Representing Aging Women in the Media

New Dynamics of Ageing

Report –

Representing Self-Representing Ageing
Look at Me! Images of Women & Ageing

Key Findings
Women in their 50s–60s felt more pressure from media and advertising imagery compared with participants in their 80–90s.
Eighty-eight per cent of visitors to the project exhibitions wanted to see more images of older women, like those created through the
project, displayed in public.

Participants captured various experiences from continued public involvement, friendships and fun to fears of increasing limitations and invisibility. Images challenged stereotypes such as the ‘grumpy old woman’ and reflected rarely represented grief and loss.
Participants wanted to see more images of ‘ordinary’ older women who were still ‘making a contribution’.

Images produced by participants showed that women experience ageing at the site of the body, for example in the form of wrinkles and
greying hair. Participatory visual methods gave women a sense of solidarity and ownership of the research process, impacting on well-being and a feeling of public validation.

Look at Me!

The New Dynamics of Ageing Project was launched in Sheffield in October 2009. The research project, based at the Department of Sociological Studies at The University of Sheffield, aims to harness the power of the creative arts to transform the way society views older women.

The research team are in the process of running a series of creative, group workshops to explore how women are represented in the media (newspapers, television, magazines) and society as they grow older. The workshops are investigating the messages these images give out and how they affect women´s well-being. The workshop facilitators will then work with participants using photographic, art therapy, and video techniques to create new and alternative images of women and ageing. To date, “ordinary” older women have not had the opportunity to either comment on, or create, their own images of ageing. This project aims to use a variety of visual methods to enable older women in Sheffield to represent their own experiences of ageing.

Allied Media Conference Jun 28 – Jul 1 in Detroit, MI

AMC Mission


The Allied Media Conference advances our visions for a just and creative world. It is a laboratory for media-based solutions to the matrix of life-threatening problems we face. Since our founding in 1999, we have evolved our definition of media, and the role it can play in our lives – from zines to video-blogging to breakdancing, to communicating solidarity and creating justice. Each conference builds off the previous one and plants the seeds for the next. Ideas and relationships evolve year-round, incorporating new networks of media-makers, technologists and social justice organizers. We draw strength from our converging movements to face the challenges and opportunities of our current moment. We are ready to create, connect and transform.

Time Magazine Cover Sucks

Okay, like most people, I’m a little uneasy at seeing a 3-year-old boy pose for a photo by sucking at his mother’s breast for the cover of Time Magazine (there is a discussion on parental attachment in the issue).  Is it a sick version of kiddie porn or a cheap shot at showing a breast on the cover?

I’m not sure how Time can get away with this photo at a time when seeing women breastfeed babies in public is receiving controversy. I think Time could have used more tact. Why is it we have to show our body parts in order to get attention on important issues? Would they show a covert penis by a clock if they talked about viagara’s side effects? Would they use the image of a man’s bare back while jacking off to porn? Well, you get it. Men simply don’t have to show their penises in public to stir public discourse.

Time Magazine cover

“Are you Mom enough?’ Are they serious? Nothing says “Happy Mother’s Day” like a cover that continues with today’s parody of moms – wasn’t the Toast of the Town available?