Tuesday, 29 April 2014

International Dance Day

World Dance Day, every year on 29 April, established in 1982 and promoted by CID, aims at attracting attention to the art of dance. It is celebrated by millions of dancers around the globe. On that day, dance companies, dance schools, organizations and individuals, professionals as well as amateurs, organize an activity addressing an audience different from their usual one (literally via). CID is the Conseil International de la Danse (International Dance Council), recognised by UNESCO and founded in 1973.

Belonging to a particular dance group can form a sense of belonging as an older person. "Culture of dance" can empower older persons, create a community feeling, offer an opportunity to dress up which again is an important aspect of experiencing lived embodiment. Learning to dance when one's age is rather advanced can be a positive health behaviour choice (Paulson, 2009).
Age & Dancing: Paddy and Nico's performance in Britain's Got Talent led to standing ovations and went viral soon afterwards: watch

Dancing People Link Pack:

- Daft Punk "Lose Yourself To Dance" watch
- Moby "Bodyrock" watch (fire version) and watch (official video)
- Kate Bush "Wuthering Heights" watch
- Men Without Hats "Safety Dance" watch
- Jamiroquai "Stillness in Time" watch
- Dancing Twiggy watch

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Paulson, S. M. (2009) An Exploration of How Various "Cultures of Dance" Construct Experiences of Health and Growing Older. London: Dissertation (via)

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Quoting Robert Redford

"Any time I saw people treated unfairly because of race, creed, whatever - it struck a nerve."
Robert Redford

photo of Robert Redford by Annie Leibovitz (1980) via, quote via

Friday, 25 April 2014

Generations, Myths, Stereotypes & Iris Apfel

Theorists' descriptions of the four generations (The Traditional Generation, The Baby Boom Generation, Generation X, Generation Y) are criticised to be conclusions from stereotypes and pseudo-science. There are additional limitations as they only refer to the US-American culture.

"The Traditional Generation" (1925-1945) which is - according to the authors - shaped by the Great Depression and World War II is described as a conservative, rule-oriented, loyal, self-sacrificing generation that is respectful of authority and values family and patriotism.

"The Baby-Boom Generation" (1946-1964) that is shaped by prosperity, the 1960s youth culture and the Vietnam War is an idealistic, optimistic, driven generation that is loyal to an organisation, focuses on consensus-building and places work and material success at the centre of life.


"Generation X" (1964-1980) which is shaped by dual-career and single-parent households, globalisation and technology is cynical, pessimistic, alienated, individual, independent, self-sufficient, depressed and skeptical of authority. This generation is described as one that is comfortable with change and diversity and hardly remains loyal to a company.

"Generation Y" (1981-1999) is shaped by computers, 9/11 and economic expansion, is self-centred, narcissistic, alienated, cynical, individualistic, patriotic, inherently social and extremely technology-literate. Generation Y is comfortable with change, considers job security as unimportant, values input into decisions and actions and has a high need for praise.

The traits are based on descriptions from popular media. They are pure myths, stereotypes and are not evidence-based (Blauth et al., 2011).

Iris Apfel is an interior designer, fashion icon and a "guru" in New York's fashion scene (via). As she was born in 1921, she does not fall into the generational classifications listed here. Unfortunately. Stereotypes of her generation could have been as entertaining as the others.

Blauth, C., McDaniel, J., Perrin, C. & Perrin, P. B. (2011) Age-Based Stereotypes: Silent Killer of Collaboration and Productivity. www.achieveglobal.com
photos via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Anti-Atheist Prejudice & Katherine Hepburn

"I'm an atheist, and that's it. I believe there's nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for people."
Katherine Hepburn

Considering religion as a conditio sine qua non for moral living can lead to negative sentiments, the marginalisation and even persecution of non-believers. In a poll, only 45% of US-Americans responded that they would vote for a qualified presidential candidate if he or she were an atheist. It was the lowest percentage a hypothetical minority would get - the willingness to vote for African American, Jewish or female candidates was much higher. Atheists were also the group most people disapproved of their children marrying.

Religiosity seems to be viewed as a guarantee for trustworthiness - the most valued trait  in other people - by religious believers. In a "trust game", religious participants transferred more money to religious partners even if their religions differed. Denying the existence of gods, based on these findings, means being less trustworthy.

In their study, Gervais et al. examined religiosity and trustworthiness and came to the conclusion that distrust is a central factor atheists are confronted with. The authors compared anti-atheist prejudice with anti-gay prejudice which both tend to be characteristic of highly religious groups. The profiles differed as distrust was more central to anti-atheist prejudice than to anti-gay prejudice.

Gervais, W. M., Shariff, A. F. & Norenzayan, A. (2011) Do You Believe in Atheists? Distrust Is Central to Anti-Atheist Prejudice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(6), 1189-1206;
photographs of Katherine Hepburn via and via and via and via

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Construction Workers & Their Image

According to a survey carried out between November and December 2013 among construction workers, 61% had heard sexist language during the past year and 14% at least once a week. Of the women, one third reported offensive language had been directed at them during the past year, 12% said it had had an impact on their confidence and 4% had left their job due to the language used.

The results (percentages refer to the past year):
- 61.2% had heard sexist language
- 53.4% had heard racist language
- 51.2% had heard ageist language
- 48% had heard homophobic language

Only 37% thought that the problems with offensive language were typical of the construction industry and worse compared to others (via).

