It’s the first post of March, and March is Women’s History Month.
Last year I approached the celebration categorically, assembling postcards in honor of Art by Women , Women of Music, Women who Dance, Film Fatales, Women of Words, and funny girls. I also included a number of biographies.
This year, I thought I’d take the opposite approach, lumping it all together and letting the postcards–all of women and girls–mostly speak for themselves.
I asked myself whether it was wise to include photographs, paintings, etc. by men. Reviewing the images I chose created by men, I decided to keep them in the series because they were all positive portrayals in which the women often met our gaze and even laughed. No voyeuristic Degas bathers here. Further, I believe allyship is a powerful force for social justice.
The bigger question was whether the entire selection was misguided. Previously I’d focused on forms of women’s self expression. If I was now selecting postcards just because they were of women, was the result just a gallery of women to ogle? My hope is that the wide variety of portraits and scenes represent a breadth of female experience throughout time and place.
“Claude Lalanne places another giant sardine into its giant tin, preparing her sculpture exhibit at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in East London. June 3, 1976.”Louise Brooks, 1928. Photograph by Eugene Robert RicheeJosephine Baker, France, c. 1930. Photograph by R. Sobolby Michelle Caplanby Miss Christine Wu (The postcard is indeed square, I didn’t crop it)The late Shirley Temple in her costume for “Heidi” 1937Portrait of Aletta Hanemans by Frans Hals, 1625by Shaun Berke, from the exhibit “Sisters of the Inquisition”“Prayers performed as part of a tooth-filing ceremony in Peliatan.”(If you haven’t already, be sure to see this fabulous documentary.)Janis Joplin, Port Arthur, Texas, 1969. Photograph by Richard Avedon
“A group of hard-working, colourful Lisu tribal girls in Thailand take a rare moment free from household chores.”Two Women at a Window by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, c. 1655-16601942, photographer unknown(Amsterdam tattoo museum)“Lambretta invites you for a free test ride! See and judge or yourself the elegance of styling–the ease of handling–the perfect balance of this marvel of modern engineering.”Ella Fitzgerald, Beverly Hills, 1988. Photograph by Annie LeibovitzAnne Sexton, Newton Lower Falls, Massachusetts, 1961.
Photograph by Rollie McKenna
Girl with a Pearl Earringby Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665Georgia O’Keeffe with skull, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, 1939.
Photograph by John Candelario.early c. 18th century India, probably MughalDancers in Puluwat, MicronesiaThe GreengrocerJames Pollard, c. 1819Pancake race, Shrove Tuesday, c. 1950