Czanne unmasked: the shattering portraits that blew Picasso and the Paris avant garde away

He painted his wife without lips. He painted his friend with a spinal deformity. And he painted himself as a ghost in a top hat. Paul Czannes unflinching portraits, coming to Britain this autumn, didnt just astonish Picasso and his disciples. They changed art for ever

In Paris at the dawn of the 20th century, a generation of young artists changed everything. They visited the dusty yet magical galleries of the Ethnography Museum in the rambling Trocadro and some started their own collections of African masks. This fascination with non-European art helped them break with hundreds of years of tradition. Pablo Picasso completed a portrait of his friend Gertrude Stein by giving her a mask instead of a face. He then painted Les Demoiselles dAvignon with its wildly cavorting masked prostitutes. Modern art was born in those bold years, in a glamorous atmosphere of absinthe, drugs (Picasso and his friends dabbled in opium) and sex in the red light district of Montmartre.

There is just one problem with this exhilarating story of the birth of modern art. It is not true.

My doubts began a couple of years ago in Londons National Gallery. I was looking at Paul Czannes Les Grandes Baigneuses, which he started in 1894. He was in his 50s then and did not complete it until 1905, one year before his death. Looking at the bold slashing lines of its landscape and the monumental abstracted nudes gathered under a crystalline sky, I realised something about the faces. Their eyes are dark sharp cuts. Their mouths, too. Their noses are like rigid blocks of wood. These are not faces. They are masks.

Yet they were painted by a man who, as far as anyone knows, had never looked at any African art. As for sex and drugs, he never went near them. The art of Czanne is the fruit of long, focused study by one man in front of an easel through long hot Provenal days. And this is the art that changed everything. This great 19th-century artist invented almost everything we attribute to Matisse, Picasso and Braque. Modernism is all there in paintings he executed as early as the 1880s. Czanne may be the single most revolutionary artist who ever lived.

Her
Her lips are made to vanish Madame Czanne in a Yellow Chair (1888/90). Photograph: Art Institute of Chicago

To be fair, Picasso never pretended otherwise. His adulation of Czanne was so great he bought an estate in the foothills of Mont Sainte-Victoire, the mountain in Provence that became a famous motif in some of Czannes greatest paintings. The Spanish artist is buried there. He and Braque saw their movement, cubism, as the direct continuation of Czannes work.

Why do we persist in attributing to the artists of the 1900s ideas they themselves confessed Czanne had come up with a quarter of a century earlier? It is partly because of the dismal cliche that impressionism, the movement with which Czanne was associated in the 1870s, is soft and gentle, even chocolate box. Yet it is also the fault of Czannes admirers.

For about 80 years after his death, the belief was held by critics that Czannes art leads directly towards the high abstraction of Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. His painting was given almost mystical properties by theorists of modernism. It can do your head in trying to understand exactly why his apples lead to a flat picture surface, especially when those apples look so damned round. Then, in the 1980s, we entered the age of postmodern art and it no longer seemed essential for anyone to make that effort.

Yet I am still banging my head against those apples. My introduction to modern art was the classic Robert Hughes TV series The Shock of the New in which Czanne is as towering as his mountain. So I couldnt wait to see Czanne Portraits, which comes to the National Portrait Gallery this October. I had to see it at its earlier stop, at the Muse dOrsay in Paris. It turns out to be the exhibition Czanne deserves and needs: a powerful, even shocking revelation of his genius.

Lets begin with masks. My suspicion that Picasso did not get them from African or Oceanian art but saw them first in the paintings of Czanne is amply confirmed by the long row of portraits of his wife, Hortense Fiquet, that line a wall, like Easter Island statues overlooking a bleak ocean. In a portrait he began in 1886, his wifes face becomes a porcelain mask. It is almost perfectly oval, unlike any human face. It is also as pale as a china cup. Weirdest of all, the lips are in the process of vanishing. Czanne erases his wifes mouth in a blank blue-tinged nothingness. For the moment lets leave any psychological interpretation of that aside. The artist looks at this face as if he were an alien, making a digital simulation of a human being.

His art dealer Ambroise Vollard looks back at him in the same alienated way. In Czannes 1899 portrait, the dealers black eyes have no human light: they are like holes in a mask. Vollards face is made of patches of colour, interacting greens, reds and yellows. Its harmony is unreal. Thin eyebrows balance above a straight nose under an immense forehead.

Once you start looking for Czannes masks, they are everywhere in portraits of children, peasants, even of himself. In about 1882 he painted his face in an eerie masterpiece that has been lent by Moscows Pushkin Museum. The bald dome of his head in this self-portrait really does look like a dome, or an egg a perfectly rounded object, out of which bright sunlight carves the simple, stark features of his face culminating in grey and white slashes of beard hair. What a strange face, he thinks, as he looks in the mirror. Who is it?

Eyes
Eyes like holes in a mask Czannes art dealer, Ambroise Vollard (1899).

If you doubt the mask-like nature of these portraits, you only have to compare them with Picassos Portrait of Gertrude Stein (1905-6) to see how it develops its stony carved face directly from such paintings as Czannes Man with Folded Arms (1899). Yet if the modernist deconstruction of the human face is this far advanced in Czannes art, recognisable in the 1880s, where does he get it from? What was he looking at?

Just for one moment, scrutinising that porcelain portrait of Madame Czanne, did I wonder if he looked at non-European art for inspiration. The face almost resembles a Japanese theatre mask. Japan fascinated the French avant garde in the 19th century in Manets portrait of Czannes lifelong friend mile Zola, the radical novelist has the obligatory Japanese art in his study.

Yet, as the development of his portraiture in this superbly lucid exhibition suggests, Czanne did not need to look at works of art from Japan or anywhere else for ideas. He got his idea of the mask from looking at faces themselves, again and again, until he could see them as pure geometry.

In his portraits of his wife there is a terrible distance. When he makes her lips vanish he seems to be doing imaginary violence to her, applying the painterly equivalent of a scolds bridle. In other paintings it is clear he is idealising her turning her face into a perfect geometrical form like the egg that hangs by a thread in Piero della Francescas Renaissance masterpiece The Brera Madonna.

Like Piero, who wrote manuscripts on mathematics, Czanne searched for geometrical order in the visual world. He famously said art should treat nature like the sphere, the cylinder and cone. But Czannes portraits are about a lot more than symmetry; they are about the unease of the human condition.

In Manets portrait of Zola, next to a Japanese print and behind Manets own Olympia, the author has pinned up a picture by the great Spanish painter of melancholic irony, Velzquez. One of Czannes first portraits in this exhibition is reminiscent of Velzquezs compassionate paintings of dwarves at the Spanish court. It is a portrait of his artist friend Achille Empraire, who was born with restricted growth and a spinal deformity. Instead of masking his physical frailty, Czanne emphasises it by sitting Empraire in an armchair with a very high back. Posing sadly, he has the clothes, beard and moustache of a romantic bohemian, yet his head massively outweighs his thin legs and emaciated hands.

