The selfie photograph is potentially profoundly empowering, but as a genre it can also be repetitive and affirming of specific and exclusive ideas about beauty and female self-worth; it all depends on the selfie in question. Amidst the plethora of staged selfie images, one selfie we don’t see very much is a selfie in which a woman’s body is changing unpredictably, and that’s what makes the photographer Sophie Starzenski’s 40 Weeks and a ... Read More
  Yes, you read that correctly: butt song from Hell. Hieronymous Bosch’s enigmatic triptych The Garden of Earthy Delights, created around 1500 AD, features in its right-most panel a vision of Hell, the conclusion to the narrative of the divine Creation, the union of Adam and Eve, and life on Earth. The work is so richly symbolic that scholars have battled over the intentions of even its smallest details; surprisingly, I had yet to read any news on the ... Read More
  On her 32nd birthday, Beth Whaanga was diagnosed with breast cancer; valiantly fighting back against the illness, she asked her friend, the photographer Nadia Masot, to take portraits of her nude body after a double mastectomy and hysterectomy as part of Under the Red Dress, a project designed to spread awareness about regular breast and pectoral examination. The beautiful series of images features Whaanga, a mother of four, gazing fixedly at the camera, ... Read More
  In this week of Facebook lookbacks and overall viral nostalgia, it’s becoming clear that much of our public persona is expressed through the internet, whether we like it or not. So it reasons that we should have all the tools available to make our social media presence as true to ourselves as we wish. This is part of why Facebook’s announcement today is so meaningful: in addition to “Male” and “Female” settings, people ... Read More
Trigger Warning: This post discusses sexual assault In the past year, courageous artists and activists of all genders have addressed rape culture and the topic of sexual assault, coming forward about their own experiences and giving voice to those who have been silenced. Lindsay Bottos, the artist responsible for last week’s viral series Anonymous, is one of those voices; in her powerful series Get Over It, she addresses her own assault and the ... Read More
  “We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world,” writes the nonprofit TED of its conferences, lecture series, and sub-organizations TEDActive, TEDGlobal, TEDYouth, TEDx, TEDIndia, and of course, TEDWomen. Unlike so many open thought conferences, TED has millions of viewers and fans. Given TED’s inclusion of popular feminist thinkers like Sheryl Sandberg, one would expect TED talks to ... Read More
  The photographer Alex John Beck knows faces; his portraits have been featured in New York Magazine and in the ad images of Ralph Lauren. Facial beauty in the cosmetic industry is often thought to be the result of symmetry; fashion and glamour images are often altered to make a model’s face appear more symmetrical. Beck’s new project Both Sides Of takes that definition of beauty to task; by compositing images from his portfolio, the artist ... Read More
  For her undergraduate project Young and Old, the freshman photographer Kelsey Duff photographed two models: the first is 18, and the second is 65. By excluding her subjects’ faces from her close frame, she catalogs the aging process as it might apply to an everywoman figure; despite trademark tattoos and painted toenails, each woman is stripped of clothing and other common markers of individual identity.    Duff’s warm natural ... Read More
  The feminist Twitter goddess Suey Park, responsible for December’s activist hashtag #NotYourAsianSidekick, has a special gift for us: #ActivistPickUpLines. From its inception, feminism has been a complicated uphill battle with its fair share of internal conflict, not to mention that we live in a world where people shy away from the movement because of prejudice and stereotypes; it’s quite refreshing to see some witty feminist conversation making ... Read More
  We’re surrounded with a uniform image of the vulva— in pornography, in erotic art, and even in scientific diagrams. Without access to diverse images, our culture shames women for the shapes and sizes of our labia, clitorises, and vaginas, and more and more women are encouraged to consider invasive procedures like labiaplasty or vaginal rejuvenation surgery. The vagina as an icon is political; it can be used to make women feel objectified and judged, ... Read More