Category Archives: Feminism

Women Artists at the SAM

Last year the Seattle Art Museum had an exhibit of women artists. People like Frieda Kahlo and Tamara de Lempicka. Of course photos weren’t allowed in the travelling exhibit. Fortunately SAM also curated a collection of women artists’ work from their permanent collection–and I took photos of those.

I wait for the day when artists are artists, regardless of gender and we don’t need a special event just to give women the opportunity to have their art seen. However, male artists still seem to dominate galleries and I was grateful for the chance to see so many talented women’s creations who would otherwise be in the shadow of their male peers.

Suzy Frelinghuysen

Suzy Frelinghuysen

Maude Irving Kerns

Maude Irving Kerns

Maude Irving Kerns

Another Maude Irving Kerns

Lee Krasner

Lee Krasner

Joan Mitchell

Joan Mitchell

Helen Frankenthaler

Helen Frankenthaler

Ghada Amer

Ghada Amer

Charmiond von Wiegand

Charmiond von Wiegand

Alice Trumbull Mason

Alice Trumbull Mason

Abie Loy Kamerre

Abie Loy Kamerre

To say that these artists are similar to Rothko, Klee, Kandinsky, Picasso, Gris, or others doesn’t serve these women. They are all amazing artists in their own right, regardless of their male counterparts.

Some, like Abie Loy Kamerra and Ghada Amer are working today. Others, like Suzy Frelinghuysen and Joan Mitchell, painted in the mid- to latter part of the 20th Century. They hail from France, America, Egypt, Australia and beyond. If some of these jump out at you, I encourage you to look up the artists online and learn more about them. There’s a treasure trove of great artists to discover!

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Filed under Art, Events, Feminism

Stripes and Dots

Here’s a #TBT (Throwback Thursday) post for ya, taken about a year ago (before I stopped growing out my hair and started snipping it bit by bit until it was short again). I don’t mind posting this so late because I plan on wearing this tomorrow. It still works.

black and white

Sweater: Thrifted
Skirt: Ililana (via flea market)
Tights: Roots Canada
Faux suede booties: Old Navy
Pleather cuff: Etsy

I enjoy pattern mixing (is that still a thing?), especially when the look is monochrome. If everything is black and white, it has to work! Here, I paired a well-work black and white striped sweater with a Swiss dot wrap-around circle skirt.

stripes and dots

I love adding a pop of color and I thought the red cuff did the trick. I read recently that some clueless company in Norway made their female employees wear red bracelets during “that time of the month” so managers would know why they were taking extra bath room breaks. Ridiculous! Talk about TMI and “none of your business.: Well for better or worse, I think about that story whenever I reach for this bracelet. Then, I often decide not to wear it. Well, this is purely a fashion statement. I am discouraged to hear of such backward practices from an otherwise forward-thinking nation.

pattern mixing

Back to the outfit! I bought this skirt at a flea market in Brooklyn. It was new, from a company called Ililanga, but I can’t find them online anywhere. I guess you’ll have to go to Brooklyn to see their collection of skirts and dresses. I like the length and shape but I think a midi needs to be worn with heels–so that’s what I did.

I’ve joined a linkup at Fashion Should be Fun. See what everyone else is wearing!

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The Dee Dees and Hell’s Belles at Neumos

Last weekend I went to a show at a club in Seattle called Neumos. It’s a great venue with a constant lineup of excellent musicians. The show I saw was no exception.

My friend Kirsten was in the Dee Dees, an all-female Ramones cover band.

Kirsten rocking out

They were great! The Dee Dees got the crowd hopping and singing along to familiar songs like 53rd and 3rd, Beat on the Brat, and I Wanna Be Sedated.

The Dee Dee's

Dee Dees

I loved it! I sang along, and I was really impressed with all the musicians in the band, the energy they brought to the club, and the response from the audience.

lead singer

the bassist

The second band, Hell’s Belles, is a local favorite. I’d seen them before and I know they have a big following in Seattle. They’re an all female AC/DC tribute band and even Angus Young knows of them!

Hell's Belles

Thy didn’t disappoint. They’re tight, talented, and have a stage presence that will keep an audience engaged. The songs they covered included Thunderstruck, Problem Child, and Back in Black. The lead singer pointed the mic at audience members on occasion so they could join in and sing the lyrics.

Hell's Belles

She also prove to be multitalented, at one point singing into a hand-held mic while autographing a poster to a guy in the front row.

rhythm guitarist

There have been a few members rotate through Hell’s Belles but the lead guitarist is a constant. She delivers an impressive and energetic performance and work the crowd. She spends every moment running around the stage, head banging and flinging her blonde dreads around, and giving everyone their money’s worth. Not to mention she has mad guitar skills!

lead guitarist

If you ever have a chance to see the Dee Dees or Hell’s Belles, don’t pass it up. You’ll be in for a very rock ‘n’ roll good time!