This is Czannes first great painting. It dates from 18678 when he was still on a steep learning curve as an artist. Yet it transcends its technical crudeness: it is profound, speaking of the vulnerable isolation of all human beings. Enthroned like a king in his queer chair, Achille Emperaire is a tragicomic everyman. This is an unsettling and mighty image of the modern self.

Antony
Antony Valabrgue fashionable black clothes heighten the lightlessness of the space. Photograph: Getty

Even more than his abstracting of the human face, it is the sensitive intelligence with which Czanne diagnoses modern unease that makes him such a shattering portraitist. You see it in his 1866 portrait of his friend Antony Valabrgue staring fixedly into space as if in a state bordering on mental disarray. Czanne cunningly uses the black clothes of 19th-century male fashion to heighten the gloom, setting his subject against a lightless space. It makes you think of Dostoevsky, but perhaps a better fictional analogy is Zola, who also appears in an early portrait here.

Czanne and Zola were best friends at school in Aix before both becoming part of the Paris avant garde. Zola portrays his friend, sometimes cruelly, in his novels. He brought a new human rawness to fiction: there had never been anything like his stories of sex and violence. His 1867 masterpiece Thrse Raquin is still shocking in its bleak absurdism, the most relentless, unforgiving noir horror imaginable and utterly realist. Perhaps their closeness helps us to understand why, even in his first portraits, Czanne has such a terrifying eye for discomfort, neurosis, weakness.

He turned that eye most ruthlessly on himself. Czannes self-portraits are the emotional equivalent of his paintings of Mont Sainte-Victoire endlessly questing miracles of scrutiny. What is he looking for? Himself. His true identity. Why does he keep coming back to his own image in the mirror? He cant find what he was looking for. He thinks he has caught it, but it slips away. He cannot ever be sure who he is.

In a beautiful pairing by the curators, Czanne in 1885-6 portrays himself in a tall bowler hat (in French its a chapeau melon) looking from the side, as if he has just turned round and spotted himself. He looks displeased. This painting has a strong, solid, almost sculptural finish. But then he thinks again. In a second painting he has the same pose and hat but the image is dappled, incomplete, vanishing. Did he really see what he thought he saw? Hes uncertain now. Another unsettling reperception of his own image is a painting from about 1885 based on a photograph taken in 1872. Can the Czanne who is painting it even be sure he is the same man he was 13 years earlier? He seems far from convinced. One eye in the portrait is almost closed. The figure is isolated in ghostly blue. Who was I, then?

Czanne not only anticipates Picasso but also Proust and Joyce as he meditates on the nature of the self. We are not continuous beings, his portraits suggest. We are mysteries to ourselves and others, divided and fragmentary behind our masks. He is the true inventor both of modern art and the modern soul.

  • Czanne Portraits is at Muse dOrsay, Paris, until 24 September and at the National Portrait Gallery, London WC2H, from 26 October until 11 February.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/aug/11/cezanne-unmasked-the-shattering-portraits-that-blew-picasso-paris-avant-garde-away

How one teacher’s aquarium dream made science at this Texas school 10 times cooler.

What do you do if you’re an awesome science teacher and you want your kids to learn about water animals but don’t have water nearby?

That’s what James Jubran was up against as an aquatic science teacher at Alief Elsik High School in Houston, Texas.

“We dont have the ability to go to lakes, rivers, oceans or streams,” Jubran explains. The nearest large body of water is Trinity Bay, which is an hour away. Big field trips like that cost money, and the school doesn’t have the funding to make them feasible.

Elsik is far from being the only school with this problem. Schools nationwide are dealing with massive budget cuts to their STEM programs (science, technology, education, and mathematics). That’s a big obstacle for students looking to have careers in any of these fields.

Thankfully aquatic science enthusiasts at Elsik have Jubran grant writer extraordinaire.

Jubran with some of his students. All photos via Elsik High School, used with permission.

Jubran grew up in Florida surrounded by the ocean, and he was always fascinated by underwater ecosystems. He often went out on boats with his family, and he never missed an opportunity to go snorkeling or scuba diving.

He became a science teacher in Florida 10 years ago, but due to statewide school budget cuts, he lost his job and decided to move inland to Houston, Texas, in 2006. He’s been at Elsik for five years but has always felt somewhat limited by the lack of access to water.

So in 2016, he wrote a grant proposal for State Farm’s Neighborhood Assist Program asking for help in building a gigantic aquarium for Elsik students as well as students at other nearby schools.

State Farm accepted the first 2,000 applicants for the grant, and narrowed that number down to 200. Those proposals were then made public so that people could vote on their favorites. Elsik students made it their mission to vote as much as possible.

The top 40 proposals received $25,000. The grant Jubran wrote came in at #8.

State Farm grant dispatchers and members of the school board.

Jubran immediately began pulling resources to build his dream aquarium, and within a couple months, it was finished.

The aquarium is 12 feet long, 9 feet tall, and 3 feet wide and can hold 1,100 gallons of water.

He decided to create a tropical ecosystem in the tank, home to all kinds of tropical fish. The aquatic residents were added slowly to the tank in order to build up good bacteria, which allows the tank to better handle fish waste. The slow process also helps make sure the fish all get along.

Today, there are 14 different species of fish living in the tank. They include threadfin geophagus, known for their digging skills, Silver arowana, which can grow to two feet long, carnivorous tiger oscars, shovelnose catfish, which look like their name sounds, and Redhooks the vegetarian version of piranhas.

A few redhooks in Elsik’s new aquarium.

The tank is located in the school cafeteria so that all of the students can enjoy it and, well, because it was too big to put upstairs near Jubran’s classroom.

The aquarium’s been in place for two months now, and everyone seems to love it and all its colorful inhabitants.

Threadfin geophaguses hanging out together.

Students are often seen pressed up against the glass watching the fish swim around and interact with one another.

Jubran doesn’t love the thousands of fingerprints on the glass, but he appreciates the enthusiasm. He even has kids he’s never met before coming up to him saying things like, oh, are you the guy who built the aquarium? Its so cool.”

I don’t know about that guy in the middle. He looks pretty fishy to me. HEYO!

And Jubran’s students, especially the ones interested in aquatic science careers, can’t get enough. Even though it’s the end of the school year, he’s begun assigning special teaching projects on species in the aquarium.

“Next year, students will learn everything they need to know about the fish, then develop and present a curriculum focused on the aquarium,” Jubran says. That way, when students from other schools come by to check out the aquarium, Elsik students can actually teach them about what’s going on inside it.

And Jubran is not finished with his plans to bring water to Elsik he’s got even loftier plans up his sleeve.

Jubran teaching his students about the aquarium.

“I’m going for a $100,000 grant next year to build an even larger salt water aquarium for the other side of the school,” Jubran says.

