In this week’s Wednesday Five: how the women of ‘Hamilton’ are changing Broadway; a new documentary “Her Story” looks at women’s achievements; the Vogue documentary on last year’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’; Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy dreams of a second Oscar; and the 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin meets the Obamas.
How the Women of ‘Hamilton’ are Changing Broadway
If you watched the Grammy’s this year, you saw the stunning performance by the cast of Hamilton and the equally vibrant acceptance speech by the show’s creator and star Lin Manuel for Best Musical Theater Album.
Well, it turns out the critics are having a field day with the role, presence and prominence of the two women characters that surround Hamilton —the Schuyler sisters, Angelica and Eliza, who are engulfed in a love triangle with the leading man. If you think this is cliche — think again, says Constance Grady of Vox. She writes that the portrayal of the two women is actually a feminist one.
Hamilton does depart from the typical love triangle structure when it comes time to designate one of the women as good and the other as bad. The show has no interest in doing so, and it can be shocking to realize this. Watching Hamilton for the first time it is easy to anticipate . . . that because Eliza is “genteel” she must be “therefore dull,” or that because Angelica is politically intelligent she must be angry and shrill, as Noonan is pleasantly surprised to find she is not. Instead, Hamilton treats both its women with respect and admiration. It operates on the assumption that both of these characters are important, that the different ways they perform femininity are valid, and that their contributions to history are valuable.
Read the full commentary at Vox.
New Documentary “Her Story” on Women’s Achievements
This new documentary “Her Story” shares a global perspective on where women are today. It aims to be more than a documentary about women’s progress but an audit of the staggering leaps women have made to attain that progress. The four-part series highlights the advancement made by women over the last 50 years in influencing economies, spearheading companies and driving social change.
- It’s been quite a relief to see how many iconic women turn 40+ with style, and we celebrate them all at WVFC. And we’re not the only ones: this week, Jihan Forbes at Fashionista.com chimes in with 42 of Naomi Campbell’s magazine covers, to celebrate the 42nd birthday of the always-mesmerizing supermodel. “No matter what she does, whether she’s throwing a cell phone at your head, judging a reality show, or starring in Cavalli ads, it’s safe to say that at 42, Naomi Campbell is still fierce. With every photo shoot, public appearance, or turn down the catwalk, she still keeps us interested. And we love her for it. So, here’s to you Ms. Campbell: You’re 42 years old, and don’t look a day over 27. Cheers!” Click over for more, including covers that might bring you back to the future.
- NYU’s Rosie the Riveter Project keeps popping up in unexpected places—just like Rosie herself during World War II. On Memorial Day weekend, the Ad Council (responsible for legendary ads like “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires”) began a Rosie campaign, celebrating on Facebook and elsewhere the work of the agency J. Walter Thompson, as well as the Rosies themselves: “The most successful advertising recruitment campaign in American history, this powerful symbol recruited two million women into the workforce to support the war economy. The underlying theme was that the social change required to bring women into the workforce was a patriotic responsibility for women and employers. Those ads made a tremendous change in the relationship between women and the workplace. Employment outside of the home became socially acceptable and even desirable.” The new campaign also features a “Rosify Yourself” tool, which enables you to insert your own photo into that iconic poster.
- From women’s history to making history now, this list of “The Most Powerful Women in the World You Likely Don’t Know” was both educational and inspiring. In addition to somewhat-familiar faces such as the SEC’s Mary Schapiro, the list plucks others from around the world: “As New Zealand’s prime minister, Helen Clark oversaw a decade of economic growth and won three straight terms in her post after a long career as a Labour Party legislator and cabinet minister. Less than a year following her departure as Kiwi prime minister, however, Clark turned to a much larger—and more challenging—stage: Since 2009, she has led the U.N. Development Program (UNDP), the arm of the United Nations charged with confronting the world’s worst problems, from global poverty to corrupt governance to health and environmental crises.”
- We wonder if WVFC’s fine-arts editor Suzanne knows about the dynamite duo at Kinc, Katherine Ross and Karen Zssis, who for over 20 years have prided themselves on “creating award winning designs that deliver, turning imaginative ideas into real-world objects with a “WOW!” factor that keeps people talking.” We learned about it from cartoonist Nicole Hollander, who features at Bad Girl Chats a stunning photo essay featuring the “Two extraordinary women [who] are the heart, mind and hard work behind Kinc” AND their latest project: “They just completed work on murals for the cardiac care wing of the new Lurie’s Children Hospital in Chicago.” Click over to see their stunning new work, as well as some irresistible shots (to us) of women with power tools.
