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