Sunday, 15 May 2022

That Place He Goes. By Carole Mills Noronha.

Carole Mills Noronha is an Australian photographer who started the beautiful project "That Place He Goes" a few years ago documenting her father's Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer's journey, born in 1932 and officially diagnosed with dementia in 2018. "This project is a way to create more permanent memories for dad of his life as his own fade over time. My photos, in a way, replacing lost memories" (via).

December 19, 2021 Portrait of my 89 year old father.
Dad has Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer's. He spent most of 2020 & 2021 in lockdown in Aged Care. After months of window visits, I'm once again permitted to visit dad in his room. As I'm not permitted to take dad out, I instead bring some outside to dad. His face filled with wonder. Dad later releasing the butterfly in a nearby courtyard. (literally via)

March 12, 2021
Every Friday at dad's Aged Care Home they celebrate 'Happy Hour'. Truth is, it's never just an hour. It goes for much longer than that. Birthdays are celebrated, cake and alcohol is to be had. After time, with afternoon naps missed and sugar rushes over, 'Unhappy hour' begins. Personality clashes erupt and colourful language is used. We left 'Unhappy hour' and moved to a quiet area where the sunflowers grow and all is good in the world again. (literally via)

January 3, 2021
Today was dad's birthday. He was surprised to hear it but even more surprised to hear his age. We had a lovely, quiet few hours together. So lucky we could given some easing in Covid restrictions. There are studies saying that red is the last colour those with Dementia recognise. (literally via)

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photographs by Carole Mills Noronha via and via

Friday, 13 May 2022

Multikulti Berlin

In 2020, Berlin became the first German city to pass an anti-discrimination law aiming to eradicate systemic racism (via). The law bars public authorities, such as police and public school, from discriminating people based on their skin colour, their religion, gender, background, German language skills, worldview, age, sexual identity, physcial or mental disability (via). Several campaigns, initiatives, festivals and networks are dedicated to support and celebrate diversity in the city (via).

"Open-mindedness, tolerance and mutual respect are the norm and discrimination is not tolerated." (Because Berlin)

Immigration has shaped Berlin and "allowed the city to become the European metropolis that it is today." However, the positive aspects of ethnic diversity have been acknowledged only recently. Immigrants used to be seen as a burden who needed to be tolerated rather than included in society. Today, Berlin is promoting itself as a city open to different cultures and ethnicities (via).

Berlin likes to portray itself as Germany's most international city, a capital with a tolerant, worldly population that celebrates its diversity in street festivals, ethnic restaurants, and demonstrations for minority rights. "Multikulti," slang for multikulturell (multicultural), denotes an accepting attitude toward different cultures and religions, and by any standard Berlin is indeed international: 13% of its population has a non-German background (more than any other part in Germany); the culture, nightlife, and social scenes are a global potpourri. (via)

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photograph (Berlin, 1971) via

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

That one can love another...

"That one can love another of the same gender, that is what the homophobe really cannot stand."

photograph by Garry Winogrand via

Sunday, 8 May 2022

Narrative images: A Sunday in Central Park Zoo, 1967

“In the photograph, we see a white woman and a black man, apparently a couple, holding the product of their most unholy of unions: monkeys. In projecting what we will into this image - about miscegenation, our horror of difference, the forbidden nature of black men with white women - we see the beast that lies in us all.” 
Hilton Als

"I think part of the aim was to unsettle people's ideas, whether his own or other people's. To move people out of an unquestioning space and to some less settled space in which the authority of rules and structures was broken up a bit."
Eileen Hale, Garry Winogrand's widow

"(...) there is one photograph in “The Animals” that resonates more deeply than others. This picture shows, in medium close-up, a black man and a white woman. The man wears a jacket, a shirt and a tie. She is blonde and sports a head scarf. The man and the woman are each carrying a baby monkey. The monkeys, by implication, are the product of miscegenation: that is, born of parents who defied a natural law - the marriage of black to white - and whose only natural progeny could be… animals."
Hilton Als, The Animals and Their Keepers

"(...) And so, one Sunday, on an early spring day about a year after we’d met, Garry and I found ourselves walking through the Central Park Zoo. I was 20 or 30 yards ahead of him when I noticed a handsome couple walking toward me—they looked like fashion models, in their 20s, both well-dressed—improbably walking with a pair of chimpanzees who were as immaculately attired as they were (the animals even wore shoes and socks). A New York City piece of strangeness, it seemed to me, strange enough to take a picture. So I did.

Then, bang!, I felt myself being pushed in the back away from this odd little group. A real shove, unfriendly, hard. And, of course, it was Garry, camera already up, making pictures, who’d done it. (...)

By now, both chimpanzees were off the ground (as my picture shows, one had been toddling between the couple when I first saw the group), and I finally noticed that the man in the little quartet was black, and the woman white and blonde. I’d already recorded that fact with my eyes, I’m sure, but what it may have meant, or could mean, in a photograph, was something I hadn’t had the time or the consciousness to process.

Garry Winogrand, however, had obviously processed the fact: where I saw only the possibility for a joke that, at best, touched on the crazy-quilt nature of city life, you could say that Garry, by not so much seeing the group itself but instantaneously imagining a possible photograph of it, placed meaning, particularly as it might gather around the question of race, at the very center of what he was doing.

