Ava DuVernay's television show, "Queen Sugar," is the first to hire a majority of women behind the scenes, with every director hired being a woman. DuVernay is hiring women, especially women of color, who have not been given a shot in the Hollywood world, often due to what they call a "lack of experience." Director of photography Kira Kelly has said that "Queen of Sugar" is a "place where women were and are being encouraged to be artists and do wonderful work."
Through her works artist Mary Pratt called attention to the small beauties in domestic life. Throughout her career, Pratt would receive praise from women who claimed her paintings added a sense of heroism to their lives at times when they felt forgotten. Although her fixation on feminine subjects may have hindered her from wider success, Pratt was a wonderful example of the talent of women and a champion for the dismissed.
Filmmaker Crystal Moselle was drawn to the voices of teenage skater girls on the subway, which prompted her to make a feature film about them. The all-female skating crew allowed Moselle to see, and then depict in her film, how social media can help girls find their "tribe," especially in a world where female skaters are still difficult to find. She hopes the film also speaks to the way young people, particularly young skaters and young women, offer a new perspective on the city of New York and its architecture.
Art and politics have always gone hand in hand. So, when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey set out to heel the Turkish art scene, he was met with artistic protests. Although artists previously felt comfortable opposing Erdoğan’s regime, a slew of arrests have caused political activists to become increasingly wary of speaking out against his authoritarianism. Amidst a declining art economy, Turkey’s situation questions art’s role in free speech and the well being of a nation.
As the nation grieved the passing of Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, this week, there is reflection on the immeasurable contributions her and her music have provided. "Respect," one of her largest hit songs, became an anthem for marginalized communities in demanding the respect they deserve, especially for black women. Around the time of the Birmingham bombing, an author on NPR is quoted as saying, "With 'Respect,' [Franklin] gave black women an unprecedented voice and visibility."
Judy Chicago’s iconic contribution to feminist art, “The Dinner Party”, has been hailed as the core inspiration for Second-wave feminism. However, it’s flaws reveal the weak points within modern feminism and the importance of historical context. Created before modern progressivism, “The Dinner Party” has been critiqued especially for its approach towards black women and its importance on genitalia in femininity. The controversy around Chicago’s piece invites modern feminists to examine not only their ideology, but themselves.
After fleeing from El Salvador due to domesticated gang violence- both personal and community threats-and seeking asylum in the United States, a mother and daughter were deported with their futures hanging in the balance. The mother spoke of her fear for her daughter's safety, as she had no idea what was waiting for them at the end of the plane ride. Though they were able to stay together and return, as their deportation was an "oversight," the threat to their future security and wellbeing remains.
These two women met through their community's chapter of Big Brothers, Big Sisters 15 years ago, and their friendship has endured ever since. After meeting while one had just graduated high school and the other was entering seventh grade, the Little has been in her Big's wedding. The broader support network of Big Brothers, Big Sisters has its success stories in the close relationships it helps form- with these now grown women a shining example.
August is National Breastfeeding Month. To celebrate global motherhood and remind society that breastfeeding should never be prohibited, baby brand Lasinoh worked to create a photo series showcasing mothers feeding their children from all around the world. Breastfeeding is a cultural practice and the time a mom spends breastfeeding her child varies by nation. However, breastfeeding is a health issue. The World Health Organization found that 2/3 of children worldwide are not breastfed for 6 months, the time recommended. Additionally, "universal breastfeeding could prevent the deaths of 823,000 children younger than 5 years each year," according to research published in the medical journal The Lancet.
UK data alarmingly shows that females are more likely to take their own lives. Traditionally, males have been at an increased risk and more likely to commit suicide, but since 2015, the statistics have reversed. The UK recently passed the Mental Health Act, which is believed to have reduced the number of suicides overall and specifically caused a decrease in male acts. However, upon closer inspection, the bill does little to help girls and woman with serious psychological issues, as many of those in this position have suffered abuse.
