Tuesday, 30 May 2023

Quoting Lena Horne

"(M)y and (Walter) White's concern was that in the period while I was waiting for Cabin in the Sky they would force me to play roles, as I have said, that most N*groes were forced to play in the movies at that time. It was not that I felt I was too good or too proud to play them. But Walter felt and I agreed with him, that since I had no history in the movies and therefore hand not been typcast ... it would be essential for me to try to establish a different kind of image for N*gro women."
Lena Horne (cited in Sim, 2006)

- Sim, Y. D. (2006). Women of Blaxploitation. How the Black Action Film Heroine Changed American Popular Culture. Jefferson & London: McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers.
- photograph of Lena Horne via

Sunday, 21 May 2023

Now I know what he means.

"You’re 80. Do you still have that fire to get right back behind the camera and get the next one going?"


"Got to. Got to. Yeah. I wish I could take a break for eight weeks and make a film at the same time [laughs]. The whole world has opened up to me, but it’s too late. It’s too late. I’m old. I read stuff. I see things. I want to tell stories, and there’s no more time. Kurosawa, when he got his Oscar, when George [Lucas] and Steven [Spielberg] gave it to him, he said, 'I’m only now beginning to see the possibility of what cinema could be, and it’s too late.' He was 83. At the time, I said, 'What does he mean?' Now I know what he means."

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photograph via

Monday, 15 May 2023

1940, 1958, 1964 vs Today

In 1940, 60% of employed Black women in the US worked as domestic servants. Today, the number is 2.2%, 60% hold so-called white-collar jobs.

In 1958, 44% of whites said they would move to a different neighbourhood, if a Black family became their neighbour. Today, the figure is 1%.

In 1964, 18% of whites claimed to have a Black friend. Today, 86% of whites say they have a Black friend while 87% of Blacks say they have white friends (via).

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photograph via

Sunday, 14 May 2023

Narrative images: South of the River

"Growing up in Britain as a child of immigrants, I would hide certain elements of my everyday existence. As an adult and a photographer, I actively seek out and champion the very things I obscured and disregarded as a youngster. From the multicultural melting pots of Southwark and Lewisham to the brutalist blocks and postwar council estates of Thamesmead, south-east London is home to some of the most ethnically and culturally diverse communities in Britain."

photograph by Nico Froehlich via

Saturday, 13 May 2023

Disney Movies, Gender Stereotypes, and a Mongolian Sample

In a survey carried out in 2020 at the National University of Mongolia, 500 Mongolian people aged 18 to 33 were asked questions to see how Disney films influenced "the personal view of modern nomads on images of gender". One of the questions was how Elsa (main character of Frozen) can turn her life into a perfect one. About 60% answered that Elsa would have to find true love, 33% thought a new adventure and challenges would be the right choice and 8.3% said that Elsa would need to govern her kingdom and make progress as a queen. 

According to the answers of the people, females’ stereotyped desire is to find true love and happy marriage disregarding individual’s talent and capacity. Disney films may have shown that the solution for young females to overcome difficulties is in finding a man as her protector. Seemingly, most of the Disney films such as the fairy-tales illustrated that the one and only aspiration and dream for females is finding a perfect man to marry. And for this, a feminine personality and attractive physical features (more often than not represented by White women) are conducive.

Another question regarded The Little Mermaid and its character Ursula. Almost 60% said they found her appearance unpleasant, 16.7% thought she was "super ugly". 74.8% agreed that her appearance made her more hateful. 

Different shapes and sizes of female roles in films maybe dedicated to highlight the contrast between evil and good by their looks. While Ariel is small, thin, and white, in contrast, Ursula is overweight, bigger, and purple. Thus, their appearances could express radical differences between the characterisation of Ariel and Ursula to the audience. Accordingly, Disney films may have been giving the message that unpleasant appearance is equal to an unpleasant personality thus reconfirming the existing stereotypes around the constructs of perfect beauty and body image. (Tergel Bold Erdene)

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photograph (Darhad Valley Nomadic Family by Jun Hwan Sung) via

Friday, 12 May 2023

Asylum Seekers vs Refugees vs War Refugees vs Economic Refugees

Language matters. In their study, Kotzur, Forsbach and Wagner (2017) asked university students to share their thoughts associated with the group labels "asylum seekers", "refugees", "war refugees" and "economic refugees": “When you hear the term [label], whom do you think of? Please write down everything that comes to your mind. Please also indicate where you think [label] come from and why they’ve come to Germany. To do so, please complete the following sentence: When I think of [label], I think of…”

Refugees were more often associated with fleeing due to war and the intention to escape from persecution than asylum seekers were. The results for war refugees mostly echoed the results for refugees. When it came to economic refugees, however, a different pattern emerged. They were significantly more often categorised as well educated and comparably little need of help and experiences of loss and trauma.
[…] It makes me angry that the majority of refugees are economic refugees and now share our wealth, and will not give anything back to the state in the future (asylum seekers condition)
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- Kotzur, P. F., Forsbach, N. & Wagner, U. (2017). Choose Your Words Wisely. Stereotypes, Emotions, and Action Tendencies Toward Fled People as a Function of the Group Label. hogrefe, link
- photograph by Magnum photographer Enri Canaj via

Thursday, 11 May 2023

Tony Heaton on the Work of Disabled Artists

Tony, your practice is widely established and your work is recognised internationally. However, the work by disabled artists is too often restricted to the community they represent and struggle to reach the mainstream art debate. Do you agree with this thought? If so, what are in your opinion the reasons of this phenomenon?