In other words, quite apart from whatever Sunday pleasure or notion of self-advertising had actually brought that couple together with those two animals, Garry’s quick mind construed from their innocent adjacency a picture (or the projection of one) that could suggest the improbable price that the two races, black and white, might have to pay by mixing together. He was speculating, of course, playing an artistic hunch, but a large and important enough one that he felt it was worth pushing his friend aside for. So he did what he had to do, and then, a moment later, I answered by making a picture of him standing by the same family group as they continued their stroll through the zoo. (...)"
Tod Papageorge, 2014

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- Papageorge, T. (2014). About a Photograph: New York, 1967, Garry Winogrand. Aesthetics of Theory in the Modern Era and Beyond, 2, via
- photographs by Garry Winogrand via and via and via

Saturday, 7 May 2022

Life Expectancy & Ethnicity

In Brazil, in 1950, the life expectancy at birth was 47 years for whites and 40 years for Afro-Brazilians. The seven-year gap remained unchanged fifty years later despite Brazilians experiencing improvement in life expectancy rates in the late 1990s (70 vor whites versus 63.5 years for Afro-Brazilians).

In Australia, life expectancy (based on 1996 data) of an Aboriginal person is twenty to twenty-five years less than that of a non-Aboriginal.

In the U.S., indigenous Americans and Alaskans have a life expectancy that is five years lower compared to the general population (overall population: 76.9 years, whites: 77.4 years, blacks: 71.8 years, indigenous: 71 years) (Torres Parodi, 2005).

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- Torres Parodi, C. (2005). Racism and health. In K. Boyle (ed.) Dimensions of Racism (67-81), via
- photograph by Garry Winogrand via

Monday, 2 May 2022

Quoting Bob Marley

"Prejudice is a chain, it can hold you. If you prejudice, you can't move, you keep prejudice for years. Never get nowhere with that."
Bob Marley

photograph of Bob Marley via

Friday, 29 April 2022

French, Italian, Polish or German? The Othered Disease.

If a disease is repugnant, it can only be foreign. And if sex is involved, "it's always somebody else who is the dirty, rotten scoundrel", preferably the enemy (via). When, in 1494, King Charles VIII of France invaded Naples, his army collapsed within a few months, not because of the Italian army but a "mysterious new disease" that killed his soldiers or left them weak and disfigured (via). Italian doctors called it the French disease, the French called it the Neapolitan disease. As it spread, it became known as the "French disease" in Germany, Scandinavia, Spain, Iceland, Crete, and Cyprus (via).
"French soldiers spread the disease across much of Europe, and then it moved into Africa and Asia. Many called it the French disease. The French called it the Italian disease. Arabs called it the Christian disease. Today, it is called syphilis." (via)

In England and Ireland, syphilis was named after two enemies of the English crown: the French or the Spanish disease, the latter being popular in Spain's enemies, such as Portugal, the Netherlands, and North African countries, but also Denmark. In Poland, it was the German disease, in Russia it went by the Polish disease. The furher away from Europe, the more these distinctions based on hostile attitudes blurred into one. In the Ottoman Empire and on the Indian subcontinent, syphilis simply became the European or Christian disease (via).

The “French disease” as the English long called it, is an infamously “othered” illness. In 2014 academics in Bucharest traced its linguistic history and found that, even as the English used to call it the French disease, the French called it the Neapolitan one. The othering didn’t stop there. The Russians called it Polish, the Poles called it German, the Germans called it French and the Danish called it Spanish. The Turks eschewed nationalism for sectarianism, calling it the “Christian disease”, while, as the researchers observed: “in Northern India, the Muslims blamed the Hindu for the outbreak of the affliction. However, the Hindu blamed the Muslims and in the end everyone blamed the Europeans.” (via)

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image of the amazing Annie Girardot and Philippe Noiret via

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

The forgotten victims in Africa's conflict zones

"We found that time and again older people were at risk of abuses during the armed conflict, including summary execution, arbitrary detentions and rape.… The reality of the war is that no one is spared and that older people remain ignored and invisible victims."
Bridget Sleap, Human Rights Watch

"Older people can be heightened or particular risk of abuse for a number of reasons. One of them is when they are unable to flee the fighting when it comes to their communities. Some choose to stay to protect their property or to protect their homes. Others are unable to run away, to escape the violence or sometimes they don’t have family members to support and help them flee."
Bridget Sleap, Human Rights Watch

"Older people must be included in the pre-conflict warning signs, in the pre-conflict arrangement, older people must be included in the discussion so that their interests are known to the community and also known to the warring parties… it's possible during the conflict the harm that happens to older people could be minimized."
Carole Agengo, HelpAge International

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Monday, 25 April 2022

Queen of Soho

"‘Excuse me, would you mind if I took your portrait?’ 
Yes ,you can. If you’re quick.’ 
Absolutely. I’m Rory by the way, what’s your name?’ 
‘Oh no, no we’re not doing that, you don’t need my name, just take the photo.’ 
‘No problem. Would you mind if you took a little step this way into the light?’ 
You don’t want me in the light, surely you must know that as a photographer?’ 
I didn’t argue my case for lighting, so I quickly shot the photo in the shade."

"Queen of Soho" was taken by Rory Langdon-Down, one of this year's Portrait of Humanity prize-winners.

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photograph via

Sunday, 24 April 2022

"... not a one-size-fits-all phenomenon."

"Sexism isn't a one-size-fits-all phenomenon. It doesn't happen to black and white women the same way."
Kimberle Williams Crenshaw


photograph by Joel Meyerowitz via

Friday, 22 April 2022

Golf in Society

The initiative "Golf in Society" has been developed to give people living with dementia access to golf clubs in their neigbhourhoods so they can either start or continue playing golf. The weekly sessions are found to be beneficial for those with dementia since they can be active, spend time outside, have some tea or lunch with others, gain confidence, and improve physical fitness. The programme is also good for carers who can create a network and provide peer support in a different setting. And, last but not least, family members find time for themselves while knowing that the person dear to them is having a good time (via).


photograph of Brian Barnes (1976) via

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

An amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture

“Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: 'You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. 

Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.”
Doris Lessing

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photograph by Joel Meyerowitz via

Monday, 18 April 2022

Sweet Snacks + Gender

Abstract: This paper reports a study of gender differences in the components of the Theory of Reasoned Action in relation to eating sweet snacks, and the role of these components in predicting sweet-snacking in women and men. Totals of 65 women and 64 men completed questionnaires assessing attitudes and behaviours towards eating sweet snacks. Women were more ambivalent towards eating sweet snacks than men, perceiving eating sweet snacks to be significantly less healthy (...) and more pleasant (...).


There were no statistically significant gender differences in outcome beliefs×evaluations, subjective norms, normative belief×motivation to comply, or in behavioural intention, although some gender differences were found within components. Women scored significantly higher (...) on restraint items from the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire, including those on snacking (...), but did not differ significantly from men on reported frequency of eating sweet snacks. There were gender differences in the predictive power of components of the Theory of Reasoned Action. Women's intentions to eat sweet snacks were predicted by perceived social pressure and attitudes towards sweet snacks. Men's intentions were only predicted significantly by attitudes. It is concluded that men's sweet-snacking is less influenced by social pressure than is women's.  (Grogan, Bell & Conner, 1997)

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- Grogan, S. C., Bell, R. & Conner, M. (1997). Eating Sweet Snacks: Gender Differences in Attitudes and Behaviour. Appetite, 28(1), 19-31, link
- photograph of Shelley Duvall, 1970 via

Friday, 15 April 2022

Human Library

The Human Library was launched in Denmark in 2000 by Ronni Abergel, his brother and two colleagues. Originally, it was an event that was open for eight hours a day for four days. Today, the organisation operates on six continents and hosts activities in more than eighty countries. A book is a person volunteering to represent a stigmatised groups - refugee, deafblind, HIV+, ADHD, PTSD, ... - sharing their stories and experiences, answering questions from readers who want to better understand. A special dialogue room is created in which people can talk who would otherwise never talk to each other, a room in which taboo topics can be discussed and stereotypes are challenged (via).

Some human books...

Deafblind: "I am not angry about my situation. I don't even get angry with cab drivers that refuse to pick me up because of my guide dog. But I think it important to give people a chance to understand what life looks like through my eyes."

Brain damaged: "Being allowed to explain what the world looks like through my eyes helps me feel better understood and I feel my readers benefit from the talk, despite my speech impediment."

"I left my childhood photos of a life I will never get back and I didn't have the choice to leave behind. I left a beautiful place that I called my home."

When there is war and conflict, the peaceful and wealthy countries of the world are called upon to come to the aid of the people fleeing the conflict areas. The latest figures from UNHCR show that almost 60 million people are displaced by war worldwide in 2014. That number has only gone up since. 

The stereotypes about the refugee are many. Most of them not so friendly and building on widespread assumptions that refugees are not really on the run but in fact migrants coming to seek work or social benefits. It is of concern that some believe that they are criminals and ran away because they did something illegal in their home country. As the number of refugees grow it is increasingly important to make available information about the conditions for refugees and the circumstances that they fled from. By publishing the refugee we help safeguard a nuanced voice and ensure that this stigmatized group is given an opportunity to be heard by those willing to ask, listen and learn. (literally via Human Library)

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photographs by Joel Meyerowitz via and via

Monday, 4 April 2022

A Curious Study on Gender, Touching One's Face and Subconscious Sniffing

According to a study carried out at the Weizmann Institute of Science, people shake hands to smell each other. Subjects were filmed to see how often they touched their own faces after shaking hands. Results showed that face-touching with the right hand increased by more than 100% after a handshake with a person of the same gender (shaking hands with someone of the opposite sex increased the likelihood to smell the left hand). 

In addition, the people observed did not just touch their faces but sniffed their hands ... subconsciously since sniffing openly is considered a taboo ... and, according to the researchers, to pick up chemical signals and find out more about the people around them (via and via).

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photograph by Vivian Maier via

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Gendered Islamophobia

Women expressing their religious identity by wearing a hijab are likely to become targets of Islamophobic attacks. Mustafa (2020) observes a normalisation and institutionalisation of gendered Islamophobia enhanced by European governments. In their attempt to liberate or save women they, in fact, oppress Muslim women and pave "the way for violence against them" since they identify the Islamic dress code as a symbol that is incompatible with the West. In the weeks following Boris Johnson's comparison of women wearing a burqa to "letterboxes" and "bank robbers", there was a 375% rise in Islamophobic attacks.


In the Netherlands, in 2015, 82% of the perpetrators of Islamophobic violence were men and 91% of the victims were Muslim women wearing a hijab or niqab. In Belgium, between 2012 and 2015, 63.6% of the victims of Islamophobic violence were women. In France (2017), 75% of victims of Islamophobia were women.

After the Brexit referendum results in 2016, hate crime incidents increased b 42% in the UK. Half of the incidents targeted visibly Musli women. Hate crimes against them rose by 300% in this period only. After the violent attacks in Paris and other parts in France in 2015, more women wearing covered clothing became targets of violence. Three years later, women still made up 70% of all victims of Islamophobic abuse in the country.

Muslim women are also more likely to become victims of hate crime and hate speech (offline and online) than Muslim men. They face greater discrimination when it comes to access to education, social services, health care, and employment. Some religious symbols, particularly the veil, are regardes as an important barrier for Muslim women when trying to access the labour market (Mustafa, 2020).

