A rightfully sizzling title to announce a hot debate as last week’s Better Lives presentation at London College of Fashion, organised by Dr Carolyn Mair, focussed on Agesim. (Racism is to come  on 24th of Feb)

It was an enlightening event where key speakers were joined by a lively audience to deconstruct society’s attitudes to ageing. Not unnoticed were the particularly harsh judgements meted out to women who exhibit exactly the same biological function as men in their physical progression toward old age.

That is to say women aren’t biologically hard-wired to discriminate against age in the way that men do when their biological programming directs them to seek out youthful representations of women at every given turn.

Biologist, Professor Paul Matts created a compelling presentation in confirmation of this unconscious drive which begs an important question from those of us keen to action progress… given that there is a gender bias in favour of male decision making at every level, is it pertinent to suggest that as women’s lives are affected by  this hard-wired but un-named and unethical discrimination tendency, we must deconstruct and change the current dynamic?

One person who has plenty of first hand experience to contribute here is new All Walks team member Alessandra Bruni Lopez y Royo. Alongside her academic career: lectureships at several British Universities, most recently at the University of Roehampton, where she was Reader in Visual Culture until August 2013, Alex has been modelling for some years, as a result she has become more involved in the growing field of ageing studies, with an interest in the representation of older women, and older bodies, in the media.

We first discovered Ms. Bruni Lopez in Marie Schuller’s short film for SHOWstudio: Fashion Fetish It’s a powerful narrative around adult female sexuality and one she takes on gamely. But there is more to say and Bruni Lopez’s latest academic publication Over 50 and doing what? Reflections of a mature model, allows for valuable insights for anyone interested in the culture of female ageing and visibility. As for cultural and gender prejudices around ageism – we’ll get on to that!

With research interests that have expanded over the years to encompass the study of performance and the visual as also psychoanalysis, we are delighted to welcome a kindred spirit who has published monographs and journal articles and has also written for print and online magazines.  We know the ageing debate interests many of our student readers (why wouldn’t you want to market to women who have four times much to spend on fashion and related products in pursuit of a healthy business model?) so enjoy! Read more here

Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexB244

Photograph with thanks to Natalia Lipchanskaya