Well, perhaps the question is, why does the so-called ‘mainstream’ marginalise disabled artists and actually disabled people generally? Should we be forced to knock on those closed doors or should the ‘mainstream’ be opening up and looking beyond their elitist and frankly conservative narrow view of what is art and who makes it, and extending their intellect to engage with disabled artists and disability arts. If they did they would find some amazing work. Ultimately it's about power and rank, disabled people are marginalised and oppressed through poverty, lack of access to goods and services, limited access to transport and the built infrastructure and prejudice. The ‘mainstream’ were not interested in showing or collecting the work of disabled artists, this is the main reason that I initiated NDACA (National Disability Arts Collection and Archive), because if we as disabled people don't make it happen for ourselves then it won’t. NDACA will help to show and promote that history, a history that would have otherwise been lost because that work is not in ‘mainstream’ collections. The mainstream are also reluctant to help us into positions of power and rank, there are very few disabled people promoted onto decision-making boards or in arts institutions, this needs to change, but those with power are always reluctant to change, just as there is institutionalised racism there is an inherent ableism throughout society.

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photograph of Tony Heaton in front of the sculpture of a map of Great Britain made of wheelchair parts of one single NHS wheelchair (Great Britain form a Wheelchair, 1994), photo by Hilary Porter via

Wednesday, 10 May 2023

Driving Cessation and Health Outcomes in Older Adults

Abstract: Sixteen studies met the inclusion criteria. Driving cessation was reported to be associated with declines in general health and physical, social, and cognitive function and with greater risks of admission to long-term care facilities and mortality. A meta-analysis based on pooled data from five studies examining the association between driving cessation and depression revealed that driving cessation almost doubled the risk of depressive symptoms in older adults (summary odds ratio = 1.91, 95% confidence interval = 1.61-2.27). (Chihuri et al., 2016)

- Chihuri, s., Mielenz, T. J., DiMaggio, C. J., Betz, M. E., DiGuiseppi, C., Jones, V. C. & Li, G. (2016: Driving Cessation and Health Outcomes in Older Adults, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, link
- photograph (North Hollywood, 1970) via

Tuesday, 9 May 2023

Like a Big Tree

"Figuratively speaking, migration for me is like a big tree. The tree’s roots symbolize the common or shared reasons and motivations... People move to other countries dreaming of a better future for their children, escaping war, oppression, and violence."
Enri Canaj

photograph (Woman from Afghanistan sewing her friend’s dress. Second day after the big fire in Moria. Lesbos, Greece. 2020) by Magnum photographer Enri Canaj via

Monday, 8 May 2023

"Sounding Black": Speech Stereotypicality and Ethnic Stereotypes

Language is an important marker of social category and social category information can activate stereotypes which again depend heavily on the listener. In their first experiment, the authors of the study had participants listen to twenty audio recordings of Black North American (14) and Black British (6) speakers and rate how stereotypical they found them, guess the likely ethnicity and nationality, and indicate which adjectives (from a list of thirty adjectives) people would associate them with (e.g. athletic, criminal, lazy, poor, rhythmic, uneducated, unintelligent, loud, dirty, aggressive, inferior). 

In the second experiment, the sample listened to (weakly or strongly) stereotypical Black American speakers and was asked to choose one of two faces (weakly or strongly phenotypical) associated with the voice. Results showed that "speakers whose voices were rated as more highly stereotypical for Black Americans were more likely to be associated with stereotypes about Black Americans (Experiment 1) and with more stereotypically Black faces (Experiment 2)".

Given the interconnectivity between language, social categorization, and stereotypes, it is likely that individuals who “sound Black” are more likely to be identified as Black Americans and therefore more likely to be associated with stereotypes about the group. One way individuals may be thought to “sound Black” is through their use of African American Vernacular English (AAVE). AAVE is a non-standard dialect of American English closely associated with and spoken predominantly (but not only) by Black Americans (Cutler, 2003; Rickford, 1999). Often denigrated as slang or improper English, AAVE is in fact a valid language system, with regular phonological and grammatical features such as -ing dropping (e.g., “goin”’ vs. “going”), r-lessness (e.g., “fo”’ vs. “four”), negative concord (e.g., “He ain’t seen nothin”’), and the use of habitual be (e.g., “She be workin”’ indicates “She’s often working”) (Pullum, 1999; Thomas, 2007; see Jones, 2015 for more on regional variations in AAVE). Like speakers of other non-standard dialects, speakers of AAVE are seen less favorably than speakers of the more standard General American English in most contexts (Payne et al., 2000; Koch et al., 2001; Dent, 2004; Rodriguez et al., 2004; Billings, 2005). Speakers of AAVE are seen as less competent, less sociable, less professional, less educated, and of poorer character than speakers of more standard American English (Payne et al., 2000; Koch et al., 2001; Dent, 2004; Billings, 2005). As with the Southern U.S. dialect, many of the traits associated with AAVE are also associated with its dominant speakers: Black Americans (Devine and Elliot, 1995; Maddox and Gray, 2002). For instance, individuals show a greater implicit association between weapons and AAVE speakers than more standard speakers (Rosen, 2017), suggesting that stereotypes about criminality and violence, often associated with Black Americans, are also linked to AAVE speakers. Further, AAVE’s close association with Black Americans has also led to linguistic profiling, or discrimination against those who speak a certain way due to their assumed membership in a social group. Discriminating against someone for their way of speaking can allow for anti-Black bias to circumvent legal protections, leading to worse outcomes and fewer opportunities in areas such as housing for those who use AAVE and are assumed to be Black (Purnell et al., 1999; Massey and Lundy, 2001).

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- Kurinec, C. A. & Weaver III, C. A. (2021). Frontiers in Psychology, 12, link
- photograph by John H. White (Chicago, Illinois, August 1973, copyright Documerica Photography Project), via

Friday, 5 May 2023

Quoting Richard Attenborough

"I very, very, very rarely lose my temper. I do get cross sometimes when encountering something that I feel is improper, that I feel is lacking in justice and equity, and this all sounds very pompous and over the top - but these are the things that really upset me: intolerance, prejudice etc. I suppose in more mundane matters, I'm impatient."

photograph (Young Winston, 1972) via

Thursday, 4 May 2023

"I rather abstain from going places than use a cane." Mobility, stigma and design.

