Archive for April, 2013


Donation box in Carlisle, MA; photo by Ornit Barkai

While our relationship with More than Words has endured the test of time and despite changing members on both ends the book drives and recently catering has strengthened our partnership further.

Most Scholars have contributed to this relationship through their donations. During our walk organized last April, Ornit Barkai, Visiting Research Associate at WSRC joined the discussion at the store on what more Scholars can do to help More than Words. Bobby Nasson, Business Development Manager at the Waltham store asked for assistance and wanted to know contact persons in Carlisle where Ornit lives. His idea was to initiate book donations in that town. Ornit promptly followed up on this and after a few exchanges she excitedly reported back,

“I was delighted to spot More Than Words at our town’s Transfer Station the other week. This is seemingly the result of my previous attempts …. to introduce Bobby to the ‘right’ people in our town!”

The members of Waltham Committee thank Ornit for her efforts and her contribution to reach out to the organization that we have had a sustained partnership with and work with their plans to spread to other towns.


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Elizabeth Markson, Resident Scholar, discussed part of her research on older women as they are portrayed in Hollywood films over the past 70+ decades.  She focused on how clothing and other props are used to represent aging and old age-in a random sample of 83 feature films from 1929 to 2004, Drawing from films over a 70 year period, she gave examples of the ways that older actresses been depicted to give both explicit and explicit messages about women and aging.

Persistent images and props from 1930 through 2000 define the film roles played by older women: shawls, rocking chairs, aprons, cooking and baking, and small pets. Even women who are villains cook and prepare food—including just before spurring on a lynching!  Attendees chatted about why older actresses very rarely portray active and vibrant people, rather than backdrops for the actions of younger (or predominantly male) cinematic portrayals. Despite social change, older women’s dress and activities remain likely to be clothed in stereotypical fashion as ‘witches, bitches, or poor old things’. However, the times are changing—or are they in American cinema?  Will greater life expectancy, later retirement, more women in the labor force, and the aging of the baby boom generation reduce ageist and sexist film portrayals of women 60+?

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