Monday, 19 July 2021

I Shall Not Be Moved

It is not known who wrote the song and when, only that the lyrics stretch back to the slave era. It later became a song used for labour and civil rights movements, for resistance in general (via).

::: Ella Fitzgerald: I Shall Not Be Moved: LISTEN 
::: Johnny Cash: I Shall Not Be Moved: LISTEN

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Glory hallelujah, I shall not be moved 
Anchored in Jehovah, I shall not be moved 
Just like the tree that's planted by the waters 
I shall not be moved 

In His love abiding, I shall not be moved 
And in Him confiding, I shall not be moved 
Just like the tree that's planted by the water 
I shall not be moved  

I shall not be, I shall not be moved 
I shall not be, I shall not be moved 
Just like the tree that's planted by the waters 
I shall not be moved 

Though all Hell assail me, I shall not be moved 
Jesus will not fail me, I shall not be moved 
Just like the tree that's planted by the water 
I shall not be moved  

Though the tempest rages, I shall not be moved 
On the rock of ages, I shall not be moved 
Just like the tree that's planted by the water 
I shall not be moved 

I shall not be, I shall not be moved 
I shall not be, I shall not be moved 
Just like the tree that's planted by the water 
I shall not be moved 

I shall not be, I shall not be moved 
I shall not be, I shall not be moved 
Just like the tree that's planted by the water 
I shall not be moved  

lyrics via

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photographs of the amazing Ella Fitzgerald (Empire Room at Waldorf Astoria Hotel, N.Y., 30 March 1971, AP Photo/Ron Frehm) via and via 

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Celebrating Eight Years. A Party "Werner Herzog Style".

'I like to party, if by "party" you mean sitting alone in a darkened room contemplating the futility of human existence.' 
Werner Herzog

An "interesting" year has passed. Many people suffered from the symptoms of the virus, many died, many got insane and turned to conspiracy theories ... the pandemic was launched by Asians, by gays, by the Jewish, by non-Christians, by foreigners, lizards are coming ... When beds become scarce, we are willing to sacrfice the old, the disabled as if it were the most natural thing and no discussion follows. Half of the people lost forever were in retirement homes. Surely more could have been done to prevent their deaths but societies couldn't care less. Because age is not part of the diversity discussion. And if people die in other countries, it is because these "others" don't have such an advanced health system as "we" do.

This pandemic surely showed us our approach to diversity, the bias there is, the prejudices, the discrimination. It showed us who has the power to at least turn something into a discussion and who doesn't. Let's celebrate, nevertheless, and hope that in autum we will be smarter. I wish you all the sunshine there is, health, happiness ... and would like to thank you, again, for (still) following this blog. Thank you and stay healthy!

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photograph (c) by MLM

Sunday, 4 July 2021

Forced to Retire

Manuel Gräfe is planning to sue the German Football Association for age discrimination. When he turned 47 in the last season, he was no longer allowed to continue to work as a referee despite being in shape, good performances and enjoying his job. Gräfe points out that the German Football Associaton states to stand up for diversity and to fight racism and discrimination but is at the same time keeping up the age limit. 

In the Netherlands, the age limit was abolished about twenty years ago (via), FIFA announced to eliminate age limits for international referees in 2014 (via and via), the Scottish Football Association made the announcement in 2012 (via). 

"We have seen examples elsewhere of match officials maintaining standards beyond the previous cut-off of 47 and it will be a major benefit to us in Scotland." John Fleming, SFA's head of referee development

"The retirement age of a referee was 48 back in 2000, but today, luckily, we don't have an age limit." Mike Dean, Premier League referee

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photograph (PA Archive/Press Association Ima), 1963 via

Friday, 2 July 2021

LSD Abuse and Gender

Men are more likely to abuse LSD; higher drug use rates are found among males across all ages. According to a study carried out in the U.S. in 2010, the rate of lifetime psychodelic drug abuse was 22% among males and 12% among females. One reason mentioned in literature is that economic downturns and the associated feelings of hopelessness and frustration may lead to increases in substance abuse with men trying to find a way to escape after losing or leaving a job (via). For short-term and long-term effects see e.g. HERE.

photograph by Gil Rigoulet via

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Wee Muckers. By Toby Binder.