People with difficulties walking benefit from mobility aids since they reduce fall risk and increase confidence and autonomy. Yet, many are reluctant to use the equipment due to social pressures and perceived stigma. Despite appreciating the benefits, the independence and control over activities, the negative associations with ageing and physical decline keep people from using mobility aids. 

In addition, the lack of fasionable design - or rather, the stigma added by designing them the way they look, i.e., medical-appearing devices shouting "I need help" - has an enormous impact on the decision not to use them. Some non-device users say that they would be rather dead than using a device. At the same time, a sporty appearance and colourful design make them more acceptable since people "would feel cool" and not "old" using them (Resnik et al., 2009).

On Sunday, the children were going to the park…but just knowing that I had to use the cane.. I said: “No, I will stay home …” When they were there, they were all thinking: “Mom did not come to the park because of the cane …and they even said to me that they had this cart that handicapped people use to get around. We could have gotten in one of them and be riding it …(Device-user, Hispanic woman)

Where do you go from here? There’s not many places you’re gonna go. …That’s the thing that kind of scares you. And then you look at this (the cane), like I said, I’m sure it’s good for you and I’m sure one day I’m going to have to have it. And if I needed it tomorrow for my back, I would use it if I had to because my back really is in pain. But it’s like you’re at the last stage. This is it. There’s no place else to go from here but 6-feet under. (Non-device user, Black woman)

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- Resnik, L, Allen, S., Isenstadt, D., Wasserman, M. & Iezzoni, L. (2009). Perspectives on Use of Mobility Aids in a Diverse Population of Seniors: Implications for Intervention. Disability and Health Journal, 2(2), 77-85.
- photograph by Andy Sweet via

Wednesday, 3 May 2023

Awareness Raising Interventions: Normative vs Informational

In their study, Boring and Philippe (2021) tested the impact of two types of awareness-raising campaigns: one (informational) with information to generate bias awareness vs one (normative) without information. The experiment was conducted in a French university where students were sent two different emails during the evaluation period. In one email, students were asked to be careful not to discriminate against their female teachers when evaluating them. In the other email, information (from a study on gender bias in scores in previous years at that university pointing out that male students tended to be biased in favour of male teachers) was added to trigger bias consciousness. 

Results showed that, in contrast to the normative treatment, the informational treatment had a significant impact on reducing bias. In addition, the informational treatment seemed to have a spillover effect, i.e., an impact on both students who received the email and on those who did not receive the email: "Anecdotal evidence suggests that this email sparked conversations between students within campuses, de facto treating other students."
Difference-in-difference analyses by teacher gender indicate that the purely normative treatment had no significant impact on reducing biases in SET scores. However, the informational treatment significantly reduced the gender gap in SET scores, by increasing the scores of female teachers. Overall satisfaction scores for female teachers increased by about 0.30 points (between 0.08 and 0.52 for the confidence interval at 5%), which represents around 30% of a standard error. The informational treatment did not have a significant impact on the scores of male teachers. These results are confirmed by a triple-difference analysis, in which we include all campuses and teachers. In all robustness checks, the informational treatment remains significant: when we compare campuses separately, when we look at men and women separately within each campus, and when we use the year before the experiment as control. Each strategy rests on slightly different hypotheses, but results remain consistent.

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- Boring, A. & Philippe, A. (2021). Reducing discrimination in the field: Evidence from an awareness raising intervention targeting gender biases in student evaluations of teaching. Journal of Public Economics, 193, link 
- photograph (students at University of Hartford, 1970s) via

Tuesday, 2 May 2023

A Proclamation on Older Americans Month, 2023

"On this 60th anniversary of Older Americans Month, we honor our Nation’s senior citizens, whose lifetimes of hard work, devotion to family, and commitment to community have laid the foundation for the country we are today. We have a rock-solid responsibility to ensure our Nation’s seniors can age with dignity and financial security.

When President John F. Kennedy issued the first proclamation recognizing older Americans, approximately a third of seniors lived in poverty, and close to half were without health insurance. Our Nation rallied together to confront this crisis, passing Medicare to deliver affordable, quality health care to our seniors; strengthening Social Security, the bedrock of American retirement; and ultimately raising so many seniors out of poverty. We extended lifespans and provided critical breathing room to Americans who had worked hard their whole lives. But there is still more work to do to ensure that no senior lies in bed at night wondering how they are going to pay for lifesaving drugs, put food on the table, or support their children and grandchildren. (...)

We must keep building on this progress. Older Americans should be able to live, work, and participate in their communities with dignity. That’s why I recently signed an Executive Order on Increasing Access to High-Quality Care and Supporting Caregivers. I call on the Congress to expand on the investments we have already made to help seniors receive care in their own homes and to support family caregivers — including aging caregivers — and the home care workers who perform selfless work every day. I also call on the Congress to expand access to nutrition counseling for seniors and others with Medicare coverage, to increase funding for nutrition services for older adults, and to pilot coverage of medically tailored meals in Medicare — actions that are also part of my Administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. We need to improve the quality and safety of nursing homes and protect vulnerable residents and the health care heroes who care for them. And we must keep pushing to end cancer as we know it and win the fight against other deadly diseases that deny us time with those we love most. 

Older Americans are the pillars of our community, and we owe it to them to value their wisdom, celebrate their contributions, and champion their well-being. To older Americans across this Nation, we will always support you. (...)"

Joe Biden

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photograph by Andy Sweet via

Wednesday, 19 April 2023

Individualism, Respect and Competence vs Collectivism, Respect and Friendliness

Abstract: Negative views of ageing can lower respect for older adults.Yet, negative views of ageing vary across cultures. Asian collectivistic cultures are assumed to respect older adults more than Western individualistic cultures do. However, recent empirical findings on this cross-cultural comparison have suggested that negative attitudes toward older people are also prevalent, or even more evident in collectivistic cultures than individualistic cultures. Using data from the sixth wave of the World Values Survey, a dataset consisting of 75,650 individuals from 56 societies, we employed Linear Mixed Modeling to test the association between perceived competence of older adults and respect towards them. We also explored and the moderating role of culture on this association. 

