Women Kick Back Against Stereotypes Of Old Age

Hermi O'Connell is 86 and loves her mobility scooter. she's pictured kicking up her heels in a shoot for the Look At Me! exhibition. Now being staged at the Workstation, the exhibition  provides "alternatrive" images of ageing women
Hermi O'Connell is 86 and loves her mobility scooter. she's pictured kicking up her heels in a shoot for the Look At Me! exhibition. Now being staged at the Workstation, the exhibition provides "alternatrive" images of ageing women

A UNIQUE series of exhibitions which form part of a project aiming to challenge the stereotypes surrounding ageing women is currently running in Sheffield marking the centenary of International Women’s Day.

Look At Me! Images of Women and Ageing features images created by local women who participated in a series of creative group workshops held in Sheffield. They used photography, art therapy and video techniques.

Project director Dr Lorna Warren, from the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield, said: “This is not a cosy exhibition of images for the mantelpiece. From the mundane to the magnificent it is instead a very honest, sometimes challenging, sometimes humorous display of images showing women exploring their own feelings about being or becoming ‘older women’.”

Among the participants was Hermi O’Connell, who was born in Vienna and moved to Sheffield with her husband after the Second World War.

She said: “I know I’m 85 so I know I am classed as an old woman. But I don’t really feel like an older woman, even when I’m hobbling about because my knee has got arthritis in it.”

Hermi remembered being in a shop while her daughter was busy at the beauty counter and when she moved away to look at the glasses, the assistant said: “She’s wandering off, is that alright?”

Hermi fumed: “I think she must have thought I had bloody Alzheimer’s or something! She was concerned about this poor old woman! You can’t get away from being old.”

The exhibition, curated by Alison Morton of Museums Sheffield, will be in the window of Sunwin House on the Moor and Furnival Gate from Saturday to Thursday, April 7 and then at the university Jessop West Exhibition Space,in Leavygreave Road, Monday-Friday, April 11-15.