It might be four times as much as the previous grant, but considering his success at getting that, there’s a very good chance he’ll be filling a larger aquarium with more exotic fish soon enough.

Jubran’s initiative just goes to show there’s enormous power behind one person’s desire to make a difference.

You don’t have to have a ton of money or a fancy upbringing to make huge waves in your community. All you need to have is an idea and the tenacity to see it through.

One teacher can make a school a better, cooler place to learn and grow. As long as Jubran’s at Elsik, he’ll be working on exciting ways to do just that.

If you want to find out more about Neighborhood Assist, and how it’s helping improve communities across the country, check out the program here.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/how-one-teachers-aquarium-dream-made-science-at-this-texas-school-10-times-cooler

This small-town school didn’t have money for a science fair. So parents made their own.

Teaching kids about science can have amazing benefits, but it costs money which is what one small town in Ohio didn’t have.

The city of Springboro operates their schools on a shoestring budget. With a per-pupil cost well below the state average, extracurricular activities in the district have had to be scaled back including those related to STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

In fact, budget cuts to STEM education are a nationwide problem, and education cuts have a disproportionate effect on middle- and low-income families. All of which will contribute to the United States falling even further behind in STEM careers worldwide.

Luckily, a group of moms in Springboro decided to take matters into their own hands.

They started STEMfest an annual science and technology festival run entirely by volunteers and funded completely by donations.

“[Parents could see] the limits of the school district in terms of both human resources and capital,” says Karen DeRosa, a STEMfest volunteer and former communications director for Springboro schools. “They really wanted to bring more STEM programs to students.”

The event, sort of a cross between a career day and a science fair, was put together in seven weeks from conception to execution and was a bigger success than anyone could have predicted.

“At first they wanted one large room, thinking they may have 10 or 15 exhibits,” DeRosa recalls. “But they kept calling me and saying they needed more space … they grew to nearly 30 exhibits their first year.”

STEMfest, now in its second year, is officially a local phenomenon.

Exhibitors fill the high school gym and parking lot with interactive stations related to a wide range of science fields and geared toward students of any age.

“They can focus on activities for young students; we could have very complicated high school level, college level things; and we can have everything in between,” DeRosa says. “It’s really kind of a great family event.”

From building with Legos to advanced robotics, music to finger-painting, STEMfest has something for everyone.

All of it is free and not for profit, and DeRosa says that seeing the community engaged with science and tech is a reward in and of itself. “When the organizers look around and see the place is full … it’s exciting.”

The event also offers kids the invaluable opportunity to get hands-on experience with cutting-edge technology.

At one station, kids got to work with 3D printers making small handheld objects. At another, they learned to program basic robots. Since 3D printing and automation are industries on the rise, kids at STEMfest are engaging with the jobs of the future. And since STEM industries in general are some of the fastest growing in the United States, getting to work directly with industry-leading technology is a huge advantage.

According to Education Week, you can’t start STEM education early enough children are naturally curious scientists and engineers, and nurturing that curiosity has a direct connection to kids pursuing the vital science and technology careers of the future.

Karen DeRosa agrees. “We think that natural curiosity is so vital to tap into,” she says. “And the traditional classroom and traditional curriculum cant always reach everyone with the same level of interest or activity. STEMfest gives that opportunity.”

Most of all, STEMfest shows how powerful a community can be when they’re driven to inspire.

Springboro had to overcome a dire lack of funding to pull off STEMfest, and they did it because they worked together as a community. Parents, teachers, students, and anyone else who could spare money or time came together to create a uniquely engaging and inspiring event.

When an absence of federal money leaves gaps in education, communities have the ability to step up and fill those gaps. It takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to inspire them and help shape them into the leaders of the future.

That’s exactly what Springboro is doing.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/this-small-town-school-didnt-have-money-for-a-science-fair-so-parents-made-their-own

From Apu to Master of None: how US pop culture tuned into the south Asian experience

For years, the Simpsons character was the most famous Indian on US screens. But now actors and comedians such as Riz Ahmed, Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari and Hasan Minhaj are pop royalty. What took so long?

US culture has a new mantra: its down with brown. In the past few years, entertainers of south Asian origin have gone from being a minor footnote in American popular culture to a headline event. You can see a snapshot of this new America in a picture British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed tweeted this month at the Met Gala, the annual gathering of pop-culture royalty. Captioned Taking over the #metgala2017, it showed Ahmed standing next to comedians Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari, and the Daily Shows senior correspondent, Hasan Minhaj.

South Asians arent just taking over the Met Gala, theyre popping up everywhere. Last month, Minhaj headlined the annual White House correspondents dinner. In April, Ahmed was one of the cover stars for Time magazines list of the 100 most-influential people in the world. And Kaling and Ansari are both first-generation Indian-Americans who have created, written and star in major TV shows The Mindy Project and Master of None, respectively. Theres also Kumail Nanjiani, who plays the leading man in The Big Sick, a romcom produced by Judd Apatow, which comes out in July. Not to mention Oscar-nominated Dev Patel, Priyanka Chopra, who plays an FBI agent in Quantico, and Archie Panjabi in The Good Wife. In music, theres Vijay Iyer, a first-generation Indian-American who is one of the most famous living jazz musicians in the world. Theres Zayn Malik who is, perhaps, the most famous Bradford-born Muslim to quit a boy band in the world. And thats without mentioning Ahmeds musical side project, Swet Shop Boys, or Brit-Sri Lankan rapper MIA, whose south Asian identity politics have played out on the blogosphere since her first release in 2003.

If youre British then this sudden surge of brown faces on US screens may seem a little been-there-done-that. After all, the relationship between Britain and south Asia goes all the way back to the founding of the East India Company in 1600 and, you know, that whole colonialism thing. South Asians have played a significant part in British culture for a while. Hell, even Britain First supporters go out for a curry.

But things are very different in the US, where south Asians make up a far newer, far smaller percentage of the population and have traditionally occupied little, if any, space in the national consciousness. You can see this reflected in the different nomenclature: in Britain, Asian refers to south Asians; in the US, it refers to east Asians. South Asians are a subgroup of a subgroup. It is not an exaggeration to say that, for decades, the most famous south Asian in the US was Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, proprietor of the Kwik-E-Mart in The Simpsons. And not only is Apu a cartoon character, hes voiced by Hank Azaria, a white man.

Indeed, for a long time, if there was a south Asian in a US production, chances are that it would be a white guy in brownface affecting a hilarious Indian accent. Peter Sellers, for example, plays Hrundi V Bakshi, a bumbling Indian actor, in the 1968 movie The Party; Azaria has said that he based Apus accent, in part, on Sellers performance. In Short Circuit 2, a 1988 comedy about a robot who befriends an Indian scientist, the Indian is played by Fisher Stevens (They got a real robot and a fake Indian, Ansari jokes in one episode of Master of None). Dont think we left the brownface behind when we entered the 21st century. Divya Narendra, an Indian student in the 2010 movie The Social Network, is played by Max Minghella, who is decidedly not-Indian. And, in 2012, a Popchips advert featured the very white Ashton Kutcher impersonating a Bollywood producer.