In the present study, perceived competence of older adults was indexed as a proportional score representing the relative perception of competence (i.e. relative competence perception = competence / (competence + friendliness). Results showed that individuals tended to respect older adults who were more competent or friendly. Furthermore, individuals who were more individualistic respected older adults more when older adults were perceived to be more competent relative to friendly. This pattern was reversed in individuals who were less individualistic. These findings suggest that whether people who differ on personal individualistic values respect older adults depends on whether older adults are perceived to be competent versus friendly. Findings from this study highlight the importance of changing cultural values on ageism attitudes, especially the potential effects of rising individualism on negative attitudes of ageing in Asia. (Chen & Fung, 2020)

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- Chen, A. X. & Fung, H. (2020). Individualism Increases the Influence of Perceived Competence of Older Adults on Attitudes Toward Them. Innovation in Aging, 4(1), link
- photograph by Andy Sweet (1953-1982) via

Saturday, 15 April 2023

The Empathy for Pain on Black Skin

Empathy means being able to understand the thoughts and feelings ... including pain ... of other people and is fundamental in interpersonal life. Empirical research shows automatic responses to the pain of others, reactions that are affected by personality, social relationship with the target, ingroup vs outgroup social categorisation, familiarity for the target, perceived similarity, gender, age, and skin colour.

In their study, Forgiarini et al. examined people's reactions (skin conductance tests) to others' pain depending on skin colour by showing actors experiencing the painful stimuli.

The present research is aimed at providing experimental evidence that automatic, physiological reactions to other people's pain strongly depends on the race of the person in pain, such that pain received by members of other racial groups elicits a much weaker reaction compared with the pain suffered by members of the same group. By presenting participants with a series of video clips, in two experiments we tested whether the reaction to pain of Caucasian (Italian) observers was influenced by the race (Caucasian, Asian, or African) of the person in pain. In the second study we replicate this finding and show that the moderation of empathy is correlated with the individual implicit racial biases.

Results showed that, in general, participants showed significantly greater reactions to painful stimuli than to harmless stimuli. Interestingly, the effect was moderated by the actor's skin colour. Empathic reactios for actors with white skin colour were significantly greater than for actors with black skin colour.

Taken together our findings demonstrate a clear pattern of responses to pain: the extent to which Caucasian observers share the pain experience of other people is affected by the race of the person in pain (Figure ​(Figure4A).4A). Before the stimulus onset, the SCR values show stochastic variations. After observing a painful stimulus administered to the target person, participants’ SCR values increase more for Caucasian targets than for target people of the other races, and the least for African targets. (Forgiarini, Gallucci & Maravita, 2011)

 Possible explanations (literally via):

The racial empathy gap helps explain disparities in everything from pain management to the criminal justice system. But the problem isn’t just that people disregard the pain of black people. It’s somehow even worse. The problem is that the pain isn’t even felt.

A recent study shows that people, including medical personnel, assume black people feel less pain than white people. The researchers asked participants to rate how much pain they would feel in 18 common scenarios. The participants rated experiences such as stubbing a toe or getting shampoo in their eyes on a four-point scale (where 1 is “not painful” and 4 is “extremely painful”). Then they rated how another person (a randomly assigned photo of an experimental “target”) would feel in the same situations. Sometimes the target was white, sometimes black. In each experiment, the researchers found that white participants, black participants, and nurses and nursing students assumed that blacks felt less pain than whites.

But the researchers did not believe racial prejudice was entirely to blame. After all, black participants also displayed an empathy gap toward other blacks. What could possibly be the explanation for why black people’s pain is underestimated?

It turns out assumptions about what it means to be black—in terms of social status and hardship—may be behind the bias. In additional experiments, the researchers studied participants’ assumptions about adversity and privilege. The more privilege assumed of the target, the more pain the participants perceived. Conversely, the more hardship assumed, the less pain perceived. The researchers concluded that “the present work finds that people assume that, relative to whites, blacks feel less pain because they have faced more hardship.”

This gives us some insight into how racial disparities are created—and how they are sustained. First, there is an underlying belief that there is a single black experience of the world. Because this belief assumes blacks are already hardened by racism, people believe black people are less sensitive to pain. Because they are believed to be less sensitive to pain, black people are forced to endure more pain.

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- Forgiarini, M., Gallucci, M. & Maravita, A. (2011). Racism and the Empathy for Pain on Our Skin. Frontiers in Psychology, link
- photograph by John J. White (Chicago, 1973, George Westinghouse High School) via

Friday, 14 April 2023

"(...) where aging parents find orphans in their living children."

"Aging presents itself as a social diagnosis to people who reach their 60s. The symbolic representation of old age and subjective relations seem to lead to social and emotional isolation. In families there is a clear divide between grandparents and their grandchildren, as well as elderly parents and their children. We live in a time where aging parents find orphans in their living children. 

The divide between those who don’t wish to be a burden, in one side, and those who do not wish to be burdened in another is a new family setting. Abandoned, therefore, elderly people lose all status they built through life. If human beings are social beings it is in old age that, sadly, it can be noted how affection or affective or sympathetic relationships become something difficult, as though the elderly didn’t have the right to live life with affection or tenderness." (Vilhena Novaes de et al., 2018)

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- Vilhena Novaes de, J., Barreto, A., Madureira, B. & Vilhena de, J. (2018). Being old in the consumption society: body, media and social representation. Gerontology & Geriatrics, 3(2), 188-194.
- photograph by Martin Parr via

Thursday, 13 April 2023

Connected by Generations. By Kathleen Woodward.

"I was 10 and on vacation with my father's parents. My grandfather stayed behind (he always did) while my grandmother and I went down to the beach. It was too cold to swim, it was our first day, and so we walked along the water's edge to the rocks at the far end of the shore. I remember climbing those rocks for hours. What we had forgotten, of course, was the deceptive coolness of the sun. We returned to the hotel, our skin painfully, desperately burned. We could put nothing against our bodies. Not a single sheet. We lay still and naked on the twin beds, complaining, laughing, talking. Two twinned, different, sunburned bodies - the body of a 10-year old girl and the body of a 62-year-old woman. 

