Feminisms

Women in Clothes posterWomen in Clothes and The WORN Archive – New Ways of Writing About Fashion

When smart and creative feminist women take the business of writing about fashion into their own hands – unrestricted by magazine advertisers who, as Gloria Steinem revealed, dictate the contents of women’s fashion magazines to sell products; not influenced by mainstream fashion media that perpetuates impossible and unreal standards of beauty; and unaffected by the patriarchal gaze and objectification of women’s bodies – we get not only a very different kind of literary style and genre, but also a new cultural perspective on fashion.

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Gloria todayGloria Steinem – Happy 80th Birthday and Thank you!

When Gloria Steinem turned 80, on March 25th, 2014, the organizers of the Ms. Foundation for Women, which Steinem founded, asked everyone to submit messages about how Gloria has influenced their lives and work. I’ve been wanting to write a post about Steinem and her work for a long time now, so this was a good incentive.

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HIllary Rodham ClintonHillary Rodham Clinton in Montréal – Dare to Compete!

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Former U.S. Secretary of State and Former U.S. Senator from New York addressed the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montréal at the Palais des Congrès de Montréal on March 18, 2014. The topic of her talk remained undisclosed, and as many of the over 4000 audience members, I expected to hear a talk about international politics from one of the most powerful women in the world, as she contemplates her candidacy in the next presidential elections.

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Everything We Want - BeaEverything We Want – by Beatrice Möller

Berlin documentary filmmaker, Beatrice Möller touched on several cultural nerves in her new film Everything We Want. Born in 1979 in Düsseldorf and raised in Pretoria, South Africa, she made her first documentary in 2003, entitled Omulaule heißt Schwarz (Omulaule means black), followed by Shalom Salam (2006) and Shosholoza Express (2010), which documents a train ride through South Africa and the experience of Apartheid.

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Tina and AmyDe-constructing Patriarchy… in Hollywood

Towards the end of 2012 a few mainstream films were released that mark a new direction in gender dynamics on-screen. Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln (2012), Sacha Gervasi’s Hitchcock (2012), and the HBO production of Philip Kaufman’s Hemingway & Gellhorn (2012) are all untraditional bio-pics about famous men, whose wives are presented as braver, stronger, wiser human beings, who upstage their husbands behind the scenes.

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What most people don’t know about LOVE

Over the last decade, the feminist cultural critic, bell hooks, conducted very thorough research on love, covering all areas of the topic, starting from the need of a shared definition, to providing clarity on confusions about love in all our relationships, going back to our families of origin, and outlining the misconceptions and oppressions upheld by patriarchal structures and ideology. Her books change the way we view love as a society, and call for a more mindful love ethic.
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Shakespeare in the Park – The Taming of the Shrew

Montreal’s Repercussion Theatre‘s Shakespeare-in-the-Park tour presents a “Fellini-esque” re-imagining of play directed by Andrew Shaver and Paul Hopkins. Presented at various parks in and around Montreal  from July 11 to August 5, 2012.

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Chessboxing – Berlin vs. London

Chessboxing, a sport invented in Berlin by Iepe Rubingh, is the ultimate challenge for both the body and the mind. Inspired by fictional depictions by French comic book artist and filmmaker Enki Bilal in his graphic novel Froid Équateur in 1992, the concept was brought to life, first as a performance art, and later as a sports club first in Berlin (CBCB) and now all around the world. The first world championship was held in Amsterdam in 2003. The World Chess Boxing Organization’s (WCBO) primary objective is to promote chessboxing as a self-contained, internationally recognised athletic discipline. The ultimate hope is that chessboxing will one day become the supreme discipline of the Olympic Games.  During a chessboxing fight control of aggression plays a big role. That’s why the WCBO’s motto is: “Fighting is done in the ring and wars are waged on the board.”

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Feminism – a non-word today?

When professional women get together to debate feminism today, the question on most people’s minds is probably: who are the men in the audience? And why aren’t there more younger men there, taking notes? My problem with many feminist discussions (especially in North America) was always that they tend to be somewhat of a bitch-fest in deconstructing patriarchy, while (still, unfortunately) necessary, but so not enough. This particular group of women in their discussion (open and free to the public) at Berliner Festspiele theatre as part of the Theater Treffen 2011 festival proved that we have finally moved from deconstruction to creative and progressive construction of inspiring feminist role models.

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Feminist Inventory

If we were to imagine a post-feminist (or a fourth wave feminist) woman, who would she be? How would she be different from the feminist revolutionaries (second wave)? And what would she teach us about being / becoming a woman today? What would we call her?

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Susan Sontag – Inspiration

The Berlin premiere of a new documentary about Susan Sontag: Thinker and Diva (dir. Birgitta Ashoff, ARTE, 2010, 52min) took place at the Literaturhaus Berlin with the film maker in attendance. The director met with Susan Sontag before her death in New York in 2003, and then went back again after her death in 2010 to interview people who were close to her.

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Sex and the City

Miranda: Do you have a rolling pin?
Carrie: On me?
Miranda: In your kitchen.
Carrie: Are you kidding me, I use my oven for storage!

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Alice does!

What is it about a girl named Alice, who goes on an adventure, that inspires our collective imagination? Alice! A childish story take, /And, with a gentle hand, /Lay it where Childhood’s dreams are twined / In Memory’s mystic band, / Like pilgrim’s wither’d wreath of flowers / Pluck’d in a far-off land. (Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, p.8)

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Mademoiselle Coco

One is not born a woman, one becomes one. Simone de Beauvoir was right. And Coco Chanel showed us how it’s done. With style. Simone de Beauvoir was the first feminist to offer a sustained critique of fashion and femininity, commenting on the “woman of elegance” that “What she treasures is herself adorned, and not the objects that adorn her” (Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex,  1949, p.545).

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Modern Dance and Gender Relations

Rarely are there representations of femininity, even in feminist art, that represent what femininity means to me. Mass media is largely constructed around the spectacle principle, ideologically coded with patriarchal hierarchy, domination, and power struggles. Feminist art, to this day, is more concerned with deconstructing, mocking, mimicking, exaggerating and exposing patriarchy for what it is, rather than constructing positive and inspiring visions of femininity. So what then, are accurate representations of femininity and gender relations today to an audience of 20 to 40 year old “third-wave-feminists”?

One Response to Feminisms

  1. Pingback: Gloria Steinem – Happy 80th Birthday and Thank You! | Suites Culturelles

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