Apu
Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

South Asian actors are still asked to do accents and play stereotypical roles. This year, Kal Penn (of Harold and Kumar fame) shared some of the audition scripts he was given at the beginning of his career. These demanded an accent and were for roles such as Gandhi lookalike, snake charmer and perspiring Pakistani computer geek. In a 2015 essay for the New York Times, Ansari recounted similar experiences: Even though Ive sold out Madison Square Garden as a standup comedian and have appeared in several films and a TV series, when my phone rings, the roles Im offered are often defined by ethnicity and often require accents. It should be noted that the perspiring geek stereotypes and fresh-off-the-boat accents tend to be reserved for men: south Asian stereotypes tend to emasculate the men and eroticise the women.

Stereotypes dont just affect the sort of roles south Asians are offered, they have an impact on the way that south Asian creativity is parsed. In a profile in the New Yorker, Iyer notes that: Critical writing used to attempt to place me by othering me, by putting me outside the history of jazz. Everything I did was seen as different and not as the continuity of a tradition. Critics never describe black music as rigorous or cerebral or mathematical, although [John] Coltrane was interested in mathematics. Since I was Asian, I was seen as having only my intellect to use.

Why have these stereotypes gone relatively unchallenged for so long? When the Popchips ad first aired in 2012, blogger Anil Dash wondered how the American media could be blind to the obvious offensiveness of this campaign. Dash pointed out that both the New York Times and the Washington Post covered the campaign with no note of how obviously offensive the featured ad is Its astounding that this wouldnt be obvious on first glance to those who are paid to understand media and culture.

The reason it wasnt obvious, perhaps, is because 99% of those who are paid to understand media and culture in elite American media come from homogeneous white backgrounds. But, explains Shilpa Dav, assistant professor of media studies and American studies at the University of Virginia, another reason may be that south Asians have always been in an ambiguous racialised space in the United States. In the early 20th century, south Asians were thought of as white in the US. This changed in 1923 when a court ruled that they were Asian others and aliens something that had huge ramifications, as it meant they were unable to become naturalised citizens. So, theyre one of the only groups who had citizenship and then had it taken away, Dav notes. That ambiguity has followed how south Asians have been characterised in the United States. Theyre not quite white, but theyre not as other as African-Americans. Which means that making fun of south Asians isnt seen as full-blown racism.

Mindy
Mindy Kaling in The Mindy Project. Photograph: Fox via Getty Images

In her book Indian Accents, Dav looks at the racialisation of south Asians through what she terms brown voice in American TV and film. An accent highlights the norm and it also points out its own difference, she says. An accent piece of furniture, for example, acts as a complement and contrast to the rest of the furniture in the room. Dav hypothesises that Indians have worked as a sort of accent piece in popular culture; an exotic set decoration that spices things up without being too threatening. The way Indians function in representations of Hollywood is oftentimes as an acceptable form of difference. Yes, they are different, but its a difference that we can accommodate.

US immigration policy has also been very clear about the sort of difference it is willing to accommodate. While south Asians have been emigrating to the US for more than a century, they didnt start arriving in large numbers until the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. This allowed far more immigrants from south Asia into the US than before (previously, 70% of all immigrant slots were allocated to people from the UK, Ireland and Germany), but gave preference to people with medical and science backgrounds.

Pawan Dhingra, professor of sociology and American studies at Tufts University, explains that this meant many of the south Asians who came in the 60s, 70s, even the 80s, were of a relatively finite number of occupations. They came as physicians or engineers and then, later, as computer scientists. This helped create a self-perpetuating stereotype of south Asians being doctors and engineers. Its very common, regardless of your ethnicity, for children of people in these kinds of occupations to continue in these occupations, says Dhingra. Demographics, then, are one reason why were starting to see more south Asians in American popular culture. South Asians have been in the US long enough to have children who have broken through into creative professions.

Perhaps more importantly, weve also got to a point where south Asians arent just starting to get a seat at the table, theyre criticising the seating arrangement. Ansari, for example, has brought issues of representation and racism directly into the plotline of Master of None. Indeed, theres a whole episode in the first season called Indians on TV, which begins with a montage of how Indians have been represented ranging from monkey-brain eaters in Indiana Jones to Zac in Saved By the Bell making jokes about 7-Elevens in a fake Indian accent. Ansaris character, Dev, then finds himself grappling with the difficulties of trying to push back against these stereotypes while still making a living as an aspiring actor. He refuses to do an accent for the role of Unnamed cab driver on a TV show, for example, and doesnt get the part. His friend Ravi goes up for the same part and does an accent. I think about [stereotypes], too, Ravi tells Dev. But Ive got to work.

Master
Master of None. Photograph: KC Bailey/Netflix

Minorities can often feel a pressure to shut up and put up with things and avoid being seen as an Angry Ethnic, if they want to get ahead. A pressure to be a subservient Uncle Taj, as Dev puts it on Master of None. And its fair to say that for a long time, south Asians havent been particularly vocal about critiquing the racial divide in the US. After all, its a racial divide thats traditionally been very black and white with south Asians grudgingly being allowed to stand on the white side if they behaved themselves and didnt draw too much attention to their otherness.

September 11 changed all that. Suddenly, it didnt matter if you were Indian, Sri Lankan, Pakistani, Hindu, Sikh or Muslim after 9/11, being brown meant being a potential terrorist. The response to 9/11 has created a generation of highly politicised south-Asian Americans who are pushing back against the model-minority label and finding new commonality with black America. As Ahmed raps on the Swet Shop Boys album: My only heroes are black rappers / So, for me, Tupac was a true Paki.

This politicisation is particularly marked now, with Donald Trump in charge and hate crimes against south Asians spiking. Anupama Jain, the author of How to Be South Asian in America and a teacher at the University of Pittsburgh, says she feels that there is a widespread raising of south Asian consciousness at the moment. Her south Asian students are reaching out to her, saying: People are killing south Asians right now, and asking what they should be doing.

Entertainment has become one way of doing something. Minhaj, for example, did not mince his words at the White House correspondents dinner something that clearly made the largely white crowd quite uncomfortable. A sample joke: As a Muslim, I like to watch Fox News for the same reason I like to play Call of Duty. Sometimes, I like to turn my brain off and watch strangers insult my family and heritage.

