Self-Perceptions of Older Women in the Age of the Waif

by Kate Angell

Note: The present paper is a synopsis of my college thesis, written over a seven-month period from 2005-2006. While editing the thesis for publication in RE/VISIONIST, I reflected that some of the material from this study has the potential to be outdated. As a social scientist, my immediate rationalization was to delve into articles published in the past five years and consequently update the study. However, I decided against this option, and chose to submit it to RE/VISIONIST as a historical document reflecting inhabitants of a very specific temporal and social location – New England senior women of the mid-2000s.

Attribution: “old woman” by Lauren Gledhill

Over the past couple decades, numerous psychological studies have been conducted to examine whether the exposure of girls and young women to images of thin, glamorized women in popular media, such as Glamour and Cosmopolitan magazines, results in disordered eating and/or poor self-regard. Some researchers (Champion & Furnham, 1999; Cusumano & Thompson, 1997; Martin & Kennedy, 1993) maintain that this particular relationship does not lead young women to internalize these socially imposed norms.  However, other studies have concluded the opposite, positing that exposure to such photographs can cause an increase in body dissatisfaction, depression, and low self-esteem (Morrison, Kalin, & Morrison, 2004; Pinhas, Toner, Ali, Garfinkel, & Stuckless, 1999; Turner, Hamilton, Jacobs, Angood, & Dwyer, 1997).

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This Week: Domestic Workers Rights, Anti-Abortion Ads, & More

It’s Time to Talk to Employers About Domestic Worker’s Rights
ColorLines: “The first of its kind in the nation, the so-called “nanny law” grants fundamental labor protections to some 200,000 full-time and live-in nannies, housekeepers and elder-care providers in the state.”

Mom Sues After Daughter Is Pictured on Anti-Abortion Billboard
Jezebel: “The New York billboard that linked abortion with African-American genocide has been taken down, but the mother of the 6-year-old girl whose image appeared in the ad is still suing.”

Now more women get advanced degrees than men
AP: “For the first time, American women have passed men in gaining advanced college degrees as well as bachelor’s degrees, part of a trend that is helping redefine who goes off to work and who stays home with the kids.”

Three Printers Refuse LGBT Student Publication, Citing F-Word, Images of Cross-dressing
Campus Progress: “Evan Bailey, a former student media specialist at Kent State who worked with Freeport for five years, says that other student publications, including poetry magazine Luna Negra, were printed by Freeport and also included the word.”

Shackled mom wins case
The Tennessean: “Human rights supporters and immigration advocates said the case signified an undercurrent of bias against immigrants. Villegas’ arrest may have been racial profiling by police, they said.”

Media Should Call Trump on Race-Based ‘Birther’ Campaign

I read this article by Chris Benson posted on Huffington Post this morning. I found it to be compelling because in addition examining the racist undertones of the Birther Movement, Benson also addresses media responsibility in clarifying and contextualizing what the so called movement is really all about.

What has become clear during Donald Trump’s media-blitz-of-a-non-campaign-campaign is that too many mainstream journalists are missing the story. The story and the opportunity. The story about what the “birther” issue really is all about, and the opportunity to live up to media responsibility in helping people make enlightened decisions about the answer that increasingly is becoming apparent: the “birther” issue is about race.

Just connect up the dots. Trump resurrects an issue we all thought had been put to rest. The media — particularly television news and feature programs — provide a national platform for the discourse. The Arizona legislature takes its immigrant profiling campaign national, passing a bill that in effect set up a presidential checkpoint — requiring national candidates to (your papers, please) prove U.S. citizenship. And then there’s that photoshopped Barack Obama nuzzled in a family of Chimps, circulated by Orange County Republican Marilyn Davenport, reportedly with her personal note: “Now you know why no birth certificate.”

Davenport says, in effect, hey, can’t you take a joke? But what do you have to get in order to get that joke? Republican Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the Arizona bill. But what about the message of legitimacy that is sent to the public when elected officials put their stamp of approval on such regressive policies? And, with respect to that media platform for Trump, sure, questions are being raised by journalists. But what about the thrust of those questions?

“Is Trump really running for president?” “Will his candidacy, coupled with a sharp rise in the polls, hurt Republicans?” “Is he really serious about this ‘birther’ issue?” “Is he merely promoting his television show Celebrity Apprentice?”

Excuse me, but, what? Practically every arrow in the quiver and still missing the target. So, here’s one for the longbow: “What are the racial implications of the birther issue?”

You can read the full article here.

-Nydia Swaby

This Week: Immigration in the East, France’s Burqa Ban, & more

Georgia passes immigration bill similar to Arizona’s
Los Angeles Times: “Police would be given the power to check the immigration status of ‘criminal’ suspects and many businesses would be required to do the same with potential hires.”

France’s Anti-Muslim Burqa Ban Goes Into Effect
ColorLines: “Veiled women in France now risk facing a fine of €150 ($215) and a citizenship course or up to 4 hours of detainment for donning the Muslim niqab or burqa outside their homes, though not jail time.”

CA Senate Bill Mandates Gay History in Schools
New York Times: “California law already requires schools to cover the contributions to the state and nation of women, African Americans, Mexican Americans, entrepreneurs, Asian Americans, European Americans, American Indians and labor.”

Most Catholic women in U.S. use birth control
Reuters: “Some 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women in the United States have used contraceptive methods banned by the church, research published on Wednesday showed.”

Idaho Governor Signs 20 Week Abortion Ban Into Law Despite A.G.’s Objections
RH Reality Check: “Despite having the state Attorney General advise him that the measure was likely unconstitutional, Idaho Governor “Butch” Otter signed a 20 week abortion ban into law.”

A Lawsuits Unusual Question: Who Is a Man?
New York Times: “An employer fired Mr. Devoureau because it said only a man was allowed to do his job: watching men urinate into plastic cups at a drug treatment center. “