Wednesday 5: The Best of the Web This Week

In this week’s Wednesday 5: The culture of beautifying violence and rape in fashion shoots; what women could not do in the 1960s; an exhibition at the Palais Galliera in Paris focuses on French fashion from 1947 to ’57; the importance of “senior erotica”; and Christina Hendricks spoofs the modern office.



Beautifying Violence Against Women in Fashion Shoots

Rape CultureA photographer in India has turned the 2012  gang rape in New Delhi of 23-year-old physiotherapy student Nirbhaya into fodder for a fashion photography shoot. Laura Stampler of TIME writes:

But it’s hard to ignore the contrast between the sleek, even sexy presentation in the pictures and the brutality of the implied storyline. They provoke a strong visceral reaction that makes it impossible for viewers not to let their eyes linger a little longer and maybe notice the couture.

Yet this kind of “art” isn’t isolated to this particular incident. There “a long history of advertisers alluding to sexual violence against women for commercial advertising,” adds Stampler, as she illustrates examples from Dolce & Gabbana, Calvin Klein, and Vogue Italia whose fashion campaigns glamorized violence and rape. Read the full article at TIME.



What Women Could Not Do in the 1960s

1101600620_400Cover of TIME magazine, June 20, 1960—”The Suburban Wife.”

Often, we need to be reminded of the state of women’s rights just a mere 50 years ago. Writing for CNN, Katie McClaughlin penned a thoughtful reflection of many of the rights that were not afforded to women in the 1960s. She notes, “If you’re 45 or older, you were born into this world”:

1. Get a credit card: In the 1960s, a bank could refuse to issue a credit card to an unmarried woman.

2. Serve on a jury: They were also thought to be too fragile to hear the grisly details of crimes and too sympathetic by nature to be able to remain objective about those accused of offenses. 

3. Go on the birth control pill: In 1957, the FDA approved the birth control pill, but only for “severe menstrual distress.”

4. Get an Ivy League education: Yale and Princeton didn’t accept female students until 1969. Harvard didn’t admit women until 1977.

5. Experience equality in the workplace: In 1963, women earned 59 cents for every dollar that men earned and were kept out of the more lucrative professional positions.

Read the full article at CNN.



The 50s Exhibition in Paris

Paris ExhibitionSpeaking of the era above, Suzy Menkes of Vogue UK beams about the The 50s exhibition now on view  through November 2 at the Palais Galliera in Paris that focuses on French fashion from 1947 to 57.

“The 50s exhibition . . . is a triumph for its curator Olivier Saillard. For he has brought together not just the grand life of ball gowns (gorgeous as they are) or the smart day outfits that followed the silhouette of Dior’s famous Bar outfit, but the many other different takes on the period.

It is hard to take a prissy period like the Fifties and make it seem intriguing. Yet Olivier Saillard has used his intelligence and his taste even for carefully chosen film clips of fashion shows in haute-couture houses.”

Read more about the exhibition at Vogue UK.




Senior Erotica

AgelessErotica-front-coverAgeless sexuality advocate Joan Price is asking: Do people over age 50 need or want erotica about our age group? In a blog for The Huffington Post, she shares:

The older I got and the more erotica I read, the more I wished for erotica that reflected my age, my experiences, my challenges, my sexuality living in an aging body. I wanted erotica that acknowledged the challenges, the liveliness, and the creativity of older-age sex.

The result is the collection of erotic stories she edited, Ageless Erotica, billed as “a steamy senior sex anthology.” She asked the writers to weigh in on the importance of “senior erotica.” I.G. Frederick had this wonderful thing to say:

“I don’t believe we need erotica that emphasizes the challenges of seniors—people read fiction to escape from reality,” says I.G. Frederick, who writes steamy erotic stories and edgy, transgressive fiction. “However, all writers have a responsibility not to marginalize older adults by ignoring them. When they don’t appear in fiction they may succumb to the media myth that only the young get laid.”



Christina Hendricks and the Modern Office


And in this week’s dose of funny, we share with you the Funny or Die spoof with Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) where she gets a job at a new office, but it’s unclear which is more old-fashioned: her style, her typing skills, or the office’s policies toward women. Funny and insightful.


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  • Toni Myers August 16, 2014 at 12:14 am

    I love the Wednesday Five.
    Re: what women could not do in the 1960s.

    In the late 1960s, I was living in NYC and got my first summons to be on a jury. I thought juries were bogus at the time and returned the notice, giving a one-word reason I could not serve: WOMAN. I never heard back. What a cynic I was!
    An early 1970s experience in Seattle: Frederick and Nelson refused to give me a credit card, though I had a job, unless my husband co-signed. Nobody I talked to about this thought it a worthy cause.
    I imagine those of us over 18 have a memory file of such small humiliations.
    A few more:
    I was told by a doctor that women could not be raped if they did not want it.
    When I rejected a pass, the offending male was apt to make a derogatory remark about me to exculpate himself.
    My mother let me know she expected I’d get married and have a man support me, never my plan.
    Yesterday, a fellow student in a writing workshop, younger than I, questioned that a 68 year old woman in my story would not have used her own surname though married because people of that generation did not do this. I educated her, though I recognize it wasn’t the norm in the 60s.