Hasan
Hasan Minhaj passes Bob Woodward (centre) and Reuters editor-in-chief, Steve Adler, at the White House correspondents dinner. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

In these Trumpian times, the high-profile success of so many talented brown people is a truly heartening thing. However, its worth remembering that progress isnt necessarily linear and that the prominence of minority narratives is often cyclical. In the UK, for example, there was a boom in British-Asian culture in the 90s; shows such as Goodness Gracious Me were mainstream entertainment and Cornershops Brimful of Asha was No 1 in the charts. But, as Ahmed and actor and comedian Meera Syal have recently pointed out, ethnic-minority representation on British film and television is at its lowest point since the early 80s. Lets hope what were seeing happen in the US is more long-lived.

Digital media has also helped give a new generation of south Asians a chance to share their stories without establishment approval. Rather than be subject to traditional gatekeepers, desis are doing it for themselves. Last year, Canadian-Indian Lilly Singh who goes by IISuperwomanII online, was the third-highest-paid vlogger on YouTube (and the highest-paid female), earning a reported $7.5m (5.8m) in 2016 with videos such as Sh*t Punjabi Mothers Say, The Rules of Racism, and When a Brown Girl Dates a White Boy. Now, more south Asians are hoping to emulate her success. Krishna Kumar, a 26-year-old YouTuber, explains: When someone tells us no, we can still say yes to ourselves. Kumar is, with his friend Kausar Mohammed, currently working on a parody of Ariana Grandes Dangerous Woman music video called Dangerous Muslims. The video is an open letter directed to Trump, which the pair hope will help dispel fear about Muslims. Im a strong believer that artistic expression is a strong catalyst of social change, Mohammed says. Comedy comes from a place of hurt often. You either laugh about it or cry about it. Like many minority comedians before them, theyre choosing to laugh.

Series two of Aziz Ansaris Master of None is on Netflix from 12 May.

Hasan Minjajs Homecoming King is on Netflix from 23 May.

The Big Sick is in cinemas in July

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/may/09/from-apu-to-master-of-none-how-us-pop-culture-tuned-into-the-south-asian-experience

Janet Yellens Long, Personal Speech on Women and Work

It really does make a difference when the chair of the Federal Reserve is a woman. On Friday, Janet Yellen gave a detailed, 18-page speech at her alma mater, Brown University, making clear just how important the topic of women and work is to her. Without taking anything away from her predecessors at the Fed, it’s hard to imagine Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, or Paul Volcker giving such a talk.

In the text of the speech posted on the Fed’s website, Yellen reached back to 1891, the first year women were admitted to what was then called the Women’s College of Brown, to trace the history of women at work in America. Woven through her speech is the story of Elizabeth Stafford Hirschfelder of the Class of 1923, an aunt of Yellen’s husband, George Akerlof (himself a Nobel Prize-winning economist and by all accounts, a supportive spouse).

Betty Stafford, as Yellen called her, “grew up in Providence, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Brown in mathematics, and then rather adventurously headed west, teaching at two universities in Texas in the 1920s before completing her Ph.D. and then teaching at the University of Wisconsin.”

But Stafford's gender seems to have held her back, Yellen recounted. “After earning her Ph.D. at Wisconsin, Betty married a fellow student and over the next decade coauthored five important papers with him and a well-regarded reference work. But, while her husband progressed from instructor to professor at Wisconsin, Betty worked as an instructor on an ad hoc basis. During World War II, while he worked for the government in Washington and New York, Betty stayed in Madison, teaching math to servicemen. When he took a job teaching in California after the war, they divorced, and it was only then that she was a given a position as assistant professor.”

Stafford appeared for a third time later in the speech, by which time it was clear that things didn’t work out for her the way they should have: “After the war, and then single, my relative Betty Stafford remained an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin despite an enviable body of research. She married another Wisconsin professor, an eminent chemist, and collaborated with him on his research. But, in 1954, she gave up her assistant professorship, she said, to be able to accompany her husband on his frequent international travels. Betty later moved with her husband to California, and after his death, she endowed a graduate fellowship in the sciences and a prize in theoretical chemistry. Although Betty’s accomplishments were considerable, against the backdrop of increasing opportunity for women over her lifetime, I believe that Betty Stafford Hirschfelder was denied opportunities and greater success simply because she was a woman.”

Yellen’s speech is titled “So We All Can Succeed: 125 Years of Women’s Participation in the Economy.” Yellen explained that the title was inspired by Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani woman who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for advocating for girls’ and women’s education. Malala said, “We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.”

Yellen’s story begins at the end of the 19th century, when most women were deprived of a good education. Only 54 percent of those aged 5 to 19 were even in school in 1890, she said. The largely young and uneducated women who worked outside the home “mostly toiled as piece workers in factories or as domestic workers, jobs that were dirty and often unsafe.”

Women who sought higher education a century ago could be met with outright hostility. Said Yellen: “Ruth Pederson, a member of the Class of 1919, said some professors didn’t want to teach women and prohibited women from taking their classes. Margery Leonard [Class of 1929] remembered one Boston University professor who urged her to drop out of law school. When she refused, this professor punished her by forcing her to recite the details of rape and seduction cases before her jeering, stomping classmates.”

By the 1930s more women were working, but they tended to drop out as soon as they got married. The labor force participation rate was almost 50 percent for single women in 1930 but only 12 percent for married women.  Women’s participation continued to rise as they became more educated and there were more clean, safe jobs—such as clerical work—that were considered suitable for them. In the 1970s, access to birth control made it easier for women to plan their children around school and work. There were new legal protections against sexual harassment. By the early 1990s, 74 percent of women from 25 to 54 were in the labor force, vs. 93 percent of men of the same age.

Lately, unfortunately, progress has stalled. The participation rate of women in the labor force peaked in the 1990s and has actually fallen since. Women working full-time still earn 17 percent less per week, on average, than men working full-time. Some of that is due to differences in the jobs they do and their credentials, but Yellen said that “even when we compare men and women in the same or similar occupations who appear nearly identical in background and experience, a gap of about 10 percent typically remains.” Women are also under-represented in the highest echelons of business. In her own field, she noted, “women constitute only about one-third of Ph.D. recipients, a number that has barely budged in two decades.”

Personal bias is obviously one factor, but the one that Yellen focuses on is the structure of society itself—particularly the fact that women “continue to bear the lion’s share of domestic and child-rearing responsibilities.” This isn’t breaking news to women in the workplace, nor is it something that the head of the world’s most powerful central bank typically spends a lot of time on. 

Yellen concluded with some mainstream suggestions: “For instance, improving access to affordable and good quality childcare would appear to fit the bill, as it has been shown to support full-time employment.” And, “Recently, there also seems to be some momentum for providing families with paid leave at the time of childbirth.”