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Filed under Events, Feminism, Music

Backwards Top for Work

I put together an outfit for work recently and after taking the first shot for this blog I realized I wouldn’t be wearing the top to the office. As much as I like it, this is not a neckline for reaching across desks, grabbing paper off the copier, or picking errant pens off the floor (all of which I seem to do on a daily basis).

before

Top: H&M
Skirt: Una
Socks: Fred Meyer’s
Shoes: John Fluevog
Necklace: DIY
Cuff: Greenbelts

So I ran inside and flipped the shirt around. Now the neckline is more suited for a place of business. I’ll leave the low-cut tops for date night.

after

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a fan of modesty*, and I’m not ashamed of who I am and what I look like. But at work, I like to be professional and focus on my job.

low back

* I don’t like the term modesty because I feel like it blames women for how they look and makes them responsible for how others perceive them. It puts the onus on us to “protect” men from temptation. That said, I like to class it up, not down, and make style more about the way I put clothes together, not how much skin I show. I could go on and on, but that’s a post for another day.

I’ve linked up with Transatlantic Blonde for WIWW. Check out what the others are wearing!

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Filed under Dress Up Dress Down, Fashion, Feminism

Halloween Costume: Rosie the Riveter

We can do it!

Jean as Rosie the Riveter

And I did. Many thanks to Cable Car Couture for giving me the idea of a simple, DIY costume. This Rosie the Riveter look cost me $1.89 (only because I had to buy the bandana at a craft store). I love this look because it’s simple to assemble and instantly recognizable, it’s work appropriate (I can’t go to the office dressed as a French maid!), and it’s given me ideas beyond Halloween.

For example, I want to wear headscarves on a regular basis now. I just might turn rockabilly. This is so fun to wear and a great trick when growing out a short hairdo.

head to toe denim

Another reason I liked this costume idea is because of the sartorial and feminist implications. Here, I’m a literal and figurative blue-collar worker. That got me thinking about two things: women in the workforce, and the history of denim. I’ll start with denim: In the 1870s, Levi Strauss created cotton canvas pants. The 501s went on to become the world’s best-selling item of clothing. Perhaps it’s because they were durable, practical, and riveted.

Blue jeans were a working class staple that cowboys and railway workers wore. But by World War II, they were an essential commodity and sold only to people in defense–like Rosie!

red headscarf

Rosie is an icon. She represents the thousands of American women who worked in factories during the War, often replacing positions of men who were off to battle. After the war, women were expected to return to more traditional duties in the home or in secretarial roles. Many did, but not all. It was the beginning of an important shift in women’s economic power.

On a personal note, my grandmother worked in a factory in England during WWII. She was just a teen when she made airplane engine parts. I’ll write about her soon. It’s an incredible thought to be a schoolgirl one day, and building bombers the next.

Rosie halloween costume

What a lot of inspiration from a simple costume. Thanks again to Cable Car Couture! Oh, and I joined ColorBlind’s special Halloween linkup. Check out the entries here. I’m also participating in Transatlantic Blonde’s WIWW linkup. All those entries are here.

Happy Halloween!

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Filed under DIY, Events, Fashion, Feminism, Thrifty

Merled Dress: Third Time’s a Charm

The first and second times I wore this dress I was busted taking pictures of myself. D’oh! This time no one spotted me. I posed in front of a movie theater on the way to work because people don’t usually watch movies in the morning.

black and gray

Dress: TJ Maxx
Belt: TJ MAxx
Tights: Hue
Necklace: H&M
Ring: Crazy Harry’s
Boots: John Fluevog

I’m wearing the dress with blue tights again but I changed the boots and accessories. I think the Fluevogs make this outfit funkier and less dressy.

I bought this necklace at H&M. It reminded me of necklaces I made as a kid using pieces of colorful drinking straws threaded with yarn. This is made of silver-tone plastic tubing and black string. A grown-up version.

necklace

This ring was a great find in Florida. I like how it looks like diamonds but was only $5. I’m guessing they’re fake. Oh well.

ring

On a more serious note, I read about a new law being proposed in Indonesia that intends to ban mini skirts because they’re “pornographic.” This makes me so irate! The country’s parliamentary speaker blamed women’s attire for rape and said, “You know what men are like. Provocative clothing will make them do things.”

I’m sick of victim-blaming. It’s not just Indonesia. The SlutWalks that started in Canada and spread around the world draw attention to the same issues women face on every continent. As though modestly dressed women are never assaulted. As though men can’t take responsibility for themselves.