The black community has been much less involved in water sports and activities due to a number of factors, but one alarming factor may be the possibility of getting their hair wet from swimming. Hair, a source of pride and heritage for black women, is responsible for keeping black women and girls in the shallow end because of something supposedly designed to keep hair dry: swim caps. One may think swim caps could be a solution, but they are almost never large enough to cover an afro nor are they fully repellant. There is a call for diverse caps and inclusive instruction as to how to put them on, as this lack of consideration is prohibiting and discriminating black woman from water-based fitness.
With clothing trends going more in the direction of being more revealing, parents are debating how to address concerns of appropriate wear while not body-shaming or slut-shaming their daughters. Different perspectives show a desire to empower their daughters and the anxiety that restricting what they wear will reinforce sexist ideas about sexual assault and harassment, as well as more conservative notions about how girls need to cover up. What seems to be pretty universal, however, is the notion that sensitive language around girls and their bodies is crucial.
Currently, child advocates are concerned that the recent changes in Iraq’s government will allow early marriage advocates to push bills that support their favored age of consent; therefore, causing already alarming child marriage rates to rise even more. A 2017 study by Oxfam, a global anti-poverty group, found “a direct correlation between the rise of child marriage in Iraq and war-induced poverty and terror.” Many of the victims are so young that they are often uneducated and disempowered. Nuha Oum Ahmed states, “breaking away from the thinking that there is some benefit to girls from child marriage is going to take a long time and will demand a comprehensive approach.”
Women's March For All (WMFA), a liberal women's rights group, has urged the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to officially define antisemitism. The group feels that a clear definition is essential to combat a rise in anti-Jewish discrimination in the Democratic party and in liberal movements across the world. WMFA feels that liberals who deny Israel's right to exist are anti-Semitic if they are in favor of self-determination for other oppressed groups.
The City of Joy, located in Bukavu, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is a “transformational leadership community for women survivors of violence.” This community-based program helps women who have been victims of rape and torture due to war in the surrounding areas; the program aims to help them rebuild their lives in order for them to become leaders of their communities. A Netflix documentary by the same name, City of Joy, set to premiere on September 7th, portrays the stories of the many women that make up the City of Joy.
West Brookfield, Massachusetts is gearing up for Lucy Stone’s 200th birthday celebration. Lucy was an outspoken activist in the 19th century, both a feminist and an abolitionist. Despite making great progress in their feminist endeavors, Stone and her companions were silenced in audiences that included men. However, Lucy Stone was determined to have women’s voices heard across all areas and shatter the male resistance to feminism.
On November 6, Tennessee voters will decide whether to elect the state’s first female senator, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn. Six other women will have their electoral fates decided on the same day in Tennessee congressional elections. Blackburn and U.S. Rep. Diane Black are the only two Tennessee women currently serving in the U.S. House. Black lost the GOP gubernatorial nomination, so if Blackburn loses her Senate race, the Tennessee House delegation could become all male again.
The activists responsible for the Women’s March in Chicago this past January are organizing a “March to the Polls 2018.” The March will take place on October 13th, corresponding with the opening of early voting in Illinois. The event aims to engage voters and particularly women, who are “changing outcomes at the ballot box to protect a fragile democracy."
A new Bank of America Merrill Lynch study found that "women are plummeting on the financial wellness scale with more fear and stress than their male counterparts.” According to the report, fewer women are actively investing, and as a result, are falling behind men in their financial wellness. To enable financial confidence and help female investors move forward with investable assets, employers can offer goal-oriented financial advice, provide a company culture wherein women can feel comfortable having conversations about their financial futures and offer mentors and career sponsors.
24-year-old First Lieutenant Marina Hierl has become the first ever woman leading an infantry platoon for the US Marines. With military careers dominated by males, Hierl has 35 male soldiers under her command in the Third Platoon of 4th Echo Company. Amid skepticism among some troops, First Lieutenant Hierl’s promotion came just a year after she became one of only two women to make it through the force’s notoriously challenging 13-week infantry officer course. Women make up just 15% of 1.3 million troops, so Hierl’s promotion is a win for women in this underrepresented field.