Yellen herself broke the glass ceiling as the first woman to head the century-old Fed. Her speech seems to be an effort to help other women break through.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-05/janet-yellen-s-long-personal-speech-on-women-and-work

The female gaze through 70 years of Magnum | Giles Tremlett

As Magnum celebrates its 70th anniversary, Giles Tremlett looks at the role women have played in the agencys story

In 1960, the Magnum photographer Eve Arnold spent a year following Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam movement around the United States. The white, female photographer and the leader of black Americas radical movement found they both understood the power of images. Malcolm X helped Arnold, though his followers were not always happy to see her and after one rally she found the back of her jersey riddled with holes left by the cigarettes people had been jabbing into her back. The result of Arnolds work was a series of pictures that included an iconic image with the sharp and handsome Malcolm X sitting in profile, his hat tilted forward and a ring on his finger bearing the star and crescent moon.

Arnold was a talented photographer from a legendary agency. Magnum was set up 70 years ago this year by a small group of photojournalists led by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa and Chim Seymour. The agency was not just a leader in providing the definitive and often first images of mid-20th century history, it also recognised that women belonged to what Cartier-Bresson called its community of thought. By 1957, two of its 15 owner-members were women including Arnold and Inge Morath. Some of their pictures still lurk in our collective subconsciousness as categorical representations of certain people, places or moments in history. It would take the New York Times, by comparison, two more decades to hire its first female photographer.

For several decades, women were a small but core part of Magnums operation. Marilyn Silverstone, Susan Meiselas, Mary Ellen Mark and Martine Franck also joined. But between 1983 and 2009, only one Lise Sarfati was admitted as a full member, and she later resigned. It is only in the last dozen years that Magnum where nominee members take four or more years to make it full membership has begun to redress the imbalance.

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Iconic image: Nation of Islams Malcolm X photographed by Eve Arnold in 1962 during his visit to businesses owned by black Muslims in Chicago. Photograph: Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos

Arnold and Morath joined during the 1950s around the time early members, such as Capa, Seymour and Werner Bischof died. All had followed Capas rule that if your pictures arent good enough, youre not close enough and were killed, respectively, after stepping on a landmine in Indochina, being machine-gunned in Suez and driving off an Andean mountain road. Their deaths were a sign of the dedication Magnum expected of its members who considered themselves a hybrid of photojournalist and artist. They still do. That makes the agency notoriously anarchic. Magnums biographer Russell Miller describes meetings marked by tantrums and slammed doors. Magnum isnt a democracy, its anarchy, he says. A former employee was even more candid. Its like the inmates taking over the asylum, he said. Its mob rule.

Morath was a Magnum editor before starting to take her own photos in 1951. She became, among other things, a photographer of Hollywood stars and even saved the life of the Second World War hero, the actor Audie Murphy, after he injured himself during one of director John Hustons duck shoots. Morath pulled his boat back to shore by swimming in front of it and using her bra strap as a tow rope. In one of her best-known images, an off-guard Marilyn Monroe raises her eyes to Moraths camera, warmth shining through the glamour during a break in the filming of The Misfits.

Both Morath and Arnold befriended Monroe, and their photographs of her reveal their ability to build intimacy and trust. She doted on the pictures Inge Morath had taken of her, sensing real affection, Monroes then husband, playwright Arthur Miller, later recalled. Marilyn liked her at once, appreciating her considerate kindness and the absence remarkable in a photographer of aggression. Morath went on to marry Miller after he separated from Monroe. Their daughter, Rebecca Miller, is the film director and partner of Daniel Day-Lewis.

Katayoun
Heads up: Katayoun Khosrowyar, Irans national under-14 football team coach, practices her skills in Tehran, shot by Newsha Tavakolian, 2015. Photograph: Newsha Tavakolian/Magnum Photos

Much has changed since the glory days. Internet and digital phone cameras are bringing more radical change but, as a new generation of women builds a presence at Magnum, some things remain the same. People often dont see beyond you as a person with a camera; they dont think of you as a professional and they let their guard down, says Olivia Arthur, an Oxford mathematics graduate who was an early recruit to the new wave of Magnum women.

Arthurs Jeddah Diary series, an intimate portrait of young women in Saudi Arabia, is a prime example of this unsought advantage. Her pictures speak of secret partying, alcohol, lesbians and hook-ups. Its an extreme example. But I had so much access to a world that couldnt even have been seen by a man, she explains. Arthur provides not just photographs but also text. She finds a festive atmosphere among women in a theme park, for example, where the only photograph she can publish is of an empty fairground ride. The lesbian crowd is at the bowling alley, hanging out, flirting, kissing, Arthur writes. Walking around with a girl dressed like a man, security approaches. Im getting complaints, she says. Women are afraid, they think there is a man here Cant you be more feminine? Some of Arthurs pictures were tantalisingly held below a bright light and photographed again to hide the subjects face. I had access to something that couldnt all be shared.

The industry is very male dominated, but when you make your work, personally I think its easier to be a woman, says Susan Meiselas, who joined in 1976 and links the generation of Arnold and Morath with the newcomers. Her entry into Magnum was an example of just how willing members are to take apparently risky bets on new talent, despite the famously rigorous selection process which now sees aspirants present three different portfolios over four years. Meiselas had made her name taking pictures of itinerant strippers in New England fairgrounds. These hung on the walls of the Whitney Museum in New York, but she had little experience of photojournalism. When in 1978 she set out for Nicaragua a country in open rebellion against strongman Anastasio Somoza she did not even know how many rolls of replacement film she could request (she asked for 10 and Magnum sent 100). Her enthusiasm was such that experienced hands soon warned she was taking the get close philosophy too literally. She turned into a much-praised conflict photographer. Her Molotov Man picture of a beret-clad Sandinista fighter with Mick Jagger looks captured both the bravado and, for some, the romance of battling US-backed regimes in central America during the 1980s.

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Sleepy princess: a young girl yawns during the annual Fiesta de las Cruces (Festival of the Crosses) in Abern, captured by Cristina Garcia Rodero, Spain, 1993. Photograph: Cristina Garcia Rodero/Magnum Photos

There has always been a tension at Magnum between art and reportage. Even stronger has been the tension between art and money. For years the agency struggled to make a decent profit. In 2010 Magnum sold much of its New York archive of press prints to billionaire Michael Dell who then gifted them to the University of Texas with an insurance value reported at more than $100m. The market is now pushing photographers towards the art side of the balance. Photographers like Arnold were given months to carry out magazine commissions, while todays Magnum members are more likely to be given days. As a result much of the agencys best photography is to be found in limited-edition books.

For some, this is a return to their roots. Cristina Garca Rodero, a Spanish member, had been taking photographs for decades before joining in 2005. Her first project had been an epic journey taking pictures of Spanish fiestas which took 15 years to complete and became a book. When we meet in Madrid she has just returned from India, and is considering setting out for Brazil to photograph Easter rituals. Her festival obsession means she now also travels to the Nevada desert for Burning Man, to Berlins Love Parade and to other erotic festivals. I guess I probably look at those in a different way to a male photographer, she says.

