stereotypes.

"In a survey I undertook at the beginning of the course (…) ‘Design for An Aging Population’, I asked students to write down three words that describe an elderly person. Almost three quarters of their responses had negative associations revolving around words like weak, slow, and feeble. (...) But it was during the presentations of their ‘aging suits’ that I realized how ingrained ageism is within our society."
Glen Hougan



photograph by Helen Levitt via

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Language in 3.5 Million Books... Beautiful Women and Brave Men

Analysing a data set of 3.5 million books (using an AI), fiction and non-fiction, published in English between 1900 and 2008, a research team extracted adjectives and verbs that were associated with gender-specific nouns (e.g. daughter, boy) and examined whether the sentiment was positive, neutral or negative. They came to the conclusion that words chosen for women primarily described their appearance (negative verbs five times the frequency for females than males, positive and neutral adjectives twice as often in descriptions of women) while adjectives chosen for men referred to their behaviour and personal qualities. Women were mostly "beautiful" and "sexy" while men were "righteous", "rational" and "brave" (via and via).



"If the language we use to describe men and women differs, in employee recommendations for example, it will influence who is offered a job when companies use IT systems to sort through job applications."
Isabelle Augenstein

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- Alexander Hoyle et al. (2019). Unsupervised Discovery of Gendered Language through Latent-Variable Modeling. Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, pp. 1706-1716
- photograph by Jeff Mermelstein via

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Looking in from the outside

“When I sit down to have a chat with new people, I still think: ‘Am I going to tell them I’m a Traveller?’ You don’t have to say it, but why should you hide it? They say: ‘Are you Irish?’ I say: ‘I’m an Irish Traveller.’ Some people are quite shocked; they look at me and say: ‘I would never know.’ It is a bit hurtful because I think: ‘But what was there to never know? What has changed in their aspect when I said that? Are they looking down on me now?’ There is still that stigma about Travellers. We work in London, we vote and we are a part of the London community, but it seems like we are always looking in from the outside.”
Mena Mongan



photograph (by Perry Ogden) of Paddy and Liam Doran, Irish Travellers via

Monday, 16 November 2020

From Ridiculous to Cruel ... Conversion Therapy

Albert von Schrenck-Notzing (1862-1929) was specialised in the hypnotic treatment of so-called sexual deviations such as homosexuality which he thought was mainly caused by a pathological weakness to resist the deviant urge that was acquired and hence could be cured - by hypnotherapy, for instance (Sommer, 2012). In 1899, he allegedly turned a gay man straight through hypnosis and by taking him to the brothel a couple of times. Eugen Steinach's (1861-1944) approach was different. According to his theory, homosexuality was rooted in a man's testicles, the cure: testicle transplantations, i.e., castrating a gay man and replacing his testicles with "heterosexual ones" (via and via).



Some of the scientifically dubious, ethically irresponsible and appalling therapies, ranging from ridiculous to cruel, were or are: electroconvulsive therapy, lobotomies, shock through electrodes combined with hired sex workers and hetereosexual pornography, aversion therapy (taking chemicals that make you vomit while looking at photographs of your lover or electrical shocks to the genitals while watching gay pornography, inducing nausea or paralysis, snapping an elastic band around the wrist when becoming aroused to same-sex erotic images, orgasmic reconditioning, etc.), changing thought patterns, social reinforcement to increase other-sex sexual behaviours, praying at gay conversion camps, and many more (via).



