anna brones

writer + artist + activist

Posts Tagged ‘feminism

Gertrude Ederle

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“I just knew if it could be done, it had to be done, and I did it.”

Gertrude Ederle (1905 – 2003)

“I just knew if it could be done, it had to be done, and I did it,” Ederle told the New York Times in an article published after her incredible feat: becoming the first woman to swim across the English Channel.

Born in New York City in 1906 to German immigrants, Ederle spent time in the water from a young age and was a champion swimmer by the time she was a teenager. She won a gold medal and two bronze medals at the 1924 Olympics in Paris, France.

After Paris, she set her sights on long distance swimming, training for the Channel. Closer to home, in June 1925, Ederle became the first woman to swim the length of New York Bay, covering 16 miles from the New York Battery to Sandy Hook, New Jersey. She made an unsuccessful attempt at the English Channel that same summer, but returned the following year

Only five men had successfully made the 22.5 mile crossing, the fastest in 16 hours 23 minutes. Ederle vowed to do better. On the morning of August 6, 1926, Ederle, covered in lanolin, petroleum jelly and lard to keep her warm while in the water and wearing enormous wrap around glasses, took to the water at Cape Gris-Nez, France. The waters were rough that day, and twice her coach T.W. Burgess – the second man to successfully swam across the Channel – urged her to come out of the water. Ederle’s father and sister who were in the boat with Burgess insisted that she stay her course; her father had promised Ederle a roadster is she made her goal.

Committed to finishing, Ederle pushed through stormy waters, tides and swells, reaching shore after 14 hours and 31 minutes, a time that gave her the title of the first woman to swim across the English Channel, but also the world’s fastest person to do so. The accomplishment earned her the title of ”America’s best girl” by President Calvin Coolidge, and inspired tens of thousands of American women to take up swimming.

By the 1930s, her fame had evaporated. A hearing problem that she had when younger, and made worse by her Channel crossing, eventually caught up with her, and a nasty fall in her apartment led to a back injury. Doctors said she would never walk or swim again, but Ederle prevailed and appeared in a water show at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. Conscious of her own hearing impairment, she went on to teach swimming at a deaf school in New York. Eventually Ederle was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1965 and the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1980, a little over 50 years after her amazing accomplishment.

Gertrude Eberle is one of three women from the Women’s Wisdom Project series to be featured in the AGE issue of Taproot Magazine. I am honored to have contributed to this issue, and encourage you to check out this great publication that’s indepedent and ad-free. You can order a copy of the AGE issue here.

This papercut and profile are a part of the Women’s Wisdom Project, a project focused on showcasing the wisdom of inspiring, insightful women by making 100 papercut portraits.

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Written by Anna Brones

October 2, 2018 at 09:50

Vote

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It’s National Voter Registration Day, so make sure you and all your friends are registered.

I just had these Vote buttons made, featuring my original papercut “Stars, Stripes and Uterus.” I made the papercut in 2016, but it still feels timely. Because women’s rights are human rights, and this button is perfect for election season (but wearable during any season, of course). You can order yours here.

Want the same artwork on a coffee mug? I’ve got that too. Order here.

Written by Anna Brones

September 25, 2018 at 13:54

Jeannette Rankin

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“You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.”

– Jeannette Rankin

The first woman to ever be elected to the United States Congress? Jeannette Rankin.

Rankin was born in 1880 on a ranch outside of Missoula, Montana. After studying biology at the University of Montana, she traveled both on both the east and west coasts, eventually deciding to attend the New York School of Philanthropy for a degree in social work. She soon became an activist in the women’s suffrage movement, first in Washington State and then returning to her home state of Montana, where she was the first woman to speak before the all-male Montana legislature. She helped to secure the women’s right to vote in Montana in 1914.

Her status in women’s history was secured in 1916 when she became the first woman to be elected to the House of Representatives. She went on to be the only member of Congress to oppose entrance into both World War I and II.

