How Do We See Ourselves?

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I take black-and-white photos of women and then ask them to write, in their own words, how they feel about the way they look in the photo. The woman’s photo and her words become one piece that stands on its own, with no editing and filtering. The viewer, first attracted to the photo, is then […]

Sex and Suffering: The Tragic Life of the Japanese Courtesan

In a detail from Utagawa Toyokuni’s hanging scroll, “Courtesan in Her Boudoir,” a woman puts herself back together after having sex. (From the John C. Weber Collection, image © John Bigelow Taylor)

This article is excerpted with permission from Collectors Weekly It’s difficult to get a window into the world of Edo-Period Japanese prostitutes without the gauzy romantic filter of the male gaze. The artworks in the new San Francisco Asian Art Museum exhibition, “Seduction: Japan’s Floating World,” were made by men for men, the patrons of the Yoshiwara […]

A New Feminist Book Once a Month? Yes, Please!

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While many have argued that the rise of sites like Amazon.com killed the indie bookstore, one enterprising pair of young women are using the popularity of e-books to carve out a space for feminist authors online. Emily Gould and Ruth Curry founded Emily Books in 2011 while both at professional crossroads. Currently, Curry works in academic publishing and Gould, a […]

Are Divergents Feminists in Disguise?

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Last year the first film of the Divergent series made close to $200 million, putting it almost in league with The Hunger Games. While the latter dystopian trilogy, featuring the intrepid Katniss Everdeen, is richer and more politically nuanced, the Divergent series—now weighing in with a second film, Insurgent—also offers relevant political critique and a realistic […]

Ava DuVernay: Focusing the Lens on Equality

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This March, for Women’s History Month, the Ms. Blog is profiling Wonder Women who have made history—and those who are making history right now. Join us each day as we bring you the stories of iconic and soon-to-be-famous feminist change-makers. Fusing social consciousness and stunning artistry, director, writer and producer Ava DuVernay‘s well of emotionally […]

“The Lazarus Effect” Is No “Frankenstein”

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The Lazarus Effect focuses on reviving the dead—hardly a new concept—and few texts have done as well as Mary Shelley’s 1818 Frankenstein. The Lazarus Effect is no Frankenstein, but, as in that novel, betrayal, questionable ethics and a fascination with the possibilities of science frame the narrative. The plot follows a team of medical scientists […]

Subverting the “Girlie” Calendar: March

Zanele Muholi

Ms. March On windy nights in March, her stars align, like satin stitches neatly placed in rows, and for a moment, though the rough wind blows, her needlepoint is part of the design. A “girlie calendar” makes one think of men’s lockers, walls of auto repair shops or a military barracks: They’re typically collections of […]

Interview: The Activist Survivors of “The Hunting Ground”

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It’s strange to think of Annie Clark and Andrea Pino as “stars” of the new documentary The Hunting Ground, since their “stardom” arose from traumatic real-life experiences. But they’re indeed the main protagonists of this game-changing film about campus rape, which opened yesterday today in New York and Los Angeles (and, in two weeks, in Boston, […]

“It Follows”: A Horror Film That Doesn’t Blame the Victim for Having Sex

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It Follows has an uncanny eye for detail, using jump cuts, long takes and a heavy musical score to build a horror/arthouse film that suggests very ominous things about sexuality, sexual agency and sexual coercion/abuse. The second film from director David Robert Mitchell, It Follows draws upon ’70s and ’80s horrors flicks, filling the screen […]

Where Are All the Women in Ai Weiwei’s New Exhibition?

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When I walked into the New Industries Building where the Ai Weiwei @Large exhibit is housed on Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay, I was greeted by a giant Chinese dragon. Suspended from the ceiling, it snaked through the prison’s old work space, where model prisoners were once allowed to sew uniforms or do […]