- We don’t mean to become the Anna Wintour Fan Site all of a sudden, but Connie Wang at Refinery29 this week gave us cause to remember her movie avatar, Meryl Streep—and a scene that had us, at least looking at our clothes a little differently. “There’s that infamous cerulean speech from The Devil Wears Prada that introduced a lot of the world to fashion’s domino-line of production. But, in reality, the process that puts a look on the runway, debuts it in stores, and then gets that exact look replicated for a fraction of the original cost is much more complicated, more calculated, and—dare we say it?—a little more menacing than even Miranda Priestly. How exactly is it that a look can go from the runway to the $20 sale rack in just a few months?And how is it legal?” Click over to find out. And in case you don’t know what we meant, here’s that priceless Meryl moment:
This week, blogs cheered Anna Wintour’s appearance on Stephen Colbert’s TV show, shared new better-vision technologies, and laughed sadly at French feminists’ satirical slam at the Cannes Film Festival.
- Seems like just yesterday that we were mourning Oscar’s exclusion of women directors from the awards; we were unsurprised, if annoyed, when Cannes followed suit in its lineup for this summer. At least, reports Melissa at Women and Hollywood, the French group Le Barbe didn’t take it lying down, declaring that festival organizers “show us once again that ‘men are fond of depth in women, but only in their cleavage.'” The manifesto on the subject from the group, a sort of Guerrilla Grrls for French culture, also applauds the Cannes committee for its consistency: “With great understanding of the monumental importance of such an event, you were able to dissuade women from aspiring to set foot in this well-guarded scene. Above all, never let the girls think they can someday have the presumptuousness of making movies or to climb those famous Festival Palace steps except when attached to the arm of a Prince Charming.” Click over for the rest, which is equally hilarious and damning.
- Our spring series about volunteerism has featured the Peace Corps, museum volunteers, and competitive literacy coaching. But we hadn’t had a chance to check in with Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, who offers at Huffington Post 50 a rousing endorsement of the Senior Corps, which deploys more than 330,000 Americans ages 55 and older: “Last year, Senior Corps volunteers served 96.2 million hours, making a difference in the lives of more than 700,000 elderly people who received assistance to remain independent in their homes; and more than 300,000 young people who received one-on-one tutoring and mentoring that improved their academic performance, self-esteem and overall social behavior.” That’s a heck of a lot of people power. Is some of it yours?
- Not every gizmo-for-seniors hawked on the ‘Net is worth our time, but Ronni Bennett at Time Goes By noticed something that might be brilliant for failing vision: “The device is called an Implantable Miniature Telescope, and it works by expanding images that hit the eyes onto areas of the retina that are unaffected by macular degeneration. After being implanted into the cornea, the implant works to correct the darkening of the middle of the wearer’s field of vision.” Click over for more explanation, and images of the possible bionic eye.
- Has Dominique Browning’s Moms Clean Air Force heard about this clean-air lawsuit by kids? Our Alexandra MacAaron writes about it in her parenting blog Lovin’ the Alien: “As reported in The Atlantic, the suit Alec L. et. al vs. Lisa P. Jackson et. al demands that the Environmental Protection Agency reduce carbon dioxide emissions by six percent per year going forward. The plaintiffs (five high school students) argue that under ‘the public trust doctrine,’ the government should be forced to step up, accept responsibility and affect change.” MacAaron likens it to an old episode of Star Trek in which children rule a planet, calling adults useless “Grups,” and challenges us to do better: “I ask you. Conservative or Liberal, Democrat or Republican . . . what is the legacy we are leaving our children? Debate doesn’t seem to work. Neither does scientific evidence or statistical projections. Sure, the Grups have a lot of excuses for inaction. But, this week, a group of kids are saying, ‘Yeah, yeah. Tell it to the judge.’ ” Click over for more, including how to help.
- We’ve been big boosters of the New York City Metropolitan Museum’s newest jewelry show (gallery photo above); we reported on it in last week’s Wednesday 5 via Fashionista.com. Fashionista wasn’t the only one covering last week’s opening gala, hosted by the inimitable Anna Wintour of Vogue—or noticing Wintour’s defense of jewelry-as-art on The Colbert Report. At The Gloss, Jessica Pauline Ogilvie called Wintour’s appearance on the Report “possibly the most epic of celebrity pairings to ever grace the small screen,” and recommends that readers not rush through the clip below: “I suggest you hang on to this until you’re off work, then sit down with a nice glass of wine and really soak it in. Soak it the f**k in.” We agree.