»If I had been born at the top of my street, behind the corrugated-iron border, I would have been British. Incredible to think. My whole idea of myself, the attachments made to a culture, heritage, religion, nationalism and politics are all an accident of birth. I was one street away from being born my ‘enemy’.«
Paul McVeigh, Belfast-born writer

"Photographer Toby Binder has been documenting the daily life of teenagers in British working-class communities for more than a decade. After the Brexit referendum he focused his work on Belfast in Northern Ireland. There is a serious concern that Brexit will threaten the Peace Agreement of 1998 that ended the armed conflict between Protestant Unionists and Catholic Nationalists who live in homogeneous neighborhoods that are divided by walls till today. Old conflicts may recur, compromising the youth’s future prospects on both communities. Nevertheless, being underage, most teenagers were not allowed to vote in the referendum. Problems they struggle with are similar – no matter which side of the “Peace Walls” they live on. And whatever the effects of Brexit will be, it‘s very likely that they will strike especially young people from both communities." (via)

photographs by Toby Binder via

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

"(...) your experience is expressed in your face, what's wrong with that?"

'What’s wrong with a few wrinkles? What are you trying to be? It’s a dreadful sort of ego and arrogance to think 'All that’s wrong with me is I need a little tuck here and I’ll be back to what I was.' Your experience makes you older and if your experience is expressed in your face, what’s wrong with that?'. 
Ian McKellen

photograph of Sir Ian McKellen     via

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Mädchenland. By Karolin Klüppel.

"In the state of Meghalaya in India, the indigenous people of the Khasi with 1,1 million members form the majority of the population. The Khasi are a matrilineal society. Here, traditionally it is the girls who are of particularly importance and who play an exposed role in the family. The line of succession passes through the youngest daughter. If she marries, her husband is taken into her family‘s house, and the children take their mother‘s name.

A family with just sons is considered unlucky, because only daughters can assure the continuity of a clan. The succession after maternal line guarantees girls and women in Meghalaya a unique economic and social independence compared to general indian conditions.

To disrespect a woman in the Khasi culture means to harm the society.

Between 2013 and 2015 I spent ten months in the khasivillage of Mawlynnong in north-east India, a village of just 95 dwellings. In this series I concentrate on the girls themselves in contextualizing them in their everyday physical environment through a sensitive balance between documentation and composition."
Karolin Klüppel

photographs via

Saturday, 26 June 2021

"Out of it?" Old Age and Photographic Portraiture

Abstract: The essay examines representations of old age in photographic portraiture, focusing on works by such prominent American photographers of the last few decades as Nicholas Nixon, Richard Avedon, and Fazal Sheikh. It shows how the new aging studies, in conjunction with critical photo-history, critique American images of aging as narratives of mere decline. Visual culture, these scholars point out, conflates self and appearance, makes youth a fetish, marginalizes the old, and thus plays an important role in a much larger social and cultural devaluation of old age.

This essay questions this assumption, arguing that the camera's gaze doesn't necessarily identify the old as confused and in decline. Close readings of photographic images and series demonstrate how photographers like Avedon or Sheikh have created less constricting, more flexible representations of the old that transcend the problematic nature of the normative gaze. (Ribbat, 2011)

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- Ribbat, C. (2011). "Out of it?" Old Age and Photographic Portraiture. Amerikastudien/American Studies, 56(1), 67-84.
- photograph by Gil Rigoulet (1970s) via

Friday, 25 June 2021

War is not healthy for children and other living things

According to "Save the Children" estimations, every day, about 300 babies die worldwide due to the effects of war, including indirect effects such as hunger, denial of aid, poor sanitation. In 2017, 420 million children were living in conflict zones (via and via). 