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

You've come a long way, baby

"You've come a long way, baby 
To get where you've got to today 
You've got your own cigarette now, baby 
You've come a long, long way"

"We make Virginia Slims expecially for women because they are biologically superior to men", 1971, via

Virginia Slims were introduced by Philip Morris in 1968 and "marketed as a female-oriented spinoff to their Benson and Hedges brand". The slogans "You've come a long way" and later "It's a woman thing" and "Find your voice" were supposed to link smoking with "women's freedom, emancipation, and empowerment" (via). It was not the first product to speak to women "in the language of liberation" but it was the first one that interpreted feminism as something that could sell (Zeisler, 2008).

"Rosemary for president. Someday. Meanwhile you've got Virginia Slims. The taste for today's woman.", via; 1968, via

Philip Morris continued this strategy and in 2008 launched a campaign targeting women and girls. The "purse pack" - repackaged, compact, pink Virginia Slims - implies that smoking is both feminine and fashionable. "Super slim" communicates the association between smoking and weight loss (via). John T. Landry, former Philip Morris marketing chief: "I knew thinness was a quality worth talking about. It's an American obsession." (via).

Images via, via, via and via

This gender marketing strategy changed statistics encouraging girls to start smoking. "Six years after the introduction of Virginia Slims, the rate of smoking initiation for 12-year-old girls had increased 110 percent." (via). In fact, apart from social factors, marketing strategies are considered to be one reason for the rise of smoking among women. Smoking as a symbol of emancipation was the core of the campaign. In 1991, an internal industry document describes the strategy targeting only women as follows: "To convince fashionable, modern, independent and self-confident women aged 20-34 that by smoking VSLM, they are making better/more complete expression of their independence." (Hitchman & Fong, 2011). The market share grew from 0.24% bo 3.16% (Toll & Ling, 2005).

LIFE, 13 August, 1971, via

In the 1980s, the number of cigarettes sold declined dramatically. Women were "a saving grace" who just had to be convinced that a woman "needs her very own cigarette as absolutely as she needs ther own underwear" (via). To women, smoking Virginia Slims meant "independence, slimness, glamour, and liberation". Despite the equality progresses the commercials showed since the early twentieth century, "the only equality this campaign ended up supporting involved lung cancer. Today, women and men die at similar rates from the diseases." (via).

Images via, via, via, via, via, via, via, via and via

The campaign was developed by the Leo Burnett Agency and was launched on 22 July 1968. It was a huge success and the slogan more or less became "a national catch-phrase". According to a 1986 corporate study, the so-called brand personality was the key to its success (via).

Images via, via, via, via, 15 November,1968, via; 30 June, 1972, via

Slogan, catch-phrase and song:

- Virginia Slims commercial from 1970s watch

In 1978, the US-American country music singer-songwriter Loretta Lynn was in the charts with the song "We've come a long way, baby". "The title song was a top ten hit for Lynn, playing on the famous Virginia Slims slogan of the day, You've Come a Long Way Baby" (via).
- Loretta Lynn We've come a long way, baby watch

Images via

Hitchman, S. C. & Fong, T. G. (2011) Gender empowerment and female-to-male smoking prevalence ratios. Bulletin of the World Health Organization; via
New York Times (1986) Why They Stretched The Slims via
Toll, B. A. & Ling, P. M. (2005) The Virginia Slims identity crisis: an inside look at tobacco industry marketing to women. Tobacco Control, 14, 172-180
Zeislere, A. (2008) Feminism and Pop Culture. Berkeley: Seal Press

Saturday, 12 April 2014

International Day of Human Space Flight

On 12 April 1961, Yuri Gagarin carried out the first human space flight. The United Nations express their conviction that promoting exploration is of common interest of mankind:

"I am confident that the International Day of Human Space Flight will remind us of our common humanity and our need to work together to conquer shared challenges. I hope it will also inspire young people in particular to pursue their dreams and move the world towards new frontiers of knowledge and understanding."
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 

When the two competing "space nations" started including astronauts from their respective allies, space exploration gradually took on a multinational and multicultural character. One national space agency became the so-called host, the crewmembers became guests and were treated as guests. This "guest status" also meant being a minority among a majority - which again decreased satisfaction and increased frustration as long as it was not dealt with adequately (Suedfeld et al., 2011).

And now some music from outer space: The Swedish band The Spotnicks with Rocket Man (1962).

Suedfeld, P., Wilk, K. E. & Cassel, L. (2011) Flying with Strangers: Postmission Reflections of Multinational Space Crews, in Vakoch, D. A. (ed.) Psychology of Space Exploration. Contemporary Research in Historical Perspective. The NASA History Series, Washington DC

Photos by Weegee (Arthur Fellig, 1899-1968) (probably taken in 1955) via and via

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Quoting Joan Collins

"Age is just a number. It's totally irrelevant unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine."
Joan Collins

"I don't look my age, I don't feel my age and I don't act my age. To me age is just a number."
Joan Collins

"If I hear the word 'retire,' it makes me want to throw up. And then do what? Sit around all day watching television?"
Joan Collins

"I don't know why people are so obsessed with age anyway. I mean, 90 is the new 70; 70 is the new 50 and 50 is the new 40; so the whole act-your-age thing? Only up to a point."
Joan Collins

"I consider you as old as you look and feel. And in that case I feel - I feel I'm about 39, like Jack Benny."
Joan Collins

"You can't help getting older, but you can help yourself from becoming old and infirm, in mind as well as body."
Joan Collins

"Certainly there are dozens of over-50 actresses who look great: Sophia Loren, Susan Sarandon, Ursula Andress, Stefanie Powers, Raquel Welch, Barbara Eden, Joanna Lumley, Linda Gray - the list is endless, and these are just the actresses! I have many friends in their 60s, 70s and 80s, not in the limelight, but who all look absolutely stunning."
Joan Collins

photos of Joan Collins via and via and via and via