The degree of ambition and amount of work – required to be a Magnum photographer has been one of the blocks to women. Men do not always have the same impediments. I remember war photographers who were back in the field a few days after a child had been born, said Meiselas, who recalls at least one talented female nominee leaving Magnum because it did not fit with her family life. Arthur, who I catch in jet-lagged mode in London between trips to India and New York, shares her life and small daughter with a fellow photographer. Hes very supportive, and we are able to juggle, she says.

Marilyn
A simple smile: Marilyn Monroe during a break in filming The Misfits, New York, 1960. Later Arthur Miller revealed how much she liked the Inge Morath shot. Photograph: The Inge Morath Foundation/Magnum Photos

Magnum photographers have, in terms of nationality, always been a diverse group. So what happened to women during that 26-year lull? Meiselas believes that, in part, the agencys history of incorporating women mirrors that of society and feminism with women photographers joining during the militant 70s and the bold early 21st century, but not during the low days of the late 20th century. Three of the nine photographers now going through the process of acquiring membership are women and Magnums foundation gives an annual Inge Morath Award to young female photographers wanting to complete a long-term project. One of the current Magnum nominees, Newsha Tavakolian, is the subject of a picture by another of the agencys photographers, her fellow Iranian Abbas. It shows her at work in a press pack among a bunch of short-sleeved, bare-headed cameramen. Tavakolian is the only one obliged to cover her head and arms. It is a reminder that in some places women struggle just to become professional photographers, making the idea of joining Magnum an almost impossible dream.

Magnums 70th anniversary is being celebrated throughout 2017 (magnumphotos.com/magnum-photos-70; #MagnumPhotos70). To order a copy of the anniversary book, Magnum Manifesto (Thames & Hudson, 45) for 38.25, go to bookshop.theguardian.com

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/apr/30/the-female-gaze-through-70-years-of-magnum

Whats next for the womens movement?

After the success of the Womens March, its International Womens Day on Wednesday 8 March. Here, 15 influential women, from Lena Dunham and Nicola Sturgeon to Susie Orbach, nominate a crucial next step towards equality

Lena Dunham: keep on protesting

I think the activism and organisation thats happening now is showing protest matters, calling your representatives matters, becoming involved in community organisations matters, sending your donations every month matters. It has never mattered more to show up with your money, with your body, with your time and with your voice than it does right now. Lots of people had valid criticisms of the Womens March, but it was the largest global protest weve seen and thats because every single person made the choice to take time off work, to give of themselves, to give their bodies and fill space and show they wanted to say no. That scares people and even if right now were not seeing the result we want, the government has been warned. They understand they are not supported. They are fighting an uphill battle against women and allies of equality in all of its forms.
Lena Dunham is an actor, writer, producer and director

Nicola Sturgeon: great childcare is where it starts

Its a source of frustration that, decades on from legislation that was supposed to pave the way for equality of the sexes, too many gaps remain. I have made equality a key feature of my government, with a gender-balanced cabinet, one of very few in the developed world.

However, if there is one specific policy area which can permanently advance the cause of gender equality, I believe the answer lies not in the workplace itself, but in the early years. Delivering high quality childcare as widely as possible is, I believe, fundamental to achieving the kind of equal society that empowers women.

It is a simple fact that, for many women, the barrier to career advancement comes when they are faced with juggling the competing demands of a job and raising a family. And in too many cases, the lack of adequate childcare becomes a decisive factor in preventing women from continuing their careers.

Improving access and affordability in childcare is not an easy challenge and of itself will not solve all gender equality issues. But it is a challenge which must be met if we are to deliver a society which truly has equality of opportunity for men and women.
Nicola Sturgeon MSP is First Minister of Scotland

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Signs of the times: protesters on the Womens March in London take a breather. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Naheed Farid: introduce bottom to top economic development

I represent women in the Afghanistan parliament, in a country that is one of the worst places to live as a woman. We suffer from violence, insecurity and lack of access to basic rights, such as education and health. We tried many things, such as investing in civil society organisations, education and democratic processes, but still Afghanistan stays the same. My analysis is that in order to ensure womens rights and equality in Afghanistan, and generally all around the world, we need to involve women in the production process, empowering women economically. We also need policies to make sure that the process of development is bottom to top, completely the opposite of what is practised right now. Womens inclusion in political, economic and social aspects of development can stabilise society by consistently empowering women and involving them in high-level decision-making processes.
Naheed Farid was elected MP in 2010 at the age of 27

Nomboniso Gasa: civil action to defend our freedom from misogynistic world leaders

As I watched Donald Trumps inauguration, I noticed something familiar in the body language between him and Melania. My mind flipped back to President Jacob Zumas inauguration in 2009. He didnt even look back to see whether his wife was comfortable. She trotted behind, with shoes that were too big for her. She could have tripped and he would not have noticed.

People have written about Trump and Zumas disdain for the judiciary, the constitution, media and civil liberties. But they are similar in other ways, including their public devaluing of women. Trumps tape about women throwing themselves at you, if you are famous, reminded me of Zumas statement when accused of rape. I am not afraid of women. They are attracted to me. Why would I rape? Zuma must be envying Trump, though. He is unable to reverse the Constitutional Court decision enabling women to make choices about reproductive rights, bodily integrity and freedom of choice. His ANC is unlikely to garner enough votes to change the Bill of Rights.

Contesting these men requires a careful unmasking of their devious narratives, combined with civic action in defence of our freedoms. This must be a well-planned and sustained struggle against misogynistic bullies.
Nomboniso Gasa is a South African researcher, writer and analyst on land, politics, gender and cultural issues

Laura Bates: sex and relationships education for all schoolchildren

There is a single, clear action that experts agree could make a substantial difference. For the past decade, campaigners, teachers, parents and pupils alike have urged successive governments to implement compulsory sex and relationships education (SRE) for all young people, including topics such as consent, healthy relationships, pornography, gender stereotypes and LGBT rights and relationships. Schools are currently only obliged to teach the biological basics of reproduction by the age of 15, with no compulsory coverage of issues, such as consent.

This would help protect vulnerable children who may already be experiencing sexual abuse. It would create change for the many girls who report unwanted sexual touching a form of sexual assault. And, by educating young people about their rights and responsibilities, it could have an impact on the broader problem of sexual violence. With 85,000 women raped annually and two women per week killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales, this is an urgent priority.

We know that young people today face a bombardment of influences, from sexting to pornography. If we teach children how to read maps so they can find their way, and how to do maths so they can work out their change in a shop, why do we leave them shockingly ill-equipped to navigate sexual relationships, a similarly universal life experience? With 43% of young people reporting they dont receive any SRE at all, we are failing them and letting wider society down as well.
Laura Bates is founder of the Everyday Sexism Project

Join
Join the gang: women hold hands and share personal stories during the Dress Like A Woman rally and march, held to support womens rights and to protest against Donald Trump, in Seattle. Photograph: David Ryder/Reuters

Anne-Marie Imafidon: more women in science and tech jobs reflected in TV soaps

Ive always watched a lot of TV and when I was younger watched EastEnders. As an east Londoner it felt close enough to reality that I would get excited when they filmed on location trying to point out landmarks and guess the road. Soaps dont fully reflect reality, but they do try to stay current. These days most characters have a mobile phone and technology sometimes features in storylines.

