“The Dinner Party” Has a Permanent Home: The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art opened today at the Brooklyn Museum, with the stunning exhibit “The Dinner Party” by Judy Chicago as the star attraction.

The center’s first exhibit, “Pharaohs, Queens and Goddesses” (March 23–Sept. 16), is dedicated to powerful women from Egyptian history, including Hatshepsut, one of the few Egyptian female rulers. “Global Feminisms” (March 23-July 1) is the first international exhibition exclusively dedicated to feminist art from 1990 to the present. It includes art created by 88 young female artists from 49 countries.

Speaking to the AP a few days before the opening, Sackler said that when she thinks of feminist values, she envisions “equality, equity, justice.”

“I see those values in feminism; those are part of what feminist art addresses and speaks to,” she said.

We Have Seen the Future, And it is Designed by Men: Or so one would think after looking at the line-up for “New Yorker Conference 2012: Stories From the Near Future,” a two-day affair at which New Yorker writers and editors “will introduce you to the minds that will make a difference in the coming years.” Only five of the 32 participants currently listed are women, two of whom are New Yorker staff writers. The conference is sponsored by Microsoft and CIT Group Inc.

Rachel Carson’s Rebirth: “Before global warming was hot and Al Gore was cool, there was Rachel Carson, the maverick marine biologist from Silver Spring who sounded an environmental-awareness alarm. Memories of her work return periodically to remind us how far we have come in making the world a safer place, and how far we have to go,” writes Linton Weeks in the Washington Post.

The latest reminder: A 1963 “CBS Reports” episode, “The Silent Spring of Rachel Carson,” was shown this week at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., as part of the Environmental Film Festival. The screening — possibly the first time the episode has been shown since its original air date — is part of a month-long exhibit of documents commemorating the centennial year of Carson’s birth.

“With the underlying reportage of Eric Sevareid’s investigative team, the TV report validates Carson’s findings,” writes Weeks. “And the world around us — with the collapse of bee colonies, reduced fish populations and other natural deteriorations — validates Carson’s warnings, says Diana Post, executive director of the Rachel Carson Council in Silver Spring.”

Read more about the story behind Carson’s most famous book, “Silent Spring,” at the NRDC’s website.

Iraq Debate Omits Women: At WIMN’s Voices, a media-monitoring group blog produced by Women in Media & News, journalist Laura Flanders notes the absence of women’s voices on the Iraq debate: “Tim Russert seems his most relaxed, when -– as again on March 18 -– he’s surrounded by white men. Russert’s not the only one, on the day before the anniversary of the invasion, three out of five Sunday TV news shows featured no women at all. The sole female on ABC was Senator Dianne Feinstein. Fox News Sunday included one woman on their panel of five, and she was representing Barack Obama.”

You Look Gorgeous When You’re Dead: Jennifer Pozner, executive director of WIMN, comments on a recent episode of “America’s Next Top Model,” in which the models posed as copses at gruesome crime scenes and judges complimented their “authentic” interpretations of being stabbed, shot and drowned. Here’s more commentary from Tracy Clark-Flory at Salon’s Broadsheet.

An Easter Dress and Social History: Guy Trebay of The New York Times describes the Easter holiday cherry dress as “a rare item whose existence rebukes the cult of novelty, some fine and simple product that seems never to change.” But this story is about much more than fashion design:

For 50 years, the cherry dress has been a consistent best seller at the Woman’s Exchange of St. Louis, a modest nonprofit shop and institution itself about as old as electrification, having opened its doors in 1883.

Come Easter, orders at the store are so strong for cherry dresses that Ellie Dressel, who sews them, says her leg is “chained to the sewing machine.” Ms. Dressel, a divorced mother who has supported a family and reared a mentally challenged son at home by sewing this one item (450 dresses a year, she said) for nearly a quarter-century, epitomizes the Horatio Alger principles behind the Woman’s Exchange, which a 19th-century newspaper described as “helping those who try to help themselves.” […]

A kiddie garment may seem a flimsy thing on which to hang a social history, but the cherry dress is sold in only one place in the world, and that place itself is a historical rarity, perhaps the largest among the remaining outposts of a once-thriving national network of nonprofit “exchanges” for women’s work.

Continue reading to learn more about the cherry dress and the Women’s Exchange Movement.

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