In this week’s Wednesday 5: artist Aleah Chapin celebrates the mature woman’s body; millennials defining/stereotyping “grandma” culture; do those girl-power/woman-power ads make an impact?; a dose of goodness with John Legend’s new video, “You and I”; and Beyoncé’s lyrics performed as dramatic monologues.
Artist Aleah Chapin Celebrates the Mature Woman’s Body
Aleah Chapin’s “Aunties Project”
In response to artist Aleah Chapin “Aunties Project”—a series of oil paintings: huge, hyperreal depictions of older women’s bodies just as they are, no retouching—a viewer shared the following comment on Seniorplanet.org:
As a woman of nearly 63, I want to thank you for seeing the “true” woman in each of us through your art. We are so often tossed aside after the bloom of youth has left us, especially in regards to our bodies; yet we feel the same in our minds as we did as when we were young. Your art reflects this so well.
Chapin herself is in her 20s. And when she was asked about her interest in showing women’s bodies in her art, she spoke this truth:
I noticed that the subject has mainly been the idealized young, female nude. Although these paintings are undoubtedly beautiful, I wanted to see something that mirrored the world I saw around me. The Aunties Project is less about age and more about making paintings that fully embrace the real human body, this fascinating vessel that carries us through our experiences.
Read Chapin’s full interview at Seniorplanet.org.
The New Definition of Being a “Grandma”
Recently in The New Yorker, Cathy Lew penned the article “Grandmas Rise Up Against Millennials’ “Grandma” Lifestyle,” and shared with us the new definition of saying you’re a “grandma”:
Identifying oneself as a “grandma” is a growing phenomenon, particularly among twentysomethings who refuse to leave their apartments over the weekend. Popularized by a general sense of ennui, and by Taylor Swift’s Instagram, many millennials today take pride in calling themselves old people trapped in young people’s bodies.
Wow! How insulting. Thank God the “grandmas” are revolting. Although the article takes a bit of a satirical approach to the issue, we couldn’t help but think of it a bit more seriously—as another ludicrous example of (1) ageism and (2) the increasingly deepening generational divide. Lew added:
Senior citizens like Bertha McGee expressed concern that mainstream media’s idealization of the elderly lifestyle has exacerbated the issue. According to Bertha, part of the reason young people mistakenly identify with old people is that there is little diversity in the representation of retirees.
Read more at The New Yorker.
Is “Girl-Power” Advertising Doing Any Good?
Here’s a question we’ve been wondering about as we’ve written about the Pantene and Dove campaigns, or “fempowerment” campaigns, that aim to empower women while selling us shampoo and soap. So how do we measure the impact of these ads? How do we know that women feel and act more empowered? We don’t. But the issue circles back to the companies themselves. Natalie Baker writes in bitchmedia:
Speaking of hypocrisy, media analyst and founding president of the Women’s Media Center Carol Jenkins pointed out that when it comes to empowerment-based marketing, “Any promotional effort should be accompanied by on the ground support for women and girls’ organizations and support groups.”
Read the rest of the article to see how companies like Dove, Pantene, and Always are contributing—or not—to actual organizations working to improve the lives of women worldwide.
A Tribute to All Women
In this week’s dose of goodness, we share with you John Legend’s recent music video release, “You and I.” It’s a beautiful and poignant reminder for all women and girls about real beauty.
We just had to share this. Nobody really pays attention to the lyrics of Beyoncé’s songs. They’re too busy paying attention to other things. But this performance artist, Nina Millin, had an ingenious idea to treat the lyrics as dramatic monologues. Watch The Beyoncélogues. You’ll take a second listen to those lyrics after you hear them seriously and dramatically recited. Some of them actually make sense (kind of).