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- Mustafa, N. (2020). Muslim women don't need saving. Gendered Islamophobia in Europe. Amsterdam: tnt,link
- photograph by Marc Garanger via

Saturday, 19 March 2022

Me and My Bathtub

"When someone says, 'I'm not political,' I feel like what they're saying is, 'I only care about myself. In my bathtub. Me and my bathtub is what I care about.'"
Julianne Moore

photograph of Julianne Moore (Flaunt Magazine) via

Thursday, 17 March 2022

Male + Black + Tall = Increased Stereotype Threat

According to psychological research on height in men, tall men are associated with intelligence, health, success, physical attraction, are more likely to be hired, get promoted, make more money. The taller, the better... but only if you are white and already stereotyped as competent and intelligent. For Black men, who are generally negatively stereotyped and associated with gun, hostility, and aggression, height does not signal competence but rather threat. Interestingly, height does not increase threat for White men, nor does it increase competence for Black men (Hester & Gray, 2018).

In fact, tall Black men are judged as more threatening and receive disproportionate attention from police.
Results showed that cultural stereotypes of threat are increased by tallness more for Black targets than for White targets and, conversely, that cultural stereotypes of competence are increased by tallness more for White targets than for Black targets.
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- Hester, N. & Gray, K. (2018). For Black men, being tall increases threat stereotyping and police stops. Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, link
- photograph by Charles H. Traub via

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

The "Infidelity Gender Gap"

According to a YouGov study, 19% of individuals reported having sex with someone other than their partner. By gender these are 25% of men and 13% of women (via). Interestingly, the rates also differ by age and is highest among women in their 60s and men in their 70s and remains high in their 80s (via).

photograph by Charles H. Traub via

Monday, 14 March 2022

Racist Humour, "Just a Joke"

Laughter is social communication and enhances social affiliation among participants, social cooperation, social bonding, increases social affiliation and group formation. At the same time, humour and laughter can be used to marginalise and "other" groups and individuals by ridiculing and insulting them and reinforce an ethnocentric worldview. Humour can help popularise and spread ideas of ethnic superiority and inferiority. It can also challenge asymmetrical power relations in society.

Racist humour played a crucial role in reproducing white supremacy in the U.S. by using stereotypes. Blackface minstrel shows, for instance, were a popular source of entertainment that contributed to the inferioraistaion of blacks and cultivated a proslavery imagination. It also allowed working-class whites to feel superior despite their lack of power and status in society. They were poor and exploited but at least not black. Later, overt displays of racism in public were no longer socially acceptable. After the civil rights movement, racism was "no longer funny". (Perez, 2017)

Abstract: The article examines the links between humour and hatred - a topic that is often ignored by researchers of prejudice. The article studies three websites that present racist humour and display sympathies with the Ku Klux Klan. The analysis emphasizes the importance of examining the 'metadiscourse', which presents and justifies the humour, as much as studying the nature of the humour itself. The meta-discourse of the sites' disclaimers is studied in relation to the justification of a joke being 'just a joke'. It is shown that the extreme racist humour of the KKK is not just a joke, even in terms of its own meta-discourse of presentation. The meta-discourse also suggests that the extreme language of racist hatred is indicated a matter for enjoyment. The sites portray the imagining of extreme racist violence as a matter of humour and the ambivalence of their disclaimers is discussed. As such, it is suggested that there are integral links between extreme hatred and dehumanizing, violent humour. (Billig, 2001)

- Billig, M. (2001). Humor and hatred: the racist jokes of the Ku Klux Klan. Discourse & Society, 12(3), 267-289.
- Pérez, R. (2017). Racism without Hatred? Racis Humor and the Myth of "Colorblindness". Sociological Perspectives, link
- photographs by Charles H. Traub via and via

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Visual Ageism

In terms of diversity, media studies used to focus on the frequency women and ethnic minority groups are characterised and started developing an interest in age and ageism much later approaching ageism as what it is: an "asymmetric power structure based on age, a constructed justification of inequalities between age groups". 

Loos and Ivan (2018) introduced the concept of "visual ageism", the "social practice of visually underrepresenting older people or misrepresenting them in a prejudiced way." It "includes older adults being depicted in peripheral or minor roles without positive attributes; non-realistic, exaggerated, or distorted portraits of older people; and over-homogenized characterizations of older adults." (Loos & Ivan, 2018)

- Loos, E. & Ivan, L. (2018). Visual Ageism in the Media. Contemporary Perspectives on Ageism, 163-176, link
- photograph by Charles H. Traub via

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

John Coltrane, the Daily Struggles of a Black Musician Believing in Moving Forward Uniformly as a People

“Outside of the musical knowledge and exposure, Coltrane also apprenticed in the daily struggles of black musicians on the road. Segregation was a dominant factor in the majority of performance venues, as well as the surrounding geographical area. This determined where one could eat, use the bathroom, get gasoline, rent a hotel room, or even get a drink of water. And there was always the threat of racist police encounters. These cultural experiences were a part of his mentoring on the road and influenced the evolution of his conscious intent to use music as a force for goodness.”
Leonard Brown

Excerpts taken from an interview with John Coltrane's widow Alice Coltrane:

A lot was going on in the ’60s—black empowerment, civil rights, new jazz music was becoming the New Thing, which also had a political edge. How did John look upon all of that at the time—especially race (sic) politics? Was he with Dr. King or more with Malcolm [X]? 