To my mind's retrospective eye it is crucial that this scene is not a story of the mother and the daughter, a story whose psychoanalytic plot revolves around identification and separation, intimacy and distance (...). Instead it is a story of an older woman (surely a missing person in psychoanalysis) and a young girl who are separated by some fifty years. Yet I do not want to say that the two of them are divided by generations. Rather, they are somehow connected by them." (Woodward , 1995:97)

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- Woodward, K. (1995). Tribute to the Older Woman. Psychoanalysis, feminism, and ageism. in M. Featherstone and A. Wernick (eds) Images of Aging: Cultural Representations of Later Life, pp. 79-96. London: Routledge.
- photograph by Micheal Parr via

Sunday, 26 March 2023

Thursday, 23 March 2023

Redefining the elderly as aged 75 years and older: Proposal from the Joint Committee of Japan Gerontological Society and the Japan Geriatrics Society

In many countries, including Japan, the elderly are defined as having a chronological age of 65 years or older. However, there is no clear medical or biological evidence to support this definition. Recently, this definition of the elderly has come to not match the current situation in Japan, although there are individual differences in the elderly. 

Many of the elderly, especially aged those younger than 75 years, are still robust and active. Many people feel hesitant to treat them as elderly, and many of them feel uncomfortable being treated as elderly. Based on these reasons, in 2013, the Japan Gerontological Society and the Japan Geriatrics Society launched a joint committee to reconsider the definition of the elderly, and discussed the definition of the elderly from various aspects for 3 years. As a result of analyzing various data on the physical and psychological health of the elderly in recent years, a phenomenon of “rejuvenation” has been seen in which the appearance of changes in physical function as a result of aging, including gait speed and grip strength (Fig. 1), have been delayed by 5–10 years among the elderly at present compared with 10–20 years ago.1 Even among those aged 65 years or older who have been regarded as elderly, especially the young-old aged 65–74 years, mental and physical health is well maintained, and the majority of them are capable of taking part in active social activities. Furthermore, according to the results of various awareness surveys, the opinion against recognizing those aged 65 years or older as elderly is generally gaining strength in society as well (Fig. 2).2 According to the survey carried out by the Cabinet Office of the Japanese Government, many people think that those aged over 70 or 75 years should be considered elderly.2 Therefore, our joint committee would like to propose a classification of people aged over 65 years as follows.

Aged from 65 to 74 years: pre-old age 
Aged over 75 years: old age

In addition, people aged over 90 years can be classified as oldest-old or super-old. 

This definition mainly takes into consideration the aging situation of developed countries, but we believe that if the extension of life expectancy and “rejuvenation” phenomenon spreads globally, it is a concept that will be globally accepted. In contrast, with the global extension of life expectancy, it is appropriate to think of those aged over 90 years who have surpassed the average life expectancy as oldest-old/super-old according to the previous definition.  

The significance of re-examining the definition and classification of the elderly is: (i) to consider the elderly according to the previous definition as motivated supporters of society once again; and (ii) to create an upcoming super-aged society with brightness and vitality. However, the trend towards improved physical ability in the elderly is not guaranteed to continue into the future, indicating the need to educate the next generation on the promotion of health once again. As for policy implication, our proposal might lead to the revision of social security policy, because many pre-old people can contribute to productivity and reduce the socioeconomic burden of the younger generation. However, we would like to emphasize that this proposal does not intend to provide a political basis for shrinking social welfare for pre-old and old people. 

We hope that our proposal will contribute to the realization of our citizens’ desire to construct a bright, productive, healthy and long-living society. (Ouchi et al., 2017, literally)

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- Yasuyoshi Ouchi, Hiromi Rakugi, Hidenori Arai, Masahiro Akishita, Hideki Ito, Kenji Toba, Ichiro Kai, 2017, on behalf of the Joint Committee of Japan Gerontological Society (JGLS) and Japan Geriatrics Society (JGS) on the definition and classification of the elderly, link
- photograph Greg Girard (Tokyo, 1979, two school girls) via

Monday, 20 March 2023

The Ageing Body of an Actor and the Only Answer to the Question: "Bothered by the required nudity?"

“It didn’t matter to me because it’s the only body I’ve got. At least it was a reality. An aging body, to people who are not old, this is what’s going to happen to you. So don’t get too smart about it.” 

photographs by Brian Duffy via

Friday, 17 March 2023

"Sad to be at a stage in your life where you have to play 'old people'?"

“The only alternative to playing old people is playing dead people. I’ll pick elderly people. I have three grandchildren and I live for them. But also, I remember, I once read a script and I sent the script back [to the producer] saying the part was too small. He sent it back to me saying, ‘I did not want you to read the lover. I wanted you to read the father.’ And that’s when my career changed. I suddenly realized I wasn’t going to get the girl anymore. But I was going to get the part, and I really did get some parts.” 
Michael Caine

photograph via

Thursday, 16 March 2023

Quoting Paul Robeson

"Here we were born and here we will stay." 
Paul Robeson (1898-1976)

"Well, I am the son of an emancipated slave and the stories of old father are vivid on the tablets of my memory." 

"My father was a slave and my people died to build this country and I am going to stay here and have a part of it just like you." 

"This United States Government should go down to Mississippi and protect my people. That is what should happen." 

"To fight for participation in the forward march of humanity." 

"The history of the capitalist era is characterized by the degradation of my people." 

"I am being tried for fighting for the right of my people." 

"I've learned that my people are not the only ones oppressed." 

"I am here because I am opposing the Neo-Fascist cause, which I see arising here in these committees." 

"As an artist, I come to sing, but as a citizen, I will always speak for peace, and no one can silence me in this." 

"I do not hesitate one second to state clearly and unmistakably: I belong to the American resistance movement which fights against American imperialism."