"I didn’t start coming out until I was in college. I went to a Christian college, where I was actually outed by my roommate. So I was placed in conversion therapy by the university, and I had to undergo a lot of different interventions with different departments at the school. They did exorcisms with holy water, kind of baptizing to try and get the demon out. For one of my classes I had to write a paper talking about why I was going to Hell for being gay." 
Brooke, 25, New Mexico

"My last year in college I did one-on-one therapy — during that, I was encouraged to look at straight porn quite often, which was also strange to me. It was against the rules, but they were like, “It’s to make you straight. You’re the exception to the rule.” I had been raised to believe that porn is horrible and awful and terrible, but they were like, “No, we need you to watch straight porn, and specifically focus on the vagina and whatnot, and how it would feel to be in a vagina.” It made porn so awkward. Not that porn isn’t already awkward to some extent, but it’s getting analytical about it. Every week and they’d be like, “Did you look at porn? Did you enjoy it?”" 
Samuel, 28, Washington State

“We were searching for a sin I’d supposedly committed in a past life that might have ‘made me gay.’” 
a survivor from the United Kingdom

“As an adolescent who experienced same-sex attraction, she was raped in her bedroom by an elderly man her mother had brought home from church one evening in 2005. The mother, who heard her daughter’s screams, shouted: ‘Pearl, you are making noise. Shut up.’ [...] This happened regularly over several months until, eventually, the mother asked him to move in and be Pearl’s husband. ‘He raped me almost every day from when I was 12 to 16 years old. My mother didn’t want me to be gay so she asked him to be my husband and hoped it would change me.’” 
a survivor from South Africa

"Being brought up in a Christian fundamentalist family, I knew from the get-go that I was not going to be accepted. A big part of my conversion therapy happened within my own family walls. The church played a big role, too. There was one really abusive act, where three ministers held me down for six and a half hours and were screaming in my face, trying to get the gayness out of me. I asked them, “Does this mean that I’m not going to be gay anymore?” They were like, “Yes.” I was like, “Wait a minute, so that means I’ll no longer be attracted to women?” They were like, “Yes. Well, there is this thing called gaydar …” — some parts of the church believe gaydar is the ability to see a demon in another person. Seriously. When I started questioning this probably about five and a half hours into this process, I realized their logic didn’t make sense. The person who has become my wife was in my life at that point, and I knew that what they were saying didn’t add up. I really did love her, so it was at that moment I stopped this process. I walked out the door. They screamed at me, “You’ve chosen Hell.” Then I left the church for about a decade." 
Jane, 38, US

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- American Psychological Association (2009).Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation, LINK
- International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (2020). It's Torture Not Therapy. A Global Overview of Converion Therapy: Practices, Perpetrators, and the Role of States, LINK
- Sommer, A. (2012). Policing Epistemic Deviance: Albert von Schreck-Notzing and Albert Moll. Medical History, 56(2), 255-276.
- image (Ratched, scene showing hydrotherapy to "cure" a lesbian woman) via

Sunday, 15 November 2020

design + diversity: Designing an Inclusive World

When design chooses the approach one-size-fits-all, whose size are we, in fact, talking about? Who is Mr. Normal the so-called rest needs to adapt to? What impact does it have on "the other" when designing standardisation (and the illusion of normality) also means creating deviation (in a most heterogeneous world)? Who has a voice in visual culture? Who has to live in a design ghetto?...



Design can exclude and include groups of people, can make our lives more difficult and easier, can reinforce stereotypes and debunk myths, can respect and challenge taboos, can make minorities more invisible and raise awareness, can help maintain our narrow-mindedness and help develop empathy, can harm the image of minorities and raise their status, can stabilise and destabilise power relations. Design can.

The aim of this lecture is to present creative approaches and solutions, to discuss why we need ideas like a bicycle with Multiple Sclerosis and braille graffiti, to give some food for thought and raise awareness for the power of design and how it can create a better world for everybody, no matter what age, gender, ethnicity, religion, no matter if disabled or queer.

Online lecture hosted by FH Joanneum University of Applied Sciences
Monday, 16 November 2020, 5 p.m. Central European Time
Registration: idk.PR@fh-joanneum.at (by 4 p.m. the day of the lecture)

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photograph by Paperwalker, modified by IDK FH Joanneum (including the creative spelling of my forename)

Saturday, 14 November 2020

The Narrative of Ageing and Health Care Costs

Abstract: This study documents the widespread belief among the public, “pundits,“ and policymakers that health care inflation in the United States is heavily influenced by longevity. It demonstrates the error of that belief. It points out that health care experts recognize that, although health care costs for the elderly are high, the aging of the population is an insignificant factor in health care cost inflation.



