Posts tagged with feminism
Fighting Street Harassment Online
Dhruv Arora lives in Delhi, India, and he’s had enough. Enough of rape, enough of harassment and enough of the belief that what women wear has something to do with it.
“I am tired of people getting harassed on the street. I am tired of victim bashing. I am tired of people saying it happened because she was ‘inappropriately dressed,’” says the 24-year-old engineering student.
And so, in January of last year, Arora and a friend — outraged by the story of a 22-year-old woman raped by a cab driver, then blamed for it in the press — decided to do something about it. They created a Tumblr with a simple request: send in photos of what you were wearing when you were harassed on the street, along with your story. Consider it a personal form of protest.
She was a 90s riot grrrl, hung out with Kurt Cobain, and had a music blog on NPR. She worked briefly at an ad agency (Portland-based, of course) before she decided to write comedy; in Portlandia, the IFC sketch comedy series she co-created — now wrapping up its third season — she plays a feminist bookstore owner, new age helicopter mom, kinky greaser,
newspaperblog editor, and, of course, herself (alongside creative partner Fred Armisen). Now she’s got a new band, Wild Flag. And a shitload of blogs devoted to her every move.
In real life, though, Carrie Brownstein isn’t quite so different from the fans who adore her. She once cried because she loved Madonna. She had a crush on Danny from New Kids on the Block. She wrote fan letters and plastered rock posters on her teenage bedroom wall. Portlandia, she says, is like its own version of a fan ballad — an ode to the endearing absurdities of her Pacific Northwest home. On the eve of tomorrow’s season finale, Brownstein talks fandom, emoticons, and what was so great about the 90s.
The Reconstructionists: Celebrating Badass Women
What do Buddhist artist Agnes Martin, Hollywood inventor Hedy Lamarr, and French-Cuban author Anaïs Nin have in common? Their names may not conjure popular recognition, and yet, for Lisa Congdon and Maria Popova, these women represent a particular breed of cultural trailblazer: female, under-appreciated, badass. They are “Reconstructionists,” as the writer-illustrator duo call them — and for the next year, they’ll be celebrated on a blog of the same name. Every Monday for 12 months, The Reconstructionists will debut a hand-painted illustration and short essay highlighting a woman from fields such as art, science, and literature. The subject needn’t be famous, but she will, as Popova, the creator of Brain Pickings, puts it, “have changed the way we define ourselves as a culture.” We spoke with Popova, and illustrator Congdon, about the inspiration behind their project.
How’d you come up with the name ‘Reconstructionist’?
Maria Popova: It’s very challenging to celebrate women without pigeonholing the project into some stereotypical and alienating feminist corner, the most dangerous part of which is the preaching-to-the-choir quality that many such projects tend to have. So when it was time to come up with a title for the project, it couldn’t be something too literal or too obvious. After sifting through hundreds of letters, diaries, autobiographies, and other writing, I suddenly remembered something Anaïs Nin had written in a 1944 diary entry — about “woman’s role in the reconstruction of the world.” It was perfect. It was the only common denominator between those women – they aren’t all artists, or all writers, or all to be expected in the pages of a tenth-grade history book. They are simply all reconstructionists.
Women of Protest: A Feminist History Refresher
It wasn’t until 1920 that women were granted suffrage, but it was 1917 when members of the National Women’s Party — Alice Paul, Lucy Burns and others — picketed outside the White House, burning copies of Woodrow Wilson’s speeches and demanding the right to vote. What resulted — mass arrests (most for “obstructing traffic”), unlawful imprisonment and bloody beatings — became known as the Night of Terror, though it’s fair to say most among my generation don’t know it.
The Night of Terror took place on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Workhouse Prison, in Occoquan, Virginia, ordered his guards to teach the suffragists a lesson. For weeks, the women’s only water had come from an open pail. Their food had been infested with worms. But on this night, some 40 prison guards wielding clubs beat the women senseless — grabbing, dragging, choking, kicking and pinching them, according to affidavits recounting the attacks.
Jill Greenberg on Capturing the Horse as Supermodel
One might say there are two Jill Greenbergs. First, there is Jill Greenberg the commercial photographer: She’s done work for corporations like Disney and Coke; her editorial photos have appeared on the covers of Time, Fortune, New York, and others. But it’s Jill Greenberg the artist who gets people talking. From sinister shots of John McCain under the text “WARMONGER” to closeup portraits of children crying (after being offered candy and then having it snatched away), her images have been called “repulsive,” “grotesque,” and have elicited death threats. Her latest project, a book called Horse, is more, shall we say, tame.
You were harshly criticized for the McCain photos you took during the last election, under a strobe light, which made him look almost devil-like. It was an Atlantic assignment, but you doctored the outtakes as an art piece. Was it hard to find editorial work after that?
That incident’s backlash really surprised me, considering I delivered their cover image exactly to their specifications. I don’t really know, but I think the Atlantic was afraid that McCain might be elected and needed to cover themselves. Photographers own all their images when shooting for magazines. The contract actually said you will use all means within your reach to publicize the images and shoot, including your own website, which is where I posted my agit-prop political cartoons. The incident got them an unbelievable amount of traffic, right before they relaunched the magazine with a redesign.
Singular Beauty: Photographing Cosmetic Surgery Clinics
As the adage goes, document what you know. Cara Phillips has never gone under the knife of a plastic surgeon, but she has photographed dozens of plastic surgery rooms around the country — all under the glare of florescent surgery lights. A former child model, Phillips chose photography as a way to turn her own lens on an industry she felt objectified women — and to battle her own body image demons. The result is Singular Beauty, a book of haunting portraits of the insides of cosmetic surgery offices and their promise of a better you.
What drew you to document the beauty industry?
Before I became a photographer, I spent most of my life in the beauty business, first as a child model and later as makeup artist. From a very early age, I learned that being beautiful was both valuable and required of women. These experiences left me with some serious body-image issues. So the decision to focus my camera on beauty started off as a personal exploration, but as the project progressed, my focus shifted to the larger cultural issues of aging, desire, and physical perfection. The cosmetic surgery industry is the ultimate expression of the relentless American pursuit of youth and beauty.