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photograph via

Tuesday, 7 March 2023

Demarcating "Old Age"

"Old age" is what is defined as "old age" and the perception very much depends on the age of the persons asked. In a study, participants (n=300, 150 men and 150 women, mean age 58.8) were interviewed using a quetionnaire on the age perceived as old. 

According to the sample, 73.7 years is the lower bound of "old age" (answers ranged from 45 to 100 years). A closer look at the participants' age shows an impact their age had on their definition: Participants under 65 reported 70.5 years to be the beginning of old age while participants over 65 marked 77.4 as the beginning of old age - a difference of almost 7 years. In other words, the older a particpant, the later the beginning of old age. 

Men perceived old age 3 years before women and those reporting good health perceived it 3.9 years earlier than those with excellent health. In fact, health deterioration was "the most reported factor in the perception of old age" (Daignault, Wassef & Nguyen, 2021).

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- Daignault, M., Wassef, A. & Nguyen, Q. D. (2021). How old is old? Identifying a chronological age and factors related with the perception of old age. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 69(11), 3330-3333.
- photograph by the great Vivian Maier via

Tuesday, 21 February 2023

The Child Opportunity Index

The Child Opportunity Index (COI) was developed in 2014 to measure and map "the quality of resources and conditions that matter for children to develop in a healthy way" in the neighbourhoods they grow up, and to spark conversations about inequality and encourage actions to increase equity. In 2020, COI 2.0 was launched including updated data (via) from 29 neighbourhood-level indicators covering three domains: education (quality and access to early childhood education, social resources related to educational achievement), health and environment (access to healthy food and green space, pollution from industry, exposure to extreme heat), social and economic domain.

Good schools, parks, playgrounds, healthy food, clean air, safe housing, health care are some aspects crucial for children to become healthy adults. In the United States, many children live in these "high opportunity" neighbourhoods that provide access to the conditions mentioned before. Many, however, live in "low opportunity" neighbourhoods, many of these "many" being Black, Hispanic and Native American children (via).

For example, (...) in the Milwaukee metro the typical White child enjoys a neighborhood with a Child Opportunity Score of 85, while the typical Black child lives in a neighborhood with a score of only 6. As another point of comparison, this racial gap in Milwaukee represents about four opportunity levels (the maximum possible): the typical Black child lives in a very low-opportunity neighborhood, while the typical White child lives in a very high-opportunity neighborhood. (via)

As of 2017...

While only 9 percent of white children live in the 20 percent of neighborhoods ranked as lowest in opportunity, 32 percent of Hispanic and 40 percent of black children live in such neighborhoods. These disparities remain after controlling for children’s own poverty status. Looking just at poor children, 22 percent of white children live in the 20 percent of neighborhoods ranked as lowest in opportunity, but 45 percent of Hispanic and 57 percent of black children live in such neighborhoods (...). As in our analysis of neighborhoods by poverty status, we find that racial/ethnic inequities in neighborhood opportunities for children are larger in metro areas with higher levels of segregation. (McArdle & Acevedo-Garcia, 2017:5)

Summing up... 

Segregation is not benign. The neighborhoods where children live and grow are both separate and greatly unequal along racial/ethnic lines in ways that have profound impacts on opportunities for healthy child development and wellbeing. The differences in neighborhood characteristics and opportunities between racial/ethnic groups are dramatic not just on average, but for large majorities of their populations. (McArdle & Acevedo-Garcia, 2017:4)

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- McArdle, N. & Acevedo-Garcia, D. (2017). Consequences of Segregation for Children's Opportunity and Wellbeing; via
- photograph by Gordon Parks (Alabama, 1956) via and via

Monday, 20 February 2023

Diagnosing Alzheimer's Disease: Black vs White Patients

In the U.S., Black Americans are about 1.5 to 2 times more likely to develop Alzheimer's or related dementias than whites are. Nevertheless, fewer Black than white Americans are diagnosed with Alzheimer's or related dementias. In a study carried out by Lennon et al. (2022), 15 years (ranging from 2005 to 2020) of data on 5.700 Black and 31.225 white participants were tracked. While 36.1% of white participants were diagnosed with Alzheimer's, only 26.8% of Black participants received the diagnosis. Relative to white participants, Black participants had 35% lower odds of having the diagnosis at the initial visit (via).

Black study participants showed higher rates concerning cognitive impairment (particularly processing speed, language, executive function) than white participants, higher rates of hypertension and diabetes - in other words, more potential risk factors for Alzheimer's. In addition, they were twice as likely to experience delusions and hallucinations and generally more likely to show symptoms such as abnormal sleep, appetite or eating changes, irritability, agitation or aggression.

According to the research team, the results are further evidence that - compared to white patients - Black patients usually need more severe clinical presentations to receive a diagnosis of dementia from physicians. The results are backed by the tendency found in numerous studies showing that Black individuals are only diagnosed with Alzheimer's or related dementias when the disease process is more advanced.

Apart from the differences in diagnostic thresholds applied by providers, the scientists believe that these trends are partly due to social attitudes within Black communities in which memory problems are viewed as a normal part of ageing and medical treatment is only sought when neuropsychiatric symptoms (hallucinations, delusions, personality changes) are encountered. 

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- Lennon, J. C., Aita, S. L., Del Bene, V. A., Rhoads, T., Resch, Z. J., Eloi, J. M. Walker, K. A. (2022). Black and White individuals differ in dementia prevalence, risk factors, and symptomatic presentation. Alzheimer's & Dementia, The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association, 18(8), 1461-1471.
- photograph by Gordon Parks via

Friday, 17 February 2023

Quoting Matilda Joslyn Gage

"The women of today are the thoughts of their mothers and grandmothers, embodied and made alive. They are active, capable, determined and bound to win. They have one-thousand generations back of them… Millions of women dead and gone are speaking through us today."

photograph by Reg Innell (1970, Women's liberation demonstration at Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto) via

Monday, 13 February 2023

Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky's Frankfurt Kitchen

"They thought that I would starve to death. Nobody could imagine hiring a woman to build a house in 1916 — not even myself."