Nevertheless, existing literature tends to ignore important influences on cost, such as poverty, lack of access, lifestyle issues, and matters of social justice. It also ignores the differences among numerous subgroups of patients. Ignoring these factors and concentrating on an aging society as a major cause of health care inflation distracts policymakers' attention from the true causes and leads to unjustified calls for benefit reductions in Medicare. As part of this study, the author includes analyses of hospital discharge data that have not been published previously.

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- Kingsley, D. (2015). Aging and Health Care Costs: Narrative Versus Reality: Aging and Health Care Costs. Poverty and Public Policy, 7(1).
- photograph by Jeff Mermelstein via

Friday, 13 November 2020

Gender and the Residential Telephone

Abstract: Recent work on gender and technology debunks the claim that household technologies have "liberated" women from domestic work. The history of telephone use in North America suggests, however, that global conclusions about gender and consumer technologies may be misleading. Although marketed primarily as a business instrument and secondarily as an instrument to facilitate housework, the telephone was, in a sense, "appropriated" by women for social and personal ends. This paper explores the "affinity" of women for the telephone, how women in the half-century before World War II used the telephone, and why. It suggests that there is a class of technologies that women have exploited for their own, gender-linked, social and personal ends.



- Fischer, C. S. Gender and the Residential Telephone, 1890-1940: Technologies of Sociability. Sociological Forum, 3(2), 211-233.
- photograph by Helen Levitt via

Thursday, 12 November 2020

You are not what you use.

"If we are what we use, then it seems the elderly people in today's society are cranky, stupid and tacky. Of course, looking at products made for the elderly really says more about what product designers and manufacturers think the elderly are."
Gretchen Anderson



photograph by Helen Levitt (1973) via

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Chosen (not) to be

This series is part of the Radical Beauty project, an international photography project aiming to give people with Down’s Syndrome their rightful place in the visual arts. The young women I worked with, shared a strong will to succeed. To prove themselves. It must be beyond frustrating to be underestimated all the time. With ‘Chosen [not] to be’ I reflect on their reality - the barriers they face, society’s refusal to see their capabilities, the invisibility of their true selves - and translate their experiences visually.



In the Netherlands, people with Down’s Syndrome have collected their experiences in a book, called Zwartboek (Blackbook). They have offered this book to the government as a catalyst for change.



Reading the collection of stories in this book broke my heart. There is so much misinformation. This misinformation leads to misconceptions and widely held preconceived notions which profoundly impact the lives of people with Down’s.



Much to the frustration and pain of people with Down’s Syndrome and their families, there is a fundamental discrepancy between the capabilities of people with Down’s, and society’s view of them.



These feelings are expressed into the images of this series. My goal was to subtly convey the message while at the same time showing their individuality, their beauty and their essence. The fine line between making them truly visible, while at the same time conveying the restrictions and barriers placed upon them.

With much love to Juliette, Margot, Emma, Eveline and Tessel.
Marinka Masséus

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photographs via

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Our Silence. Our Indifference. Our Failure.

In Australia, elderly people in privately-run care homes account for three quarters of COVID-10 deaths (via), in Canada it is 80% (via). In Massachusetts, the death rate from the virus in nursing homes is 90 times that of the statewide one (via). Nursing homes in Walnut Creek and Concord (California) account for 70% of COVID-19 deaths. In Conta Costra, 71 of 102 COVID-19 deaths involve care facilities (via). New York's COVID-19 death toll in nursing homes is one of the highest in the U.S. although only those are counted who die on nursing home property statistically ignoring those who are transported to hospitals and die there (via). As of July 2020, 30.000 more care home residents died during the COVID-10 outbreak in England and Wales than during the same period in 2019 (via). In Sweden we talk about 70% (via), in Italy, France, Ireland, Spain, and Belgium 42% to 57% of deaths from the virus took place in nursing homes ... a "silent massacre" as they say in Italy (via).
... in memoriam Rudi.