When I wear a short skirt or dress, I think of the progress we’ve made and the distance we still have to go.

merled dress

Note: I wrote this post up a couple of days ago. Imagine my surprise when I found out that April 3 is the first anniversary of SlutWalk and is the International Day Against Victim Blaming.

slutwalk

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Filed under Ethical, Events, Fashion, Feminism, Thrifty

Remembering Zelda Kaplan

The world lost a fashion icon last night. Zela Kaplan died as she lived: enjoying the nightlife and being part of the fashion community. She was in the front row of a Joanna Mastroianni fashion show when she passed away. She was 95.

Zelda Kaplan c/o Ari SethCohen

Zelda in 2011 (courtesy of Ari Seth Cohen http://advancedstyle.blogspot.com)

I never met Ms. Kaplan, but I’d seen photos of her and read about her in The Village Voice and Advanced Style. I loved her attitude and Chutzpah. I valued that she enjoyed living life to the fullest and having fun, but that she was also caring and concerned for others.

She travelled the world and was an outspoken advocate of human rights. She fought against female genital mutilation in Africa and Southeast Asia and helped educate women about birth control.

On trips abroad, Ms. Kaplan would pick up fabrics and bring them home. She designed her own clothes and was often seen around New York in tunics and hats with African prints. She slept in until mid-afternoon and was out all night. She was a regular and favorite at many exclusive nightclubs. She was always welcomed past the velvet ropes where she would rub elbows with designers and celebrities.

Most often though, she was treated as a celebrity. People wanted to be near her. She had a lust for life and an energy that people a quarter of her age couldn’t match. A lover of arts and fashion she squeezed several lives into her 95 years. She was a professional golfer and a ballroom dancer before she became the world’s oldest club kid.

She proved age is just a number and that you’re only as old as you feel. She had a life well-lived and will be missed.

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Bare-faced Beauty Challenge

Here’s a challenge that had me nervous: Franca at Oranges and Apples proposed a “no makeup” post for Fashion Friend Beauty Friday. I don’t normally wear a lot of makeup, but I have a few standbys. I’m comfortable going without cosmetics at home or walking my dog, but to show the whole world? Wow! It’s the most I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone since I confessed my age.

bare-faced

wet hair

Here’s the trap I fall into: I need sunscreen, so I slather it on. Then I realize the lotion has made me shiny, so I add powder. The powder makes my eyelashes lighter, so I add eyeliner and mascara. And I’m addicted to lip balm, so I wear that. It’s not that I plan to wear a lot of makeup.

Straight out of the shower (and indoors where SPF isn’t required) is the only time I can avoid the trap. I also thought I should forgo hair products too and be 100% natural for the photos.

air-dried

Sometimes though, it’s fun to get dolled up. I like wearing lipstick and eye shadow. It’s also good sometimes to take a step back and not rely on makeup. If too many months go by and I haven’t gone bare-faced, I start to feel like I need all the extras. I don’t want to feel like makeup is vital. I need to remember that I’m not made of plastic. It’s good to see skin.

I started to wear light makeup in junior high. In high school, I started to wear more and, as a result, I often passed for older than I was. As a fledgling feminist in university, I “stuck it to the Man” and abandoned makeup for a while. But I made peace with cosmetics when I realized they don’t define my beliefs.

Now, I appreciate a good concealer and I like lipstick. Interestingly, most guys don’t “get” makeup, and my boyfriends have often preferred me without it.

What’s your relationship with makeup? Do you wear it every day? Sometimes? Never? What product can’t you live without?

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Youth, Body Image and Aging

Youth is the one thing worth having.” ~ Oscar Wilde

It’s not news that we live in a youth- and beauty-obsessed culture. Look around. Society values young, pretty people. If we aren’t young, we better at least look it (and we better be thin and hot). The market for Botox, fillers and other time-freezers show that. And no matter what age you are, you’d better be pretty in a culturally sanctioned way.

mini dress

I'm laughing because I'm wearing a mini well past my prime

So what’s that got to do with me? Well, as my 40th birthday approaches, I’ve started thinking about youth, body image, and aging. I am actually happy to be reaching this milestone. I am actually more confident than I was in my 20s.

It’s hard for me to admit my age on this blog. I don’t want to be discounted by the younger blogging community, silly as that sounds. So it’s cathartic to share how old I am (39) and when I’ll hit the big four-oh (December).

I don’t mind getting older, but I struggle with the idea of looking my age. I’m happy with my body, but I think of ways to prevent wrinkles. The sunscreen isn’t because I fear skin cancer; the sunglasses aren’t because they match my shirt.

That’s the world we live in. A youth-obsessed place.

wheel
Shorts, tights, heels? They’re going to lock me up!

I used to have age limits on what’s acceptable. As a ten-year-old, I was sure that by 30 I’d be wearing frumpy suits. As a 25-year-old, I was prepared to give away my mini skirts within the decade.