How much has changed for women in politics since Rankin first ran? Even though Rankin was first elected a little over 100 years ago, you can draw plenty of similarities between her career struggles and that of women politicians today.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Anna Brones

September 11, 2018 at 12:31

Downloadable “Fighting for What is Right” Poster for Women’s March and Beyond

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Fighting for What is Right is Worth It by Anna Brones

Pablo Picasso once said that, “Painting is not made to decorate apartments. It’s an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy.”

The same can be said for art in general. Art is a powerful tool. It is how we communicate. It is how we express ourselves. I made a papercut the day after the U.S. presidential election, inspired by a line in Hillary Clinton’s speech. I eventually turned it into a limited edition print.

In honor of the Women’s March on Washington, and the many marches and protests that I hope are to come as we as citizens stand up for ourselves, our sisters and our brothers, I decided to make a downloadable version. It’s free and available to anyone who wants to use it. Art for the people. Print it, post it, carry it.

Download here.

Written by Anna Brones

January 16, 2017 at 13:05

“Stand With A Million” Buttons

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Stand With a Million button by Anna Brones

These 2.25″ buttons are being made in honor of the Women’s March on Washington, taking place in Washington D.C., and at other locations all around the country, on January 21, 2017. Buttons are currently in production and will be shipped out Monday January 16, 2017. Buttons are printed by One Inch Round in Portland, Oregon with 65% recycled steel and 100% recycled, FSC-certified paper.

$1 of each sale goes to Planned Parenthood. You can buy one here.

Written by Anna Brones

January 6, 2017 at 11:45

Cupcake Feminism?

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I’ve got a whole article devoted to questions of cupcakes, feminism and sexism in the world of food over on The Kitchn this week. Here’s a little excerpt:

I asked my friend Lisa Knisely for her opinion. I was introduced to Lisa when she worked at the magazine Render, and I respect her opinion on these topics, as she’s well-versed on the complexities and nuances. Beyond holding a PhD in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies, she works as a freelance writer and tackles these topics on a daily basis.

“Baking, particularly of the domestic sweet and pie variety (as opposed to the uber-fancy and technical professional pastry chef kind), is a kind of culinary work we particularly associate with a feminized form of care and nurturing in our culture,” says Knisely. “I think a lot of baking businesses employ a kind of gendered marketing and ideology to advance women bakers and it makes sense that they do because many of us have powerful associations of baked goods with love and care from women. And that kind of love and care through food is powerful, awesome, life-sustaining stuff that should be celebrated.”

“But,” she went on, “I don’t see why men shouldn’t be doing about half of this kind of culinary care labor, too. If men were half of the cupcake makers in our culture, either domestically or professionally, that would change the whole field of gender identity and kitchen politics.”

I would agree with Lisa. As a culture, we love to define people and put them in boxes, and that certainly happens with professions. There are many professions which people assume are inherently male; the language that we use is a good reflection of this. For example, why when we read an article about a chef, do we assume that the chef is male? Female chefs are just chefs after all, just like female filmmakers are just filmmakers and female pilots are just pilots.

Read the full article here (I’ll warn you, it’s a long one!).

Written by Anna Brones

May 21, 2015 at 01:09

Sexism in the Food Industry… in French

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Alors que les femmes cuisinent beaucoup, elles ne le font pas, culturellement parlant, dans un contexte professionnel.

When Julia Tissier got in touch with me I had a bit of a freak out.

She’s the editor of a new online magazine called Cheek, a French publication that focuses on modern feminist issues (think: portrayal of women in the media, etc.) It’s smart and savvy.

“We’d love to have you contribute to Cheek since you write about food topics,” she wrote in an email. Note that this was all in French.

“Um, sure. You ready to edit?”

Fortunately she was.

We went back and forth a bit, and decided that I should address the issue of women in the restaurant industry. “Oh god, I’m going to write a feminism piece in French?” I thought to myself.

I did and the result is the first thing substantial thing I have written in French (emails do not count) since college. It’s a look at gender roles and sexism in the food industry, particularly in response to the recent Time “Gods of Food” article. If you’re French is up to par, you can read it here.

Moral: challenge yourself, it’s good for you.

Written by Anna Brones

December 7, 2013 at 02:50