Schütte-Lihotzky (1897-2000) was born in Vienna and became the first female student of the so-called Kunstgewerbeschule, now known as the University of Applied Arts Vienna. As a student she worked on projects on affordable housing for the working class and decided to dedicate her career to reducing some burdens through efficient residential design. In an early project of hers, she designed flats for single, working women. 

When the social housing development programme "New Frankfurt" was launched in the German city of Frankfurt, Schütte-Lihotzky was invited to join - which she did creating her magnum opus, the first fitted kitchen, the "Frankfurt Kitchen" (aged 101, she said: "If I had known that everyone would keep talking about nothing else, I would never have built that damn kitchen!"). With this kitchen she aimed to make life easier for those (mainly women) using it. At the time, kitchens in working-class housing were part of the living room which often also served as a bedroom. The separated kitchen was small but efficient, the efficiency was drawn from kitchens in scientific laboratories and railway cars. The design was also based on interviews with housewives and time-motion studies of their work to reduce the number of steps needed to be taken between different tasks. About 10.000 of these kitchens were built in Frankfurt alone. Later, feminists linked Schütte-Lihotzky with the subjugation of women by the kitchen. Schütte-Lihotzky, however, wanted to reduce the hours and burden of women's unpaid labour at home: 
"I was convinced that the economic independence and self-realization of women would be a common good, and that therefore the further rationalization of household labor was imperative."

Schütte-Lihotzky was an ardent antifascist who joined the resistance against the Nazis. She was imprisoned in 1941 and sentenced to death but was lucky and returned to Vienna after the liberation in 1945 (via).

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photographs of Schütte-Lihotzky in her home via and via and via

Monday, 30 January 2023

Becoming "The" Ernst Haas

Ernst Haas was born in Vienna in 1921. As a child, he decided to become a painter, however, he was drafted into the military for two years after the Anschluss of Austria to the German Reich in 1938. When returning to Vienna after his service, he entered medical school which he was forced to leave after one year of study because of his Jewish ancestry (via).

His father was an amateur photographer. After his death in 1940, Haas started printing his father's negatives teaching himself technical aspects of photography and developing an interest in the creative ones. In photography, he saw the chance to combine his two goals, i.e. becoming an explorer and a painter (via). Haas, in fact, became an early master of colour photography, a member of Magnum, the man behind the iconic photograph of the Marlboro Man, and much more (via).

photographs by Ernst Haas via and via and via

Thursday, 26 January 2023

The Impact of Wearing Finger Rings on Symptoms of Dementia

In a study, seven female Japanese dementia (Alzheimer's disease) patients (two discontinued wearing the ring since they thougt they might be forced to buy, data is based on five subjects) living in five small-scale nursing homes were asked to put rings (average price eight dollars) on their fingers from 9:00 to 19:00 for seven days. According to a majority of nursing care providers, the "irritability/lability" disappeared during the ring-wearing intervention period in those patients (n=3) showing an interest in rings. There was no effect in the two subjects not displaying an interest in rings.

Without having been asked, the nursing staff told the patients that they looked so beautiful when they saw them wearing rings. The researchers explain the decrease in irritability and lability with the women knowing about their own status of collapsing intellect and words such as "you look so beautiful" having a positive effect on self-esteem alleviating irritability and lability (Yokoi et al., 2017).

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- Teruo Yokoi, Hitoshi Okamura, Tomoka Yamamoto, Katsuya Watanabe, Shigeko Yokoi, Hitoshi Atae, Masayuki Ueda, Takahiro Kuwayama, Shigekazu Sakamoto, Saaya Tomino, Hideo Fujii, Takefumi Honda, Takayosi Morita, Takafumi Yukawa, & Nobuko Harada (2017). Effect of wearing fingers rings on the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia: An exploratory study. SAGE Open Medicine, Vol. 5, link
- photograph of Elizabeth Taylor via

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

"They are not demographics, they are people."

Keith Kahn-Harris, a sociologist teaching Jewish studies, noticed the lack of diversity when it comes to representing British Jews. In fact, a great many articles were illustrated with the same Getty Images photograph, i.e., haredi Orthodox men seen from behind. Kahn-Harris tracked down the photographer - Robert Stothard - to learn about its background. The image, that had become the so-called go-to photograph for all sorts of stories about the Jewish community, or communities, had originally been taken to illustrate an article on police presence in London's Jewish neighbourhoods. In 2019, Kahn-Harris and Stothard started working on a new series of photographs of British Jews, a series that would no longer misrepresent their diversity. The photobook "What does a Jew Look Like" was published in 2022, including narratives written by the persons themselves (via).

Above: "There were few reminders of our heritage in our day-to-day lives bar the Chanukah cards we opened alongside our Christmas ones. Adolescence changed that, though. Keen for us to learn our history, our mother took us, at 12 and 13, to Auschwitz during the school holidays... I lit a menorah at home for the first time this year, despite still being irreligious, and was moved significantly by the experience. After all, a lack of faith made no difference to the Gestapo or the KGB​." Rio, Leeds (via)

Getty Images commissioned me to do a set of images depicting increased police presence on the streets in the wake of the 2015 Islamist terrorist attacks in Paris. There were fears of copycat attacks in Britain,” explains Stothard. “So when I took the photos they were news pics. But since then, one image in particular has been clumsily repurposed, become a decontextualised and ubiquitous stock image. It has even been used to illustrate a story about campus antisemitism. It made me very uncomfortable. Robert Stothard

Above: Anonymous.