But now, as I’ve gotten older, I’m embracing things that I “shouldn’t” be enjoying. I dressed more conservatively 15 years ago than I do now. Now I don’t worry as much and I have more fun. Today, I care less about what others think of my fashion choices, the things I do and the way I act—and that’s liberating.

I’m also making a point of bucking trends. This past spring I read an article about a silly study that shared the ages at which women should stop wearing certain things. Here’s an excerpt of the list:

  • Bikini, 47
  • Miniskirt, 35
  • Boob Tube, 33
  • Stilettos, 51
  • Belly button piercing, 35
  • Knee high boots, 47
  • Trainers, 44
  • Leather trousers, 34
  • Leggings, 45
  • Ugg boots, 45
  • Swimsuit, 61
  • Tight vest, 44
  • See-through chiffon blouse, 40
  • Long hair, 53
  • Ponytail, 51

I’m on a new mission to wear all of those items, well past the “expiration date” given to them. With two exceptions: Uggs (which I think are repulsive, style-wise, on anyone regardless of age) and a belly button piercing (I don’t have one and I don’t want one; I will keep my nose ring indefinitely and keep getting tattoos and I think that counts).

So far, I’ve got to write a few outfit post of me in a miniskirt, boob tube (I think that’s the British word for a tight, strapless top), leather trousers (I will if I can find a vegan alternative), and a see-through chiffon blouse. I’m already not supposed to wear those things (But I will. Just wait!).

So it’s obvious I don’t follow others (or perhaps I like to question authority). As far as fighting aging in other ways, well, I do want to look and feel my best. I eat well and I exercise. I don’t dye my hair (at the moment), although I have. I personally don’t want to be gray and will dye it when that happens. I don’t want Botox or collagen injections. I want to age gracefully. I want to show people that beauty and aging can coexist. I want to be comfortable in my own skin. Confidence and joy are fantastic accessories.

How do you feel about aging? How do you “fight” or “embrace” it? Is there something you’ve learned by getting older? As Oscar Wilde said, “I’m not young enough to know everything.”

~

This a twofer: This post is part of the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival, hosted by the National Organization of Women and it’s part of the Feminist Fashion Bloggers monthly group post (which happens to be about Youth and Aging this time). I’m attempting to feed two birds with one hand (and trying to substitute a non-violent expression for the “kill two birds…” saying; it has yet to take off). While I wait for that to happen, check out their sites and see what others have to say.

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We Still Love Lucy

Today would have been Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday. She died close to a quarter century ago, but in her 77 years, she changed the face of television.

lucy mural in Jamestown

Lucille Ball is most well-known for the character she played on I Love Lucy and The Lucy Show. But she did more than star in those shows; she had one of the longest-running careers in Hollywood. She was a model, a radio actress, and a movie star (of over 40 films, mostly B movies) before becoming a TV and movie producer and the star of her own shows.

another lucy mural in Jamestown

When Ball helped develop I Love Lucy, she brought her then-husband, Desi Arnaz, onboard. The two formed Desilu Productions, which made Ball the first woman in television to be head of a production company.

Desilu pioneered a number of television production methods still in use today. For example, they filmed I Love Lucy before a live studio audience with a three-camera setup, and used distinct sets next to each other. They shot on film, not kinescopes, meaning the quality of their show was never degraded. That’s part of the reason why it’s still in syndication today (well that and its astounding, universal appeal). Fortunately, Desilu negotiated to retain the rights to the film footage of I Love Lucy, meaning that after its initial broadcast, CBS no longer owned the show. As a result, Desilu made millions of dollars on rebroadcasts.

lucy and desi in Jamestown

Desilu produced several other shows too. Lucille Ball, with her years of experience in Hollywood, knew how to pick a show that audiences would love. Desilu produced The Untouchables, Star Trek, Mission: ImpossibleThe Dick Van Dyke Show, and The Andy Griffith Show, and the first seven seasons of My Three Sons.

lucy images on a brick wall in Jamestown

Lucille Ball was a pioneer in other ways too. She married a man six years her junior—and an interracial marriage at that. At a time when women married young and had kids young, Ball was almost forty when she had her first child.

Ball and Arnaz wrote the pregnancy into the show. It’s hard to believe now, but at that time there weren’t any pregnant TV characters. At first, CBS refused to  show a pregnant woman on television. They finally allowed the pregnancy storyline, but banned the word pregnant. The approved term was expecting.

Lucille Ball is known as a funny woman, but she was also beautiful, smart, and talented. She was an excellent businesswoman and influenced the path of the women in the film industry. This weekend, in her birthplace of Jamestown, NY, Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday is in full swing. My parents are there celebrating. In fact, the pictures in this post are courtesy of them. They’re all taken in Jamestown—except this last one, which I found yesterday in Everett, WA. Proof that all over the country—and the world—people still love Lucy.

lucy mural in everett washington

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