In the past ten years, in Syria alone, one child was injured or killed every eight hours, in other words, 12.000 since 2011 (via). The countries hit the hardest are Afghanistan, Yemen, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Iraq, Mali, Nigeria, and Somalia. Often, children who survive are targetet to become children soldiers or suicide bombers (via). This year, more than two million Yemeni children are expected to suffer extreme malnutrition, 400.000 of them are likely to starve to death (via).

photographs of the amazing Vanessa Redgrave via and via

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Macnamara: Origin and Character of the British People (1900)

Macnamara justified British superiority over Germans by pointing out the heritage of ethnic mixture: so-called Teutonic (Nordic), Iberian (Mediterranean), Mongolian (Alpine) qualities, a mix that made sure the Anglo-Saxons were flexible and avoided any religious or socio-political extremism ... things that might be difficult to achieve by the pure Teuton, he said (Bertolette, 2004). Here some stereotypical features of the "Iberian", "Mongoloid", and "Teutonic"..

Iberian: chivalrous, courteous, patriotic, impulsive, ostentatious, proud, musical, cruel, passionate, revengeful, unreliable

Mongoloid: religious, peace-loving, imaginative, sensitive, artistic, hosptable, indolent, unstable, lacking individuality

Teutonic: self-reliant, self-respecting, reliable, patriotic, ordely, freedom-loving, laborious, slow, persevering, courageous, warlike, enterprising, domineering

- - - - - - - - -
- Bertolette, W. F. (2004). German stereotypes in British magazines prior to World War I. Master's Thesis: Louisiana State University, link
- Macnamara, N. C. (1900). Origin and Character of the British People. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- photograph by Tony Ray-Jones (May Day celebrations, 1967) via

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

"(...) inside, you're ageless."

“When I was young I was always playing old parts. And, of course, I was having to imagine it. Because what does ‘old’ mean? I had no idea! Now that I’m old I do know. And I also know what it’s like to be young. Because as you get older, inside, you’re ageless. Inside? Quite honestly? I feel about 12.”
Ian McKellen

photograph via

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Narrative images: Disco in Wolverhampton (1978)

A decade after Enoch Powell's speech on immigration, in anticipation of its anniversary, the Sunday Times Magazine commissioned British photographer Chris Steele-Perkins to travel to Wolverhampton to capture the effects of Powell's words on ethnic minorities (via). 

 "I sensed that people would rather not talk about it. It was a nasty stain, but they wanted to move on. This [the series] happened ten years after Powell, but this stuff doesn’t wash out that quickly." Chris Steele-Perkins

In the 1950s, Wolverhampton's economic growth was booming needing more workforce. Newspapers published stories stating that Britain's boom could only be maintained by attracting recruits from abroad, i.e. the "Continent", Ireland, and the colonies. Commonwealth immigration was encouraged by the governement, however, it was unprepared for the number of people seeking employment in the factories which led to tensions between native residents and immigrant newcomers. The immigrant population (mostly West-Indian and South-Asian) was blamed for lowering wages and taking jobs. In the context of this tension, Enoch Powell, then Conservative MP for Wolverhampton, gave a controversial anti-immigration speech (via).

“It wasn’t a surprise. Powell was on the right of the Tory party, and he had been banging on about immigration before. It was just that this was the most extreme version of this kind of prejudice that he had come out with.” Chris Steele-Perkins 

When Steele-Perkins visited Wolverhampton, he found a city different from the rest of Britain,  immigrants who were alienated and given second-hand opportunities (via).

"I am essentially aware of it, as I am not part of the mainstream group. I have a Burmese mother and an English father, and I wasn't born in this country. I can't pretend it's something that happens to other people and is not connected with me." Chris Steele-Perkins

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Enoch Powell's "Rivers of Blood" speech, excerpts (1968)

(...) A week or two ago I fell into conversation with a constituent, a middle-aged, quite ordinary working man employed in one of our nationalised industries.