"Belgian society has decided that the lives of these confined elderly counted much less than those of the so-called ‘actives’."
Geoffrey Players

It was an ominous warning on March 27 that the deadly virus may have the ability to spread rapidly and invisibly among the most vulnerable. But it was a warning not heeded here: That very day, Massachusetts leaders unveiled a hastily arranged plan to shuffle hundreds of symptom-free — and untested — residents from one nursing home to others to clear room for older COVID-19 patients discharged from hospitals.

There was still time to hit the pause button. No one did.

And so it began. Over the next three cold and gloomy days, medical workers moved 137 elderly women and men, many with dementia, out of their familiar rooms at Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center in Worcester, loaded them into ambulances, and scattered them among 18 facilities. They were people like 92-year-old Frannie Trotto, who never recovered from the sudden and disorienting uprooting. Neither she nor the others were tested for COVID-19 because state guidelines at the time called for swabbing only those with a fever or cough. And some may have brought the virus to their new homes. (via)
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photograph by Harold Feinstein via

Monday, 9 November 2020

Men and Women Feeling Discomfort During Flights

According to a study, significantly more women than men report flight anxiety, and significantly more women than men become "quite much" or "very much" more afraid of flying after having children. Situations that score highest are turbulence, terrorism, highjacking, collision, and foreign objects in the engine. Men feel more confident that airline companies do enough to ensure safety. There are, however, no gender differences when estimating the frequency of flight accidents and the mortality rate in airplane accidents.



- Ekeberg, O., Fauske, B. & Berg-Hansen, B. (2014). Norwegian airline passengers are not more afraid of flying after the terror act of September 11. The flight anxiety, however, is significantly attributed to acts of terrorism. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 55, 464-468. LINK

- photograph (Olympic Airlines, 1969, designed by Pierre Cardin) via

Sunday, 8 November 2020

Presidential

"Let us not be blind to our differences-but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal."
John F. Kennedy



photograph by Joel Meyerowitz (New York City, 1963) via

Saturday, 7 November 2020

Special Needs: From Euphemism to Dysphemism.

Generally speaking, euphemisms are believed to protect both speaker and hearer, allowing them to think about issues that are otherwise avoided, at the same time making sure that neither speaker nor hearer lose face. There is, however, also the notion that euphemisms mostly tend to save the producer's face rather than the recipient's face. Furthermore, they can avoid but also cause offence, can be effective or ineffective.



There are a great many euphemism for disability, such as "special needs". According to disability advocates, this euphemism is inappropriate, unacceptable, offensive, patronising, distancing. This and a range of campaigns to remove it have not yet managed to convince parents of children with disabilities and professionals working with people with disabilities not to use it since they feel it sounds more positive than disability.

In their study, Gernsbacher et al. (2016) constructed vignettes describing different envisioned situations (being a university freshman living in the dormitories who chooses a roommate, being a second-grade teacher teaching a full-to-capacity class who chooses a new student, being a middle-age employee completing an important project who has to choose a co-worker). The person to be chosen was described to "have a disablity", "have a certain disability", "have special needs" (and no label for the control group). The characters that were most frequently chosen last were the ones with "special needs". When asked about associations, participants reported more negative ones with "special needs". The authors come to the conclusion that "special needs" is an ineffective euphemism and that it connotes segregation.

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- Gernsbacher, M. A., Raimond, A. R., Ballinghasay, M. T. & Jaxon, J. (2016). "Special needs" is an ineffective euphemism. Cognitive Research Principles and Implications, 1(1), 1-13. LINK
- image (Ironside) via

Friday, 6 November 2020

Feminism, too, is ageist.

Very little attention is given to older and old women and ageing by society including feminist scholars. Increases in numbers of people aged over 65 do not change this very fact. Feminists continue focusing on girls, young adult and middle-aged women. Old people are absent in feminists‘ research questions and theoretical approaches. They are invisible.