He was very interested in the civil-rights movement. He appreciated both men from their different perspectives. He did see the unity in what they were trying to achieve, basically almost the same thing, taking different directions to reach that point of achievement.

He knew that Dr. Martin Luther King was an intelligent man, who would’ve probably found his quest in civil rights more horrible, more horrendous, by going through the system as a lawyer or a professor. John felt that [King] as a preacher could reach the heart of the people. And he felt that this was very good, that it was an asset, that he would be able to lead the people based on the spiritual sense instead of the civic, intellectual, legalistic. John felt if you can talk to their heart you’ll get their support, and you’ll get them to believe in what you’re doing.

About Malcolm, I know John had attended some of his talks that were in our area. Once he came back and I asked him, “How was the lecture?” and he said he thought it was superb. Different approaches to the same goal, telling the people [to] be wise, try to get some kind of economic freedom, be self-sufficient, depend on yourself, strengthen your family ties. Things like that, not even involved with religion, just basic areas of improvement so that you can make yourself a strong force for the good that needs to be achieved. He told me that he appreciated the way that when the really tough questions were asked from the audience, every one was answered with an intelligence which the people could comprehend.

I know that some musicians who were around at the time were more militant. How did John feel about that?

He would not be a part of it, and this is what many people wanted him to do. They’d say, “Why don’t you take your horn, use it as an instrument to rally people together, to awaken consciousness in these people to really stand and fight for their rights?” He just said, “That’s not the way for me to go with this music.” It was not the way for him, to take his music into a militant zone to try to stress a point. If anything, we saw him going up. I would imagine his philosophy would be closer to Martin Luther King Jr.: Let me try to reach your heart, your spirit and your soul, and then we can move forward uniformly as a people and accomplish great things.

He didn’t prefer violence to peace, and he was very disturbed by the consequences [of the riots in the mid-1960s] and all the people who were getting hurt in the rioting. I believe he called us once [when] he was out of town when those [riots] were happening. He was mainly on the phone with his mother, because she was with us at the time and she was quite upset about it. 

Alice Coltrane

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- photograph via

Thursday, 3 March 2022

The Gender Pension Gap

Worldwide, women receive lower pensions which makes them more vulnerable to poverty in old age. Findings show "a clear systematic and structural pension disadvantage for women" in almost all countries. Even now and even in the European Union, women have on average 30% lower retirement income than men. This gender pension gap ranges from 43.1% in Luxembourg to 1.1% in Estonia. Austria has the fourth highest one (38.7%) and a negative "top" position "despite an above-average economic performance per inhabitant and an above-average employment rate for women". Based on data of the 2017 pension access cohort, the gap calculated for Austria even reaches 42.3%.

6.2% of women in the European Union have no pension entitlement, in Austria the percentage of women affected is 18.4% (Mayrhuber & Mairhuber, 2020). However, things could also be different:
In the European Union 6.2% of female population age 65 to 74 have no pension entitlement at all. In Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden people of a certain age receive a universal pension benefit, so there are no differences in pension claims between men and women.

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- Mayrhuber, C & Mairhuber, I. (2020). The gender pension gap in Austria and Europe. Östereichische Gesellschaft für Europapolitik, link.
- photograph by Charles H. Traub via 

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Older men in contemporary discourses on ageing: absent bodies and invisible lives

Abstract: Contemporary discourses on ageing are essentially 'feminized', and as such report little on the experiences of older men. Living into late old age has become, and will continue to be, a normal phenomenon in our social worlds for both men and women. As a disadvantaged group, older women have attracted more attention than their older male counterparts. Yet this 'advantaged' older man may well be shackled by his gender role, and male gender socialization does impact upon men in later life. Older single men often have poorly developed social and family networks leaving them at a disadvantage. However, the masculinities of older men are conspicuously absent from most male gender studies. Rather than omitted, it is more that the dominant discourses of younger and middle-aged men are preserved. 

In turn, disability and disease do accompany old age yet disability has remained in the background and is, consequently, underdeveloped. This is not to say that disability represents the whole experience of health for older people, but it is clearly not an ageist fantasy. The phenomena of ageing, gender (including masculinity), and disability can be connected and consequently interpreted and understood by studying embodiment in old age. (Fleming, 1999)

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- Fleming, A. A. (1999). Older men in contemporary discourses on ageing: absent bodies and invisible lives. Nursing Inquiry, 6(1), 3-8.
- photograph by John Bulmer (France, 1966) via

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

Ladies turning into women. Figure skating in 2022.

Figure skating was the first sport in the Winter Olympics that allowed women to compete. That was  in 1924 and back then they competed under "ladies". Figure skating is also the last winter sport to let women compete as "women", not "ladies" ... for the first time in the Winter Olympics 2022 (via).

photograph (figure skater Peggy Fleming, Grenoble Olympics, 1968; photo Art Rickerby/Life Pictures/Shutterstock) via

Sunday, 27 February 2022

Designing cities for the mythical average person, erasing older people from urban planning

"Design of public spaces can exclude groups of people. Whyte (1980) calls this a drowning out of certain groups by designing for one group over another, or simply overlooking the needs of one group. Studies on gentrification have examined how the needs of people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds get dispplaced as investment is put into developing an area. This can also be felt by older people, expecially in many areas where older people have lived for a long time, but new younger families, perhaps from different backgrounds and cultures are encouraged into an area. Older people feel somewhat displaced and that their needs are unmet (Kelley, Dannefer, & Al Masarweh, 2018; Lewis, 2017; Phillipson, 2007); as Yarker (2019) notes, 'older people can often be 'erased' from urban planning and rendered invisible in their own communities' (p. 12). (...)