After a sentence or two about the weather, he suddenly said: "If I had the money to go, I wouldn't stay in this country." I made some deprecatory reply to the effect that even this government wouldn't last for ever; but he took no notice, and continued: "I have three children, all of them been through grammar school and two of them married now, with family. I shan't be satisfied till I have seen them all settled overseas. In this country in 15 or 20 years' time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man."

I can already hear the chorus of execration. How dare I say such a horrible thing? How dare I stir up trouble and inflame feelings by repeating such a conversation?

The answer is that I do not have the right not to do so. Here is a decent, ordinary fellow Englishman, who in broad daylight in my own town says to me, his Member of Parliament, that his country will not be worth living in for his children.

I simply do not have the right to shrug my shoulders and think about something else. What he is saying, thousands and hundreds of thousands are saying and thinking - not throughout Great Britain, perhaps, but in the areas that are already undergoing the total transformation to which there is no parallel in a thousand years of English history.

In 15 or 20 years, on present trends, there will be in this country three and a half million Commonwealth immigrants and their descendants. That is not my figure. That is the official figure given to parliament by the spokesman of the Registrar General's Office.

There is no comparable official figure for the year 2000, but it must be in the region of five to seven million, approximately one-tenth of the whole population, and approaching that of Greater London. (...) Whole areas, towns and parts of towns across England will be occupied by sections of the immigrant and immigrant-descended population. (...)

The natural and rational first question with a nation confronted by such a prospect is to ask: "How can its dimensions be reduced?" (...)

The answers to the simple and rational question are equally simple and rational: by stopping, or virtually stopping, further inflow, and by promoting the maximum outflow. Both answers are part of the official policy of the Conservative Party.

It almost passes belief that at this moment 20 or 30 additional immigrant children are arriving from overseas in Wolverhampton alone every week - and that means 15 or 20 additional families a decade or two hence. Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad. We must be mad, literally mad, as a nation to be permitting the annual inflow of some 50,000 dependants, who are for the most part the material of the future growth of the immigrant-descended population. It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre. So insane are we that we actually permit unmarried persons to immigrate for the purpose of founding a family with spouses and fiancés whom they have never seen. (...)

Nothing is more misleading than comparison between the Commonwealth immigrant in Britain and the American Negro. The Negro population of the United States, which was already in existence before the United States became a nation, started literally as slaves and were later given the franchise and other rights of citizenship, to the exercise of which they have only gradually and still incompletely come. The Commonwealth immigrant came to Britain as a full citizen, to a country which knew no discrimination between one citizen and another, and he entered instantly into the possession of the rights of every citizen, from the vote to free treatment under the National Health Service.

(...) The sense of being a persecuted minority which is growing among ordinary English people in the areas of the country which are affected is something that those without direct experience can hardly imagine.

I am going to allow just one of those hundreds of people to speak for me:

“Eight years ago in a respectable street in Wolverhampton a house was sold to a Negro. Now only one white (a woman old-age pensioner) lives there. This is her story. She lost her husband and both her sons in the war. So she turned her seven-roomed house, her only asset, into a boarding house. She worked hard and did well, paid off her mortgage and began to put something by for her old age. Then the immigrants moved in. With growing fear, she saw one house after another taken over. The quiet street became a place of noise and confusion. Regretfully, her white tenants moved out.

“The day after the last one left, she was awakened at 7am by two Negroes who wanted to use her 'phone to contact their employer. When she refused, as she would have refused any stranger at such an hour, she was abused and feared she would have been attacked but for the chain on her door. Immigrant families have tried to rent rooms in her house, but she always refused. Her little store of money went, and after paying rates, she has less than £2 per week. “She went to apply for a rate reduction and was seen by a young girl, who on hearing she had a seven-roomed house, suggested she should let part of it. When she said the only people she could get were Negroes, the girl said, "Racial prejudice won't get you anywhere in this country." So she went home.