There are only about 300,000 Jews in Britain so it’s quite easy to live here and never meet a real, live one. The way we are portrayed in the media, in public, is important, it’s how impressions are formed. So the aim of the book is simple – we want non-Jews, and even some Jews, to understand that there is no such thing as the generic Jew. Keith Kahn-Harris

Above: "When the Prodigy’s sound system broke down mid-set at Glastonbury back in 1997, I was asked to go on stage and keep the frustrated crowd at bay while they tried to fix it. I didn’t have any jokes and was getting bottles thrown at me, so I decided to sing Hava Nagila to 90,000 people and thankfully it worked a treat. That song really saved my arse that night​." Paul, north London (via)

Above: "am a practicing artist – concentrating on drawing and installation, my work explores themes of identity, memory, sexual violence, and the body. Largely autobiographical, I use biological materials such as broken eggshells and living matter – plants, insects, fungus – as media, either drawing directly onto them or using them to transform objects and spaces. I was brought up with a very strong religious and cultural identity, but in a non-traditional household. Our family was part of the radical feminist movement; I was conceived through donor insemination and the household was very much part of that ‘80s leftist Stoke Newington scene. There was always a degree of balancing political and personal ideology with religious practice. To make keeping kosher dietary laws easier, we were vegetarian. I went to a Jewish primary school. We’d go on Friday to Ridley Road market to buy challah, and we lit candles and had traditional Friday night dinner to welcome in Shabbat, when I wasn’t allowed to turn on the TV or touch anything electric. As I got older and my mum left the more radical circles, we became more traditionally observant and moved to a more Jewish area of London. I studied in seminary for two years pre-university and got married whilst a student to my long-term boyfriend. As an adult, I have moved back to East London and now live with my husband in Bow. I have a studio in Woolwich where I work and can plan projects. I lived in Edgware for many years but felt stifled and constrained by the atmosphere there – the main thing I miss about it is the excellent foraging in the local woodlands! Living away from the North West London Jewish bubble allows me more freedom to be religious and observant but also to lead a more unconventional life without the scrutiny or pressure of a curious and conservative community. I do not currently want children so many of the tropes of religious married life do not fit my own. I can cover my hair, keep kosher, go to shul, go to the mikvah and fulfil mitzvot without having to live in a row of houses all of which have mezuzot." Tilla, east London (via)

Above: "The photo was taken in Norfolk Heritage Park, Sheffield. That’s the place I usually walk on Shabbat. I’ve had a relationship with trees since I was a child. I’ve lived in Sheffield for over four years now, after moving from London, where I was born and raised. I came to Sheffield to get away from the London anxiety! I’m a member of the Seven Hills Synagogue. It’s small, maybe 100 people, so it’s a very tight-knit and friendly community. We don’t have our own building, so we meet in a community centre every other week. I’m part of a sub-group here where we build up diversity and inclusivity within the Jewish community, trying to engage with our members to talk about the presence of Disabled Jews, Black Jews, Jews of Colour and Queer Jews. It’s a way to help them adapt within those spaces through social activities and promote an accepting diversity of Jews everywhere. My parents are Nigerian Igbos. They moved to the UK in the 80s but divorced in the early 2000s. Though my Mum is Christian, some reputable anthropologists believe in the theory that Igbos have Hebrew Israelite origins. Ironically, I first heard about Judaism through my childhood learning difficulties when I was seven years old. I went to a secular school in the Jewish Haredi neighbourhood of Stamford Hill. I had a teaching assistant who was a secular Jew, and I asked her questions whenever we went to the library nearby. For example, once I asked, ‘Why are these people dressed like that?’ She told me there are strictly practising Jews and explained the different movements of Judaism. I embraced Judaism in the early 2010s as I love the idea of tikkun olam, being spiritually conscious, doing tzedakah, and celebrating my ancestors contribution to the Torah. I want to build consciousness of overseas Afro-Caribbean Jewish communities in the UK to advocate for their recognition within Jewish Education. There are other Black Jews with Afro-Caribbean heritage in cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester. The problematic issue in Jewish spaces is explaining the connections between African ethnic groups and the biblical tribe of Israel; people get confused, and I constantly have to explain. Not only ethnic groups such as the Igbo, the Akan, the Lemba, and the Abayudaya — but other African Jewish communities make the same claim." Kenneth, Sheffield (via)

Above: "‘Are there any Jews?’ This was the first question my wife asked me nearly 15 years ago when I was offered a teaching post in Scotland. I conducted online research and it appeared that Edinburgh was the new Jerusalem!" Joe, Edinburgh (via)

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photographs via and via and via and via and via and via

Monday, 23 January 2023

Mous Lamrabat's Mousganistan

Moroccan-Belgian photographer Mous Lamrabat created Mousganistan, a fantasy world in his head and "utopian frame of love" (via), a "place where life is at peace and people are loved, no matter where you are from" (via), a place that is "free, real and easy going" (via). 

Asked what it takes a person to immigrate to this place, why, and where it is, Lamrabat replies: "pffff, man. mousganistan is a utopia, it’s a place in my head and sometimes it's my escape from the world. i have been going there a lot lately. there are so many things going wrong in the world at this moment. some people can take it and deal with it but i can’t. it literally depresses me. when i escape to this place that i created in my head, it feels like home and i feel untouchable. it’s a space where i can make sense of everything and search for solutions. it’s not possible to change the world on your own but i do what i can by sharing my messages. the most important one is still: “life shouldn’t be hard”. i feel we need to go back to the purest forms of humanity and see how “simple” it all can be… and that’s how you get into mousganistan." Mous Lamrabat

About Mousghanistan: "It’s something I’m fighting for the next generation – to be themselves and be proud of where they come from. I remember we would go on school trips and my mom made sandwiches with homemade Moroccan bread and ingredients no one ever saw. I’d hide it and go eat on my own. I didn’t know it back then, but right now, it’s much better than my cheese sandwich. These are the things that are important to me. You have different things growing up but you should embrace them. I’m super proud that I’ve seen a lot of young MENA artists doing that recently. They mix things with where they come from and the world they live in. It’s nice to see that promise in them. In an art form, you can do much more than in real life. If you see war images on the news or on your phone, people are so used to it. We have a filter for it. If you take problems and put them in a gallery or museum, it’s different. People stand there and try to understand them."
Mous Lamrabat

photographs via and via and via