How Clinton Handles Her Candidacy’s Historic Nature: Today on NPR’s "Morning Edition," David Greene looked at how Clinton initially distanced herself from
making her campaign about gender and how that changed somewhat after New Hampshire, where she found her "voice."

Dove Anti-Ageism Campaign Hits Stage: "Body & Soul," starring women age 45 to 78, opened this weekend at Toronto’s Young Centre for the Performing Arts. The show runs through May 17.

Debra Black of the Toronto Star writes:

Dove commissioned the play – Body & Soul – as part of an ongoing campaign to challenge the way society thinks about beauty and aging.

Ironically, Dove, and its parent company Unilever, were embroiled in controversy this week just as Thompson’s show was in final rehearsals. A New York airbrush artist, Pascal Dangin, first admitted and then denied he did extensive retouching of photos of women in Dove’s Real Beauty campaign. Unilever denied the pictures had been retouched.

For deaf teacher Rhonda Tepper, who will be 50 this summer, this play lets women of a certain age be more visible. She is one of the 13 who will take to the stage Saturday night. "I think the public looks at you differently when you’re grey … but when I open my mouth to speak I know that I am definitely more attractive than I’ve ever been."

The stars of "Body & Soul" were chosen from thousands of women who wrote odes to their bodies. Playwright and director Judith Thompson whittled down the submissions and held auditions to select women to attend workshops where they created monologues that explore beauty, aging and the various stages of a woman’s life. "What emerged was this extraordinary tapestry of truth," Thompson told the Star.

Plus: Read more about the "Real Beauty" campaign photo controversy.

Advice on How to Age: "While the older generation bears the brunt of pernicious ageism, a fear of being considered old infects society as a whole," writes Kira Cochrane, women’s editor of the Guardian, in this column at the New Statesman. She continues:

A colleague recently noted that, in the eyes of many people, there are only two ages of womanhood, both clearly pejorative, and neither actually involving being a woman – namely, "girl" and "old bag". The first includes a certain power, a sexual power, which is
empty of real influence; in this phase, a woman can easily be undermined in the workplace as someone without actual experience. When women reach an age at which they might expect to be rewarded for their
knowledge and skills, they often find themselves in the reviled second phase, marked by invisibility or, worse, a kind of horror. This was typified by the US "shock jock" Rush Limbaugh, who asked of a Hillary Clinton presidency: "Will this country want to actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?"

In the face of such outright sexism, it seems that there are three distinct strategies. The most inspiring is the approach taken by [Anna] Ford, who seems determined to challenge ageism head-on, questioning attitudes to older women and to natural signs of age, such as grey hair. This approach isn’t specifically defined by a woman’s tonsorial choices, but whether she feels comfortable in herself, recognises the ageism inherent in society, and is prepared to challenge it.

Plus: Speaking of grey hair, The New York Times reports on new hair coloring methods for men to keep the Anderson Cooper look at bay (though flecks of grey are perfectly acceptable).

"For men, gray hair is not as stigmatized as it is for women," writes Nick Burns. "Historically, it has been linked with wisdom. But it has also been associated with death, health problems, diminished mental abilities and loss of sexual potency, said Victoria Sherrow, the author of ‘Encyclopedia of Hair: A Cultural History.’"

Fund Shops for More Women Power: From Women’s eNews: After weathering a rough first quarter in the stock market, Sujatha Avutu, the fund manager of the Women’s Equity Fund, is still bullish on investing in companies that prize gender equity, reports Sheryl Nance-Nash. One of Avutu’s favorite companies, Bright Horizons — a Boston-based provider of employer-sponsored child care — has just been snapped up.

Plenty of other funds have added gender-equity criteria to company report cards that also grade companies on factors such as their toll on the environment and safety standards inside their factories.

But the Women’s Equity Fund remains the only fund to judge a company’s social responsibility solely on its gender practices.

Despite a broad market downturn, this "pure play" in gender-driven investment has been holding up along with the other socially responsible funds.

For the year that ended Dec. 31, 2007, for instance, the Women’s Equity Fund had total returns of over 10 percent. That’s almost twice as good as the 5.1 percent for the Russell 3000 Index. (The fund measures itself against the Russell 3000 because the Russell index tracks the performance of 3,000 companies that are both large and small, with the same composition as the companies in the Women’s Equity Fund.)

PBS and the Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease: Writing at Salon, Dr. Robert Burton, the former chief of neurology at Mount Zion-UCSF Hospital, criticizes PBS for airing Dr. Daniel Amen’s program on the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. "Change Your Brain, Change Your Life" has aired nearly 1,300 times on PBS stations across the country; it was not vetted for scientific validity.

"One of the messages of Amen’s PBS special and his book on Alzheimer’s is that early detection of A.D. can lead to methods that both slow the progression of the disease and prevent it," writes Burton. "But this opinion isn’t shared by the vast majority of the medical community. Despite decades of studies, there are at present no definitive long-term treatments for A.D. or its prevention, as Amen would have viewers and readers believe."

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  • Dodys June 20, 2008 at 1:22 am

    Plenty of other funds have added gender-equity criteria to company report cards that also grade companies on factors such as their toll on the environment and safety standards inside their factories.