Faculty of Medical Sciences

Event items

Not Acting Our Age

Older Women Challenging Gender Stereotypes and Celebrating Life

Date/Time: 8th March 2017, 12:00 - 13:00

Venue: Newcastle City Centre, Location to be confirmed

Karen Ross, Newcastle University has been researching the ways in which women are represented in media and popular culture for more than twenty years. Her research, and that of many other colleagues, shows that as women get older, they become less visible. When they do put in an appearance, they are often shown in stereotyped roles and contexts. This project aims to challenge those gendered and ageist images by working with older women to tell their own stories and show the richness and diversity of our lives in relation to our family, our friends and/or our communities. It comprises three elements:

  • digital story-telling
  • photographic exhibition
  • public event

The first two aspects have now been concluded and the public event will come next. 

Karen therefore invites you to join in this event. The intention is to gather as many older (Age Concern’s definition of older age is 50yrs!) women as possible on IWD to take part in the event. This will involve the entire group walking about in a city centre venue in twos and threes, wearing face masks and giving out flyers. The flyers will feature a series of questions such as, 'why are the top-earning Hollywood actors all men?', and 'why do women disappear from our TV screens as they get older?', and more. 

The rehearsal will take place 1 March, 5.30-7pm, at the City Library (Bewick Hall).

The main event will take place on International Women’s Day (Wednesday 8 March, 12-1pm) in a city centre venue.

She says:

'The purpose of wearing the masks is to make people look at us, make us visible. A group of journalism students will be filming people’s reactions as we walk. After 15 mins or so, we will all move to a designated spot where another group of students will already be set up, holding up placards with the same questions, and they will form the background for the next bit of the event which is the singing bit. We are likely to be joined by members of a choir who will lead us in a song, probably 'Sisters are Doing it For Themselves', where the choir members sing the verses and the eventers sing the chorus.

There will also be a poem read out by one of us. We will be joined by members of Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) who will sing their WASPI song (campaigning against raising the state pension age for women, to the tune of “Blaydon Races”), and the eventers can also join in with this. I’m imagining the whole thing will last between 30 and 45 mins. We have permission from the City Council and Newcastle Police to put on this event'.

If you would like to take part in the event, please contact Karen Ross by email or phone (07798884110). She looks forward to hearing from you and will send the lyrics to both songs before the rehearsal.