There is also the issue that if spaces are designed for other groups, then the space contains infrastructure that might not just be inappropriate for older people, but might actually physically or psychologically exclude older people. On some occasions, the exclusion is deliberate; increasing privatisation of space can design elements of the public realm to create more commercial interactions and comercial intersts of the landowner and tenants are placed above those of the individual. (...) An example might be a shopping centre or mall, to encourage use and spending, a sense of busyness is created, lack of benches and places to stop and dwell are found to drive people into shops and cafes and spend money. Ageist stereotypes may also work to keep older people out of certain public realm spaces that the landownder wants to keep looking young, vibrant and fresh. Across many western and developing cities, redevelopment and redesign of city centres, for example, are often geared around economic growth with the stereotypical view of a vibrant young wealthy workforce. Hence, homes and commercial space are at best developed for a mythical average person, a hypermobile worker with no dependents and at worst developed for the younger affluent wokrer, excluding the older person from living in that space." (Musselwhite, 2021)

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- Musselwhite, C. B. A. (2021). Designing Public Space for an Ageing Population: Improving Pedestrian Mobility for Older People. Emerald Publishing Limited.
- photograph by Vivian Maier via

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Save the date

The Vienna University of Economics and Business is organising "THE WU Gender and Diversity Conference 2022 Diversity, Diversity Management and Intersectionality in a Global Context - Dynamics and Realignments" where I will be presenting my paper: 
Woman or old? On the intersection of age and gender and the gaze of youth in Western feminism. 

24- 25 March, conference programme: link

Abstract: The concept of intersectionality is intertwined with the critique of white feminism’s tendency to treat women as one homogeneous group turning a blind eye to the impact of other identity factors and the complexity of discrimination. Gender on its own is regarded as an insufficient explanation of the discrimination women experience. While questioning the monolithic understanding of the feminine has become more common in debates, discourses are rather about heteronormative, cisgender, white ideas. Age is not part of the public discussion, academia shows little interest. 

This paper examines the intersection of age and gender. Both are primitive categories and rapidly evaluated, but they differ in weight. An old woman is more old than woman, it seems, which has implications. It makes her invisible as a woman – for the general public and for Western feminists – and less protected. When older women die from homicide, for instance, the cases are not treated as femicide but gender neutral elder abuse which is not followed by a strong emotional response, calls for action or hashtags. Western feminism mainly focuses on aspects like childcare, abortion, gender pay gap, objectification. Eldercare in the family is not identified as a feminist issue even though it disproportionally affects women, neither are lower pensions although women constitute a massive part of the elderly poor, just to mention two examples. While there is awareness concerning the male gaze, the gaze of youth is ignored. Finally, cultural aspects are discussed to better understand how deeply ingrained ageism is. 

Using an intersectional lens is a chance to make Western feminism more inclusive. A concept of the whole life is needed to make sure all women benefit from feminist advances, no matter what age. (Moazedi, 2022)

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- Moazedi, M. L. (2022). Woman or old? On the intersection of age and gender and the gaze of youth in Western feminism. THE WU Gender and Diversity Conference 2022 Diversity, Diversity Management and Intersectionality in a Global Context - Dynamics and Realignments, 24th to 25th of March, 2022.
- photograph by Garry Winogrand via

Monday, 21 February 2022

"Please don't create another old person." Yoko Ono's Open Letter

At my age I should be in a certain way. Please don’t stop me being the way I am. I don’t want to be old and sick like many others of my age. Please don’t create another old person. 

So even when I am rocking on the stage, they are totally hard on me. They demand the musical standard of a classic musician and attack me for the rhythm or some notes which are not precisely in tune. I am not concerned with what my voice is doing. If I was, what you experience would not be. My voice will be dead, once I am concerned about it, in the way you are asking me to. Go to a classical concert, if you want to hear a “trained” voice. What I escaped from when I was very, very young. I created my own niche. If I tried to present you classic music it won’t be what I created. You don’t get that way, with Iggy for instance, a grand rocker, who is creating his own brand of Rock, just as I am.  

Let me be free. Let me be me! Don’t make me old, with your thinking and words about how I should be. You don’t have to come to my shows. I am giving tremendous energy with my voice, because that is me. Get my energy or shut up. 

A critic of my show I did on my 80th birthday. You wanted me to be coming in at the same time on the top of the bars with the tracks. Well, I like to syncopate my voice to come in before or after the music notes, not right on top of the tracks, you see. That’s done in classical music, also. Remember? Yes. I don’t mind using what I learnt from classical music. 

Just let me be free, so music will come out as my voice in the way it wants. Otherwise, it will not be beautiful. My music is unworldlily beautiful. It is a mixture of all the generations I went through on this planet: when I was born seeing the world with wonderment, when I was a wise infant, full of original ideas with not too much intimidation yet, when I was a energetic and rebellious teenager, when i was a sexy twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties, seventies and now. Plus all the folk music of the world, the Voice of people, never intimidated – and plus some music coming from another planet or planets! I respect that, cherish it, and am always thankful of note by note that comes in me and out of me. 

Another criticism: That my short pants in my video BAD DANCER was very short. Was that bad? You are not criticizing other dancers whose pants are worn short. Do you have a separate standard for a person of my age even in the way our outfits are cut? 

I am afraid of just one thing. That those ageism criticism will finally influence me, I would succumb to it and get old. So I am covering my ears not to listen to you guys! Because dancing in the middle of an ageism society is a lonely trip. Don’t stone me! Let me be! Love me plenty for what I am!