“The telephone is her lifeline. Her family pay the bill, and help her out as best they can. Immigrants have offered to buy her house - at a price which the prospective landlord would be able to recover from his tenants in weeks, or at most a few months. She is becoming afraid to go out. Windows are broken. She finds excreta pushed through her letter box. When she goes to the shops, she is followed by children, charming, wide-grinning piccaninnies. They cannot speak English, but one word they know. "Racialist," they chant. When the new Race Relations Bill is passed, this woman is convinced she will go to prison. And is she so wrong? I begin to wonder.” The other dangerous delusion from which those who are wilfully or otherwise blind to realities suffer, is summed up in the word "integration." To be integrated into a population means to become for all practical purposes indistinguishable from its other members. (...)

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photograph by Magnum photographer Chris-Steele Perkins via

Monday, 21 June 2021

Birmingham Sunday, Joan Baez (1964)

On 15th of September 1963, the Ku Klux Klan bombed a church killing four girls aged 11 to 14 (Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole obertson, Cynthia Wesley) and injuring many more. 

::: Birmingham Sunday: LISTEN/WATCH

Come round by my side and I'll sing you a song 
I'll sing it so softly, it'll do no one wrong 
On Birmingham Sunday the blood ran like wine 
And the choirs kept singing of freedom

That cold autumn morning no eyes saw the sun 
And Addie Mae Collins, her number was one 
At an old Baptist church there was no need to run 
And the choirs kept singing of freedom  

The clouds they were grey and the autumn wind blew 
And Denise McNair brought the number to two 
The falcon of death was a creature they knew 
And the choirs kept singing of freedom 

The church it was crowded, but no one could see 
That Cynthia Wesley's dark number was three 
Her prayers and her feelings would shame you and me 
And the choirs kept singing of freedom  

Young Carol Robertson entered the door 
And the number her killers had given was four 
She asked for a blessing but asked for no more 
And the choirs kept singing of freedom 

On Birmingham Sunday a noise shook the ground 
And people all over the earth turned around 
For no one recalled a more cowardly sound 
And the choirs kept singing of freedom 

The men in the forest they once asked of me 
How many black berries grew in the Blue Sea 
I asked them right back with a tear in my eye 
How many dark ships in the forest? 

The Sunday has come and the Sunday has gone 
And I can't do much more than to sing you a song 
I'll sing it so softly, it'll do no one wrong 
And the choirs keep singing of freedom

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- lyrics via, photograph by Yousuf Karsh via

Saturday, 19 June 2021


"Spending money on ornate umbrellas and silk socks might seem surreal when almost half the population of the Congo lives in poverty, but the Sape movement aims to do more than just lift the spirits. Over the decades it has functioned as a form of colonial resistance, social activism and peaceful protest."

"Brazzaville and Kinshasa are on opposite banks of the Congo River, almost directly across from one another, yet they have different styles. In Brazzaville, La Sape is mainly 'French style' (think exquisite suits), but in Kinshasa anything goes, from Japanese Yamamoto coats to Scottish kilts. True Sapologie is about more than expensive labels: the true art lies in a sapeur's ability to put together an elegant look unique to their personality...

...Though the subculture is traditionally passed down through the male line, many Congolese women have recently begun donning designer suits and becoming sapeuses. By challenging Congolese patriarchal society in this way, they are returning to La Sape's origins by reversing the power dynamic. La Sape is a movement that is constantly evolving, as disenfranchised youths use fashion as a way of navigating their nations' journeys from developing countries into a more hopeful cosmopolitan future."
Tariq Zaidi

Watch this beautiful short clip of the fashion subculture SAPE (Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes): WATCH

photographs via

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Margaret Bourke-White. Woman of Firsts.