There is, e.g., literature on bodies but hardly any discussion of old bodies. When discussing the "male gaze" in visual media, for instance, their critiques focus on "the male defined nature of both cosmetic surgery and the skin-care industry". There is absolutely no discussion of the "gaze of youth" which like any other gaze "freezes a person as an object defined by subordinate status", conveying messages that are internalised; there is no exploration of what women feel when they are cast aside rather than objectified. The ageing process makes women grow invisible as sexual beings … "not only in terms of the disappearance of the desirous male gaze, for instance, but also in terms of neglect by younger members of the women’s movement and lesbian communities".
An inadvertent but pernicious ageism burdens much of women’s studies scholarship and activism. It stems from failing to study old people on their own terms and from failing to theorize age relations—the system of inequality, based on age, which privileges the not-old at the expense of the old (Calasanti 2003). Some feminists mention age-based oppression but treat it as a given—an “et cetera” on a list of oppressions, as if to indicate that we already know what it is. As a result, feminist work suffers, and we engage in our own oppression. Using scholarship on the body and carework as illustrative, this article explores both the absence of attention to the old and age relations, and how feminist scholarship can be transformed by the presence of such attention.
Feminists have analyzed how terms related to girls and women, such as “sissy” and “girly,” are used to put men and boys down and reinforce women’s inferiority. Yet we have not considered the age relations that use these terms to keep old and young groups in their respective places. For instance, we have been mostly silent about the divisive effects of the so-called “age war” in which the media fuel animosity between generations (…).
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- Calasanti, T., Slevin, K. F. & King, N. (2006). Ageism and Feminism: From "Et Cetera" to Center. Feminist Formations, 18(1), 13-30; LINK
- photograph by Joel Meyerowitz

Thursday, 5 November 2020

Female + Attractive? Attributions of Personal Characteristics and Prison Sentences

232 students (178 female, 54 male) were presented a set of crime accounts (theft, fraud, drug crime, child abuse, child molestation/sexual abuse, homicide) with either accompanying women's or men's faces (all of them of Nordic appearance aged 20 to 26). The photographs were computer manipulated resulting in four new pictures for women: short hair + no cosmetics, short hair + cosmetics, long hair + no cosmetics, long hair + cosmetics and four new ones for men: short hair + no beard, short hair + beard, long hair + no beard, long hair + beard.



Each participant read a case summary, looked at the photograph and was asked to answer a questionnaire as a lay assessor who decides the innocence or guilt of the defendant, and to sentence them to a specific number of years of imprisonment.
The main result was that male defendants are evaluated more harshly and given longer sentences than female ones. The authors come to the conclusion that they were "in fact punished for their gender". There was also a slight tendency "towards more lenient appraisal of the more attractive women".



- Ahola, A. S., Christianson, S. & Hellström, Å. (2009). Justice Needs a Blindfold: Effects of Gender and Attractiveness on Prison Sentences and Attributions of Personal Characteristics in a Judicial Process. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 16(1), 90-100.
- photographs of Patrick McGoohan as "The Prisoner" via

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Ageism among Nurses. Excerpts.

Compared with other healthcare providers, nurses have less accurate knowledge about the aging process. They have also expressed higher levels of anxiety about aging, and have shown a tendency to assign a lower status to geriatric nursing (Wells et al. 2004).



A study conducted in the Netherlands found a correlation between nurses’ attitudes toward older patients and the quality of communication and care provided to them (Caris-Verhallen et al. 1999). The more negative the nurses’ attitudes, the shorter, more superficial, and more task-oriented their conversations with older patients were. The nurses tended to speak to older patients in a patronizing tone, and did not involve them in consultations or decisions. McLafferty and Morrison (2004) reached similar conclusions in a study conducted in Scotland. The nurses’ negative attitudes towards older patients were reflected in their low expectations for rehabilitation as well as in their detached treatment of the patients. The nurses used shallow language and shouted, without any humor and without even addressing the patients by name. In an updated systematic review of research conducted since 2000 in various countries (Eastern and Western countries such as Singapore, the US, Canada, and Australia), a steady decline from positive to more neutral attitudes towards older people over time was found among student nurses (Liu et al. 2012).