Yoko Ono Lennon, 18th of February 2015

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photograph (AP/Allen Tannenbaum) via

Thursday, 17 February 2022

The Jena Declaration and the decency not to use the term "race"

Excerpts: From the beginning, the idea of human races and their existence has been linked to an evaluation of these supposed races. Indeed, the notion that different groups of people differ in value preceded supposedly scientific work on the subject. The primarily biological justification for defining groups of humans as races – for example based on the colour of their skin or eyes, or the shape of their skulls – has led to the persecution, enslavement and slaughter of millions of people. Even today, the term ‘race’ is still frequently used in connection with human groups. However, there is no biological basis for races, and there has never been one. The concept of race is the result of racism, not its prerequisite.

On 9 August 2019, we marked the 100th anniversary of the death of Ernst Haeckel, former professor in Jena, dubbed the ‘German Darwin’ and probably the best-known German zoologist and evolutionary biologist. With his supposedly scientific classification of human ‘races’ into a ‘family tree’, Ernst Haeckel, the founder of phylogenetics, made a fateful contribution to a form of racism that was seemingly based on science. The position of human groups in his tree of life was based on arbitrarily selected characteristics such as skin colour or hair structure, presented from a phylogenetic point of view. This resulted in these people being viewed in a particular sequence, which implied that some groups had higher or lower status on biological grounds than others.

(...) Despite, or maybe precisely because of the close connection between racism and the supposed existence of races, it is the duty of science and thus also of a scientific society such as the German Zoological Society to evaluate the possibility of human races being a reality. The question is whether races in general, and races of humans in particular, are a biological reality, or whether they are pure constructs of the human mind. For the influential taxonomist Ernst Mayr, the existence of human races was a ‘biological fact’ (Mayr 2002), at least before the colonial age. The justification for his view is still reflected in the common concept that human races correspond to ‘geographical types’ that we also find in other species and that are based on many criteria. An alternative to geographical types of humans that correspond to races did not seem possible to Mayr, although he came out clearly against any kind of racism.

For geographical races (or subspecies), Mayr generally emphasised the necessary ‘taxonomic difference’ between geographically separated populations of a species. This places the concept of ‘race’ somewhere between the concept of population (which due to its existence as a reproductive community, actually corresponds to an individual in the philosophy of science) and that of species. Today, this taxonomic difference is predominantly determined through genetic distances. However, determining which taxonomic difference or genetic differentiation would be sufficient to distinguish races or subspecies is completely arbitrary and thus also makes the concept of races/subspecies in biology purely a construct of the human mind. This does not mean that there is no genetic differentiation along a geographical gradient. However, the taxonomic evaluation of this differentiation (as race or subspecies, or not) is arbitrary. This is even more strongly the case for humans, where the greatest genetic differences are found within a population and not between populations. (...)

The division of people into races was and is first and foremost a social and political classification, followed and supported by an anthropological construct based on arbitrarily chosen characteristics such as hair and skin colour. This construct served – and still serves – to justify open and latent racism using supposed natural circumstances and thus to create a moral justification. (...)

The linking of features such as skin colour with characteristics or even supposedly genetically fixed personality traits and behaviours, as was done in the heyday of anthropological racism, has now been soundly refuted. To use such arguments today as seemingly scientific is both wrong and malicious. There is also no scientifically proven connection between intelligence and geographical origin, but there is a clear connection with social background. Here too, racism in the form of exclusion and discrimination creates supposed races.

However, racism continues to exist among people. In the 20th century, racial research, racial science and racial hygiene or eugenics, as seemingly scientific disciplines, were only some of the excesses of racist thinking and action.

Simply removing the word ‘race’ from our daily language will not prevent racism and intolerance. A feature of current forms of racism is precisely the tendency in far-right and xenophobic circles to avoid the term ‘race’. Racist thinking is perpetuated through terms such as selection, maintaining purity or ethnopluralism. However, the term ethnopluralism is nothing more than a new formulation of the ideas of apartheid. Designating ‘the Africans’ as a supposed threat to Europe and attributing certain biological characteristics are also in the direct tradition of the worst racism of our past. So, let us ensure that people are never again discriminated against on specious biological grounds and remind ourselves and others that it is racism that has created races and that zoology/anthropology has played an inglorious part in producing supposedly biological justifications. Today and in the future, not using the term race should be part of scientific decency.

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photograph by Garry Winogrand (1965) via

Sunday, 13 February 2022

World Radio Day

"Radio is a powerful medium for celebrating humanity in all its diversity and constitutes a platform for democratic discourse. At the global level, radio remains the most widely consumed medium. This unique ability to reach out the widest audience means radio can shape a society’s experience of diversity, stand as an arena for all voices to speak out, be represented and heard. Radio stations should serve diverse communities, offering a wide variety of programs, viewpoints and content, and reflect the diversity of audiences in their organizations and operations." UNESCO

photograph (Tony Blackburn, Stuart Henry, Ed "Stewpot" Stewart, John Peel, Dave Lee; Radio 1 first airing on 30 September 1967 with the inaugural disc "Flowers in the Rain") via

Thursday, 10 February 2022

Interprète. Jennifer Jackson. Inappropriate Behaviour.

