‘Femme Fatales’ on Film.

In Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Eva Green, the French actress (see above) is treacherous, deadly and alluring enough to turn a polar ice cap into a cloud of steam. Her character has a name – Ava Lord – but she might as well be called simply Femme Fatale. She is just the […]

A Mesmerist Doctor takes Advantage of a Lady.

A mesmeric physician taking advantage of his female patient. Colour lithograph, 1852. Printed: British College of Health, London. The word mesmerism  took its root from the name of Franz Anton Mesmer, who was a German physician and astrologist, who discovered what he called magnétisme animal  ( animal magnetism) and which others often called mesmerism. Franz […]

Phryne the Magnificent of Ancient Athens.

As a child, she was called Mnesarete (Greek for “virtue”), but because she was born with sallow skin, she was called Phryne (Greek for “toad”). Still, Phryne became the most successful and sought-after courtesan in ancient Greece, commanding 100 times the going rate. Supposedly, she was even the model for the sculpture called Aphrodite of […]

Gertrude Bell – Queen of the Desert, circa 1900.

British-born Gertrude Bell, also referred to as the female Lawrence of Arabia, was an adventurer, spy, archaeologist and powerful political force who travelled into the uncharted Arabian desert and was recruited by British Military Intelligence to help reshape the Middle East after World War I. She drew the borders of Iraq, helped install its first […]

Noeline Brown, Super trouper.

by Steve Dow In 1964, a woman who couldn’t sing, couldn’t dance and couldn’t act was nonetheless deemed qualified to host and perform in an Australian television variety program because she was, well, British. A black-and-white clip of season one, episode one of Channel Seven’s satirical The Mavis Bramston Show features the eponymous Mavis, all […]

Women on Walls Festival, Jordan.

What Ajjawi wants to articulate with her artwork is the idea that women are not objects to gaze at but rather full-fledged human beings with intellectual depth. If this seems like a banal point to make, consider that an estimated 80 percent of Jordanian women have experienced street harassment, according to Asma Khader, secretary general […]

‘Transformations’ by Joshua Brinlee.

Allegorical paintings and female portraiture from art history that have been layered and manipulated to show the different archetypes used to define women. The images presented for this series attempt to break their attachments to provenance and represent themselves anew. The images are constructed from scanned segments of female portraits and allegorical painting from art […]

What International Women’s Day is really about.

Jayaben Desai, one of the mostly British-Asian women out on strike at the Grunwick factory in 1977, pictured on the picket line. Image Credt: Photograph by Getty Images. It was in 1857, that on 8 March in New York City, garments workers went on strike. Suffering horrific conditions, endless hours and low pay, they took […]

Wonder Woman, Feminist and Warrior.

Wonder Woman Photograph: Wired. by Jill Lepore. Her creators were ‘sex radicals’ and she was designed to represent the suffragist as pin-up. Jill Lepore draws on newly discovered private papers to tell the secret history of the world’s most famous female superhero Wonder Woman is the most popular female comic-book superhero of all time. Aside […]

‘The Gibson Girls’ & Fashion in the early 1900s.

At the turn of the twentieth century, it was all about Evelyn, Camille, and Irene, the original “Gibson Girls” and the models for the drawings that changed the way America thought about women. Though the 1890s may seem buttoned up by modern standards, they were anything but. Independent, well-read, and urbane, a new class of […]