"Margaret Bourke-White was a woman of firsts. The first woman to clamber over rivers of molten iron in the foundry and to face the heat of the furnaces in order to produce unusual, visionary industrial photographs. The first woman to tackle aerial photography ("if you find yourself eight hundred feet up, pretend it's only three, relax and get on calmly with your work", was her motto). The first woman to create a book with photos and essays on the Depression in the southern USA during the 1930s. The first woman to document Russia during the five-year plan and the only one to obtain a portrait session with Stalin. The first for whom the uniform of war correspondent was designed. And the first to record the horror of Buchenwald concentration camp, to document India at the moments of its separation from Pakistan and the only woman to capture an intense portrait of Mahatma Gandhi a few hours before his death...

...The first to go underground with miners in South Africa, to photograph in colour racial segregation in America. The first, above all, not to hide from the camera, becoming in her turn the subject of a reportage documenting, under the powerful and tender gaze of her colleague Alfred Eisenstaedt, her battle with Parkinson's disease, which would leave her immobile and lead to her death. In those moments, Margaret, who was renowned for her elegance and innate dress sense, was not afraid to show herself, old and frightened, in all her vulnerability."

"This was the first I heard the words I was to hear repeated thousands of times: "We didn’t know. We didn’t know." But they did know. I saw and photographed the piles of naked, lifeless bodies, the human skeletons in furnaces, the living skeletons who would die the next day because they had had to wait too long for deliverance. Buchenwald was more than the mind could grasp. People often ask me how it is possible to photograph such atrocities. I have to work with a veil over my mind. In photographing the murder camps, the protective veil was so tightly drawn that I hardly knew what I had taken until I saw prints of my own photographs. It was as though I was seeing these horrors for the first time."

"Mine is a life into which marriage doesn’t fit very well. If I had had children, I would have drawn creative inspiration from them, and shaped my work to them. Perhaps I would have worked on a children’s book, rather than going to wars. One life is not better than the other; it is just a different life."

text from, photographs taken (by MLM) at exhibition "Margaret Bourke-White. Prima, Donna.", Milan, Palazzo Reale.

Monday, 31 May 2021

Saturday, 29 May 2021

Dear ladies, please just disappear.

According to a British survey carried out among 2.000 women(!) aged 18 to 65 by Retire Savvy and commissioned by Diet Chef, women believe miniskirts would be a "no-no" for anyone aged 35 or more. Once you hit 36, text talk is no longer acceptable, 38, no tattoo, 39, no infamous night-club hotspots, 40, no see-through chiffon blouse, no holidays without family or partner, 41, no longer watching reality TV, 42, don't wear a football shirt, 44, no trainers (unless for sport), no discos, 45, no leggings, no Ugg boots, no more festivals, 47, no knee high boots, no bikini, no skinny jeans, no twitter, 49, delete your facebook profile, 51, no high heels, 51, no ponytail, 52, no longer staying out past midnight, 53, no long hair, 61, no swimsuit (via and via).

One in ten bought clothes and soon took them back to the shop fearing it was "too young" for them, 5% said they had been warned by a shop assistant the item was not right for their age. Women also often hear warning from friends and family (via and via and via).

Bollocks. After 43 you should walk past the queues of nightclubs, shoulders back, chest out – tits and teeth. Stride up to the bouncer and shake his hand. (...) And I couldn’t give a toss what people think. Although my grandson told me I was too old to wear Adidas Stan Smiths, while two Romanians stopped me in the toilets to shake my hand because I‘m 'DFC' – dead fucking cool. Confidentials's Gordo

In an article, published in The Guardian, Emma Soames claims that women lose their instinct for knowing what suits them as they get older. I think we should be more careful with these ideas and reflect on where they come from and what impact they have before selling them as facts. On the contrary, perhaps style is something that needs time to develop and people dress better the older they get. And, surely, there is one major issue Ms Soames is not seeing: People are judged mildly, if at all, for wearing "not suitable" clothes when young and judged more harshly when older. Since women's "fashion antennae just shrivel with age", she continues, they need "some sartorial rules". The first one: You need to dress "appropriately", avoid the ultra feminine and the very short, dress classically (via). 