Merrimac State High School in Queensland, Australia has an increasing number of girls taking up robotics classes—now up to 40% of the class. One STEAM teacher notes that the past 13 years he has been teaching, “the girls have been top students 10 out of 13 times.” Now, the dedicated high schooler robotic students are running a mentoring program at the primary schools, and teacher Daniel Ricardo sees more girls participating than boys. In October, the students are going to Tokyo to defend their World Summit title.
At a school in Ireland, two families have withdrawn their children from school due to three alleged incidents of a male pupil inappropriately touching female pupils. The first incident occurred in June 2016, the second in June 2017, and the most recent in May this year. The parents of the girls have talked to the principal, the board of management, and the patron, the Bishop of Kerry, and while they all claimed to have followed procedure, the parents are unsatisfied with the responses.
This past Tuesday, Tokyo Medical University apologized after an investigation confirmed that they had altered entrance exam scores for years to maximize the number of male doctors and limit the number of female students. Lawyers involved in the investigation found that the university manipulated all entrance exams starting in 2006, and that the manipulation removed as much as 10% of female applicants in some years. The investigation also said that the school wanted female fewer doctors due to the assumption that they would halt their careers after becoming mothers.
Journalist Vauhini Vara of The Atlantic speaks with NPR about the decline of female leadership in US Companies, specifically after the stepping down of Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsi. Vara discusses the trend lines of female CEOs in the Fortune 500, and the reasons behind the low numbers. She tells NPR that women just aren’t getting promoted to middle management and high ranking leadership positions as swiftly as men, and discusses ways to improve the pipeline to get women promoted to these positions
Now days political messages embedded in fashion are definitely a powerful tool for speaking to younger consumers. As the world we live in continues to change in different ways, our generation is starting to become politically active again. Kids across the world are protesting against Trump’s policies, for LGBTQI advancement, for feminist equality, and against global warming. But we cannot ignore the paradox between the romanticism, style and passion of the 1968 students riot youth movement and luxury fashion designs.
Meet some of the women who are fighting (and blogging) against societal stereotypes and why they believe that aging must be redefined. “I was gobsmacked when Dior announced that Cara Delevingne was going to be the face of their new anti-aging products. She’s 25. The outrage should have been loud but hardly anyone batted an eyelid.” This generation of beauty influencers is setting new rules for the beauty industry by demanding attention that has otherwise been denied due to their age.
The Halal (products that do not contain any pork, animals that were dead prior to slaughtering, blood, alcohol, or carnivorous animals) beauty market is expected to grow from $16.3 to 52 billion by 2025, meet 9 brands that are aiming to provide cosmetics that are ethically sourced and won’t compromise Muslim faith. A few of the features that differentiate Halal products are breathable nail polish (ones that allow water to pass through during prayer rituals) and also products that are certified as cruelty-free. By revolutionizing the traditional market space, these brands are allowing the beauty industry to become more inclusive than ever.
In an unprecedented move, almost all of the cover stars on the coveted September issues of mainstream fashion magazines – including Vogue, Glamour and Elle – are black. It's a powerful statement on beauty, blackness and recognizing cultural tastemakers. Highlighting black women who not only run the gamut in skin tone, hair texture and build, but who are also leaders in their industries, is impressive. It's exciting and brings hope to a year that has felt like a dumpster fire more often than not.
Following the launch of their successful ad campaign promoting real, unretouched women, Aerie continues to break standards by creating training programs for their employees to create a healthy, judgement free shopping experience. A few of the program’s highlights include: an emphasis on finding a bra that makes you feel good instead of sticking to a size by ditching traditional tape measure fittings and a support wall filled with handwritten positive messages from other Aerie girls.
Beyoncé, a self-described feminist and one of the world’s most successful performers, has come under fire after it was rediscovered by many fans that the multi-millionaire’s ‘female empowerment’ label ‘Ivy Park’ employs impoverished labour in sweatshop-like conditions. The brand, touted by feminist blogs as “championing the collective strength of women all over the world”, first came under scrutiny in 2016 when a report by The Sun revealed the very un-empowering conditions many women producing the clothing work in. Many of the garments are made by impoverished Sri Lankan women from remote rural areas making only £4.30 a day across 60-hour weeks. One sewing machine operator told The Sun she cannot survive on her £87 a month wage, just over half the Sri Lankan average