Risk factors for ageist attitudes among nursing students and registered nurses in Sweden include young age (25) and male gender (Soderhamn et al. 2001). Similar results have been found in Greece, where young age and male gender were positively associated with ageism as reflected in narrow knowledge about aging and negative attitudes towards older adults (Lambrinou et al. 2009). However, a recent systematic review of 25 studies carried out in different countries (such as Australia, UK, the US, and Taiwan) suggests that age and gender are not consistent predictors of nurses’ attitudes toward older patients, whereas preference for work with older patients and knowledge about old age are more consistent predictors of positive attitudes (Liu et al. 2013).

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- Ben-Harush, A., Shiovitz-Ezra, S., Doron, I., Alon, S. Leibovitz, A., Golander, H., Haron, Y. & Ayalon, L. (2017). Ageism among physicians, nurses, and social workers: findings from a qualitative study. European Journal of Ageing, 14(1), 39-48. LINK
- photographs (nurses uniforms by Pierre Cardin) via and via

Monday, 2 November 2020

Unmelting Images: Loud Italians, Drunk Irish, Evil Asians

"By and large, both film and television programming content provides viewers with the familiar images and ideas. Aimed at attracting the largest possible audience, programs provide what Dwight MacDonald called "trivial and comfortable culture products." Using film and television to relax or escape, Americans discover widely-held attitudes and easy stereotypes, and while this is true for most programming, it is especially noticeable in depictions of ethnic-Americans.



For generations of American movie viewers, for example, Italian families were loud and large, Irish fathers drank, Orientals were either houseboys or evil villains plotting to take over the world, and Blacks sang or danced. While the real world was often confusing, on the screen everyone had, and knew, his or her place. Film and television have provided Americans with a variety of ethnic images, and while the pictures change, stereotyping has been a consistent feature of prime-time ethnic-American ones."
(Holte, 1984:101)

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- Holte, J. C. (1984). Unmelting Images: Film, Television, and Ethnic Stereotyping. MELUS, 11(3), 101-108
- photograph via

Sunday, 1 November 2020

Stereotypes of Older Lesbians and Gay Men

Abstract: This study examined stereotypes of older lesbians and gay men. Key findings are that older lesbians and gay men were perceived as similar to older heterosexual women and men with regard to aging stereotypes, such as being judicious. At the same time, sexual minorities were targets of unique stereotypes. Consistent with the implicit inversion theory, lesbians were conceived as similar to heterosexual men, and gay men similar to heterosexual women with regard to gender-stereotypic traits, and regardless of age. These findings suggest the persistence into late adulthood of the belief that lesbians and gay men are inverted females and males.
(Wright & Canetto, 2009)



- Wright, S. L. & Canetto, S. S. (2009). Stereotypes of Older Lesbians and Gay Men. Educational Gerontology, 35(5), 424-452.
- photograph of Rock Hudson and George Nader via

Saturday, 31 October 2020

"That was when I realized that through dance I could communicate, and that saved my life."

One day, my mother took me to see Oakland Ballet’s “Nutcracker.” Being Deaf, when I would watch TV or go to the movies, I couldn’t connect with what I was seeing because it was not accessible for me — usually lacking captions or ASL interpreters. I would miss all the jokes. When I watched the Oakland Ballet, it was wonderful. No one was talking on stage; instead, everyone was dancing as a way to communicate. It showed me that I can use art and dance to communicate with the world.



That was the day I knew I wanted to be a ballet dancer. My mom couldn’t afford to take me to dance lessons, so I had to wait until high school to dance. It was a long wait. I was a person that no one understood; therefore, I became a person who felt I had no place in the world. It was a depressing feeling of being an outcast and left out of everything.