No long hair, no high heels, no Ibiza, no facebook, no swimsuit... The message? Don't look like a woman, don't be active, don't have fun, don't go out. Just hide. Don't irritate with your presence. You no longer have a gender, you are either female or old. Dress in an age-appropriate manner and act your age by being invisible. That is the only way to age gracefully, by disappearing. We definitely still have a long way to go when it comes to raising awareness about the absurdities of internalised ageism.

photograph by Leon Levinstein via

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Statement of women taking over an abandoned building on 5th Street, N.Y.C., 1971

Because we want to develop our own culture,
Because we want to overcome stereotypes,
Because we refuse to have "equal rights" in a corrupt society,
Because we want to survive, grow, be ourselves...

We took over a building to put into action
with women those things essential to women
- health care, child care, food consipracy,
clothing and book exchange, gimme
women's shelter, a lesbian rights center,
interarts center, feminist school, drug rehabilitation.

We know the city does not provide for us.
Now we know the city will not allow us to provide for ourselves.
For this reason we were busted.
We were busted because we are women acting independently of men, independently of the system...
In other words, we are women being revolutionary.

- cited in Weisman, L. K. (1981). Women's Environmental Rights: A Manifesto. In B. Marks et al. (eds.) Makring Room. Women and Architecture (6-8).
- photograph (Times Square, 1961) via

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Long Hair, Short Hair... Associations and Stereotypes

According to research findings, women with long and medium-length hair are rated more attractive than those with short hair. Hair has an impact on the perception of attraction but is less decisive than facial traits. In other words, beautiful women with short hair are rated more attractive than less beautiful women with long hair. In addition, attractive faces are connected with more desirable traits than hairdressing but hair is also used to make personality judgments: Long hair is associated with dominant, intelligent, feminine, healthy women, short hair is associated with honest, caring, emotional women (Bereczkei & Meskó, 2006).

- Bereczkei, T. & Meskó, N. (2006). Hair length, facial attractiveness, personality attribution: A multiple fitness model of hairdressing. Review of Psychology, 13, 35-42.
- photograph (Audrey Hepburn, 1953) via

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Elfie Semotan: "Why should older women always look nice on photographs?"

"When other people take pictures of me, I always look like my aunt. Generally speaking, it seems to me that older women are always supposed to look nice on photographs. But I don't wish to look nice and friendly, I'd rather look cool.

(...) Just look at how older women are portrayed! A man can still be regarded as looking wonderful when his face shows wrinkles. When a woman's face reveals life and wrinkles, she is no longer attractive. Her face has to be smooth, the hair curly.

When fashion industry chooses older women, they are as beautiful as women in their forties, have no wrinkles. And if they have any, they wear huge, neon green glasses. Older women are never shown as older women. Photographs show them doing fitness, which is absurd. Why are men not taken pictures of that way? They have huge bellies which they confidently show and nobody would question or criticise their body or clothes. Obviously, when it comes to men, inner values count."
Elfie Semotan

"The female gaze is certainly different. I would like to say from the outset that the female gaze is one that perceives the entire surrounding – the children need something to eat, they are crying, there is work still to be done, and so on. The male gaze is focused. That is already a fundamental difference between female and male. And when I see naked women or men, my primary concern is that the models feel comfortable in their role, that they don’t feel exposed or that they have to pretend. When I photographed underwear, for example, it was very important to me that everyone felt very comfortable. And that everything was very loose. It was also rather comical."
Elfie Semotan

photograph (self portrait, 2000, © Elfie Semotan) via

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Quoting Sir Peter Ustinov

"Prejudices are the starting point of many accumulating disasters in this world. Beware stale opinions, dead opinions, inherited opinions, thoughtlessly adopted."
Sir Peter Ustinov

photograph via

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