"8 mature dancers from UK and Australia respond to a set of movements choreographed by myself as a student at Laban in 1987. These dancers are part of the primary research for the PhD thesis: Ageism and the Mature Dancer. They also form part of the creative practice for the PhD: 'Inappropriate Behaviour' - 8 short films of their responses to a set of movements where the dancers can choose to interpret, ignore, embellish, fragment - the choice is totally individual." Vimeo

Interprète - Jennifer Jackson - Inappropriate Behaviour from sonia york-pryce on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 8 February 2022


"When I’m in the UK, I’m a post-colonial subject. I have very clear ‘meaning’ on the street in London, because my relationship to British racism is a very direct and inescapable one. When my parents were in school in Nigeria, they were colonial subjects under British rule, second-class citizens under white supremacy. And so, my relationship to being in London is already defined by that. When I’m in Paris, it’s a version of the same thing. Even if I want to be anonymous on the street, for French people – for white French people – I have a meaning already. And, of course, in the US, I have an inescapable meaning too. I’m presumed to be either African or a black American. Each of those has a clear and fraught political meaning, and I have to participate politically in that meaning. Which means that there’s a certain kind of relaxation that I can never really engage in while in the US, what with the cops or the well-meaning liberals, or the racist right-wingers or the fellow black people in America who want me to be attentive to the struggles that are going on. All of which is, you know, fine. But I don’t want that to be my only experience of life.

And Switzerland? 

If I’m hiking in Valais in Switzerland and someone meets me on the hiking path, I think their first thought is, ‘Oh, here’s a hiker’. If I’m in a hotel in Lugano, people see that I’m black or I might be a bit unusual, sure, but they’re not thinking, ‘Here’s a post-colonial subject’, or ‘Here’s someone who’s moved to my country’. They’re probably thinking, ‘Here’s somebody who can afford to stay at this hotel’. Yes, you stand out, but the meaning of your standing out is not quite the meaning it has in other places. That’s my experience of the place. I’m sure it’s different for other people.

(...) What is this elsewhere that one is longing to be in? Part of the answer to this question, for me, is Switzerland. It is the place that, when I’m not there, I long to be there. But it is also a conceptual container for such longing. It is the object of the longing, but it’s a theoretical shape that I can use to think through the question of longing. I’m also thinking about farness in general, as a desirable, as a restorative. And that’s a farness that could, in theory, happen elsewhere as well. My years of revisiting Switzerland have been, I’d say, a lucky instance of putting that theory into practice. And now that I’ve put it into a book, who knows what will happen?"

Teju Cole

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photographs by Teju Cole via and via

Thursday, 3 February 2022

Eyes as Big as Plates

“We need to learn to see not just with Western eyes but with Islamic eyes and Inuit eyes, not just with human eyes but with golden-cheeked warbler eyes, coho salmon eyes, and polar bear eyes, and not even just with eyes at all but with the wild, barely articulate being of clouds and seas and rocks and trees and stars.”  Roy Scranton

"Eyes as Big as Plates" is a project launched by Karoline Hjorth and Riitta Ikonen. It began as "a play on characters from Nordic folklore" searching ways how modern humans belong to nature. People participating are fishermen, opera singers, artists, farmers, academics... In 2011, the artist duo started portraying seniors in Norway, Finland, France, UK, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Sweden, Japan, Greenland, the Czech Republic, the US and South Korea. The photographs show them wearing sculptures they create symbolising how they inhabit the landscape (via).

"As active participants in our contemporary society, these seniors encourage the rediscovery of a demographic group too often labelled as marginalized or even as a stereotypical cliché. It is in this light that the project aims to generate new perspectives on who we are and where we belong." (via)

photographs by Karoline Hjorth and Riitta Ikonnen via 

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

The Stop AAPI Hate Report

Stop AAPI Hate (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) received 3.795 reports from March 2020 to February 2021. The types of discrimination reported are verbal harassment (68.1%), shunning (20.5%), physical assault (11.1%), civil rights violations like e.g. workplace discrimination (8.5%), and online harassment (6.8%).

More findings of interest: Women report hate incidents 2.3 times more often than men, Chinese are the largest group to report experiencing hate, and businesses (35.4%) are the main site of discrimination, followed by public streets (25.3%), and public parks (9.8%) (Jeung et al., 2021).

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- Jeung, R., Yellow Horse, A., Popovic, T. & Lim, R. (2021). Stop AAPI Hate National Report, link
- photograph by Dorothea Lange via

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Feminism Ignoring Ageism

 "... we discussed the ageism that permeates our knowledge, our culture, and our daily lives. That this ageism appears among scholars should surprise no one. However, some might assume that those of a more critical bent, particularly feminist scholars, would be more aware of age-based oppression. 

Nevertheless, feminists are not necessarily any more attuned to ageism than are other scholars. Despite their attention to power relations, their work, for the most part, also ignores age relations. On those relatively rare occasions when they do mention age, they either avoid old age or fail to theorize age relations as a unique inequality. Indeed, age-based oppression is treated as a given, mentioned in a way that is meant to indicate some lovel of shared understanding that "we all know what that is" - a black box to be taken for granted rather than opened and understood. Such theories of inequality imply but never declare who benefits from the oppression faced by the old." (Calasanti & Slevin, 2001:187).

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- Calasanti, T. M. & Slevin, K. F. (2001). Gender, Social Inequalities, and Aging. Walnut Creek et al.: Altamira Press
- photograph by Diane Arbus via

Saturday, 22 January 2022

Disability. A byproduct of society.

“Limits on people's capacities to conduct activities that are essential to everyday life are imposed by structural and systemic barriers. These barriers are part of a social system that regards some bodies as "normal" and some as "other", rather than considering a broad range of bodies and possibilities, for example when designing a building or piece of furniture. This relegates people with disabilities to the status of lesser citizens because of their lack of access. Disability is a byproduct of a society which is organized around only certain bodies which are defined as "normal", in laws, education, institutions, and in popular culture.” 
Meg-John Barker

photograph by Richard Sandler via