My high school dance teacher Dawn James taught modern and jazz, and she believes the spirit of dance lives in everyone … including me. Whenever she danced, it was powerful — a Black woman was giving me permission to find power in myself. She didn’t treat me differently, even though I was the only Deaf student in her class.

One day, she gave us a class assignment to collaborate in groups and come up with a dance performance to Whitney Houston’s song “I Will Always Love You.” Students were supposed to work together, but no one wanted to work with me. So, Ms. James told me to make up my own dance and perform a solo. I couldn’t really hear the words, but I read the lyrics on the back of cassette tape then clicked play and initially rocked side to side expressing the cold and loneliness I felt. During the powerful instrumental break, however, I was suddenly all over the room, my body channeled the lightning, fire, wind and ocean I sensed in the music. When the music ended, I faded off my dance. My classmates were blown away. They told me, “I really felt you were cold and alone.” That was when I realized that through dance I could communicate, and that saved my life.

I could remember that feeling I had when I watched the Oakland Ballet. Dance has the power to communicate, and I felt I could channel that power to communicate with others around me and they would understand me. I no longer wanted to die. (...)



As a dancer, people will say to me, “Oh, you can feel the vibration, that’s it, you’ll be fine.” No. If I jump, I can’t feel the vibration. If I’m running around really fast, I can’t feel the vibration. I have to slow down and stay in one place for a while to feel the vibration. So what does that mean? I’m listening. I’m using every intelligence of my being to do what I have to do to make it work.

For me, this often means creatively finding visual cues to stay on beat. So sometimes, I’d try to see what was happening with the light. Maybe the light would feel the vibration, and I could see what the rhythm is. Or I look at the musicians, and they’re bopping their heads or tapping their feet. I say, “Oh OK, that’s what the rhythm is.”

My body started to develop Deaf instincts, it’s like mother instinct or animal instinct — or like a Spiderman sense. Some people say, “How do you know when the music starts? Or the music changes?” Well, it’s my Spiderman sense. We love feeling the vibration. We don’t just like to feel loud shaky beats, but also clarity in the music through the vibrations. (...)

My work, deeply rooted in social change, will uplift marginalized communities, expose hidden truths through arts while breaking down barriers of judgments from those with white and/or hearing privileges. Marginalized Deaf communities include those who are Deaf youth, Black Deaf, POC Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, LGBTQIA, and other intersecting identities.

Antoine Hunter

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photographs via and via

Friday, 30 October 2020

Body Care

"In Body care series, I pose as a modern man who presents a desperate desire to be forever young. Once I stumbled on a nose-slimming pin in the online shop. I remembered my childhood complexes and started to buy seemingly pointless treatments to stop aging and somehow improve my appearance. There is no evidence that a cream or a mask actually work. The irony is: we’d need a lifetime to find out which would make a difference."
Arseniy Neskhodimov



photographs via

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Meeting Sofie

"How far should a pre-birth diagnosis go? From an ethical perspective, prenatal tests are quite controversial. Critics see them as a targeted search for sick children in their mothers’ wombs - for embryos with Down syndrome. They also question what this medical control means for people living with this condition - for their rights to assistance, participation and inclusion. Inclusion means giving people with handicaps a presence and visibility within society - and photography is one means of doing so.



I started taking pictures of Sofie young woman with Down syndrome back in 2017 when she was 18 years old. She just finished school and spent almost every day on the family estate in Eilenstedt (Germany). Sofie comes from a family of famous antique dealers and grew up in the magical atmosphere of this farm. Visiting Sofie and her family for over four years, I experienced their everyday lives and shared the highs and lows of her first steps into love. At that time Sofie was in that awkward yet beautiful and thrilling age of transition from a girl to a woman, when every feeling is extremely intense and love seems to be the main purpose of life. Sofie has a very strong bond with her mother Barbara. Barbara was 39 when Sofie was born, at home on Christmas night 25.12.1998. It was three weeks later during a routine doctor’s appointment when she found out Sofie had Down syndrome and should have required an operation on her heart.



With my series 'Meeting Sofie' I want to show the beauty of "being different" and thus to contribute to deeper acceptance, integration and love among us humans."
Snezhana Von Buedingen



photographs via

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

"In the end, it all comes down to what kind of world we want."

At times, some critics have said my comedy risks reinforcing old stereotypes. The truth is I've been passionate about challenging bigotry and intolerance throughout my life. As a comedian, I have tried to use my characters to get people to let down their guard and reveal what they actually believe, including their own prejudice. Borat did reveal people's indifference to antisemitism. When as Bruno, the gay fashion reporter from Austria, I started kissing a man in a cage fight in Arkansas nearly starting a riot, it showed the violent potential of homophobia. And when disguiised as a ultra woke developer I proposed building a mosque in one rural community prompting a resident to proudly admit "I am racist against Muslims", it showed the growing acceptance of islamophobia.



Today, around the world demagogues appeal to our worst instincts. Conspiracy theories once confined to the fringe are going mainstream. It's as if the age of reason, the era of evidential argument is ending and our knowledge is increasingly delegitimised and scientific consensus is dismissed. Democracy, which depends on shared truths is in retreat and autocracy, which depends on shared lies, is on the march. Hate crimes are surging as are murderous attacks on religious and ethnic minorities. Fake news outperforms real news because studies show that lies spread faster than truth. On the internet, everything can appear equally legitimate. The rantings of a lunatic seems as credible as the findings of a Nobel Prize winner. Voltaire was right when he said "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

In the end, it all comes down to what kind of world we want. If we prioritise truth over lies, tolerance over prejudice, empathy over indifference, and experts over ignoranuses, then maybe, just maybe, we can save democracy. We can still have a place for free speech and free expression, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Today these rights are threatened by hate, conspiracy and lies. So allow me to leave you with a suggestion for a different aim for society. The ultimate aim of society should be to make sure that people are not targeted, not harassed and not murdered because of who they are, where they come from, who they love or how they pray.
Sacha Baron Cohen 

::: Full speech: LISTEN/WATCH  

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photograph via

Monday, 26 October 2020

".... you damned well better be a sex object"

"Prejudice against women is many, many times intensified against older women. You are viewed not as an intellect but as a body.... Astonishingly, even women's liberation has paid extraordinarily little attention to the older woman and to the fact that her job is limited because she is [older]. They say that women shouldn't be sex objects, but you damned well better be a sex object if you want to get ahead in television."
Elinor Guggenheimer



photograph (from left: Betty Friedan, Elinor Guggenheimer, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Gloria Steinem) via

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Black Baby, White Baby & Survival Chances

According to a research paper published last year, in the U.S., "black babies are more than twice as likely to die before reaching their first birthday than white babies, regardless of the mother’s income or education level." A new study reviewing 1.8m hospital birth records in Florida (1992-2015) suggests that the doctor's ethnicity plays a major role since black newborns are three times more likely to die in the hospital than white babies if cared for by white doctors (for white babies the doctor's skin tone hardly has an impact on their chances of survival). The disparity halves when the doctor's skin tone is black ... but only 5% of doctors are black (via).



photograph (1970) via

Saturday, 24 October 2020

World Polio Day

Worldwide, there is no correlation between a child's gender and immunisation, i.e., there is no gender difference. One important exception is India where females are associated with missed polio vaccination (via).



"(...) there are notable variations where immunization coverage is higher for girls in some countries and higher for boys in others. This is why the polio programme regularly collects sex-disaggregated data to enable it to track gender-related discrepancies and take swift corrective action. Overall it is important to note that data from the polio-endemic countries (Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan) in the past two years shows that girls and boys have been equally reached in house-to-house vaccination campaigns. For instance, in Afghanistan, out of all girls surveyed after vaccination campaigns in 2017, 92.6% were recorded as vaccinated, compared to 92.5% of boys. This high level of coverage is the tangible result of targeted and context-specific communications for awareness raising and behaviour change activities, combined with well-trained health workers recruited from local communities." Global Polio Eradication Initiative

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photograph via