In the battle for gender equality Id like to see the soaps embrace some new careers for their characters particularly the female ones.

Wheres Dot?

Oh, shes just taking air quality measurements in the square for her PhD thesis, shell meet us at the Queen Vic.

Normalising science and tech-related careers can start with a female character or two deciding to leave work at the chippy for a job at a digital start-up. Someone in Hollyoaks might strike up an affair with someone theyve met on an evening coding course (affairs happen all the time on soaps). Seeing these characters have breakfast, and fight with family while enjoying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) careers will work against the one-sided portrayals of Stem characters that we see in films and on TV. The small screen can do what Hollywood is beginning to do with films, like Hidden Figures the story of African-American women who helped Nasa.
Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE campaigns to get women into science, technology, engineering and maths

Li Maizi: create an international force against the censoring of womens voices

The answer for me is chasing gender equality in China. It has become my daily life, making noises against all the discrimination. And when we meet the backlash, we have to stand together and fight back. As a woman, I have no country: my country is the whole world. So I will also criticise Donald Trump, who is a straight man cancer.

In China, the space for civil movement is becoming more narrow. One of the most powerful Weibo [Chinas Twitter] accounts, Feminism Voice, has been blocked for publishing an article about the planned womens strike against Trump in the US. Thus, no single issue belongs to one country, we must fight together against the censoring of womens voices.
Li Maizi is one of Chinas feminist five, detained for more than a month in 2015 for organising a protest against sexual harassment on buses and subways

Catherine Mayer: champion more shared parenting

Theres no single fix because the mechanisms keeping women down are intertwined. However, one of the seven core objectives of the Womens Equality Party equal parenting and caregiving is capable on its own of creating huge change. If we can shake the idea that childcare is primarily a mothers responsibility, if we learn to value the unpaid labour now primarily undertaken by women, then we also unpick some of the causes of the gender pay gap. There are also ways to speed the process. In 1975, when 90% of Icelandic women left jobs and homes for the day, their male compatriots learned just how much women do. Iceland now ranks as the worlds most gender-equal country. Im helping to organise a Womens Day Off in the UK next year.
Catherine Mayer is the co-founder of the Womens Equality Party and author of Attack of the Fifty Foot Women: How Gender Equality Can Save the World!

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Magic circle: protesters chant against gender-based violence at their camp on La Puerta del Sol square in Madrid, Spain. Photograph: EPA

Stella Creasy: dont be a click-avist, get stuck in

The change we need to make is mobilisation. We have to sound the alarm. The worst thing we can do is despair. My message is, dont stand aside, get stuck in. Dont be a click-avist. Keep asking: What next? If you go on a march and think: Thats the job done, they win. A backlash is a reaction, so we have to keep taking action. I keep saying to people, I adore Martin Luther King, but he was wrong when he said: The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards progress. It doesnt, unless you fight for it.
Stella Creasy is MP for Walthamstow. Join her Feminist Action Network (
stella@workingforwalthamstow.org.uk)

Liv Little: economic autonomy for women of colour

The face of feminism Im surrounded by is young and fresh. Feminism has the potential to be a bright, vibrant movement. But its difficult. There are so many pressing issues for women. Whats really important is economic empowerment. I think as a woman of colour its important that we are running our own businesses, able to support each other and generating our own income to support other young women of colour who are coming up in the world. As a black female graduate youre likely to earn a lot less than your white male counterparts. Youre increasingly seeing women of colour in positions of power, but there are still not enough of us in prominent positions.
Liv Little is editor-in-chief at gal-dem

Caitlin Moran: embrace our weakness and silliness

You know what make us strong? All the things you think are a hindrance. Our strength is our weakness. Our love of silly things to wear. Our love of jokes. On the Womens March, there were millions of weak women with buggies, with elderly relatives women who are disabled, or from minority groups wearing pink hats and holding placards. And our strength is, you cant send armed police into a crowd like that. Theres no way to spin that footage. You cant pretend its violent, radical extremists. Theres no excuse to break it up. The weaker, sillier and funnier we are, the more impossible it is to demonise us, or stop us, as so many protests have been stopped and demonised before. As things go backwards, we think: We cant fight this, and the answer is we mustnt fight it.

Fighting is how its always been done before. They know how to stop fighters. But these old, white, straight, angry men? They dont know how to stop joy, humour, knitted pink hats and buggies. We are the force theyve never seen before. They have nothing in their box to counter this. This is our strength. And we have it in endless amounts. We are the 52%. And we can knit and joke the fuck out of the revolution.
Caitlin Moran is an author and columnist

Stepping
Stepping up: women on the march in Montevideo, Uruguay. Photograph: Raul Martinez/EPA

Susie Orbach: defeat the merchants of body hatred

In a time of threat, the places we might be able to call home, our bodies, are being ripped apart by commercial pressures. They bear down on labias (too messy), faces (too tired), lips (too small), eyes (too hooded), breasts (too small, droopy or large) For each of these crazy designations, there are surgeries sold as empowering, sold as safe, sold as solutions. But whats the problem and who is generating it? Control girls and womens bodies whether by the purveyors of beauty, the cultural enforcers of female genital cutting, the anti-choice gang in the White House and insecurity is induced. Give girls as young as three cosmetic surgery games that divert their dreaming and imaginative energy into pursuits that hurt what it means to be a girl, and you ensure big profits and big body preoccupations for a lifetime. Its time to dare to feel OK in our bodies as they age and change.
Susie Orbach is a psychotherapist, analyst and writer

Paris Lees: real feminism excludes nobody

If your push for social justice excludes women of colour or disabled women, trans women, sex workers, Muslims, Jews, poor people you dont want equality, you want privilege. Promoting women of the same class and colour while ignoring and speaking over women less privileged than yourself isnt feminism. Its supremacism. I come from a mixed-race family. I like to think I know a little bit about racism. But Im not black. So I listen. I follow feminists from minority backgrounds on social media: Reni Eddo-Lodge, Nesrine Malik, Janet Mock, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, Fatima Manji, Roxane Gay. Most women voted for Hillary in the US election, but a significant proportion white women without a college degree voted for Trump. In the end, their votes swung it. This is what can happen when women dont pull together. So lets pull together. Fascism is back. Women are leading the resistance, but if we really want decency to prevail, its time to revive another idea from the mists of time: solidarity.
Paris Lees is a journalist and transgender rights activist

Getting
Getting the message: a wall of signs outside the White House in Washington. Photograph: John Minchillo/AP

Mariella Frostrup: include boys in the conversation

Ive been a feminist since my lungs first filled with air, but Im weary of war and eager for a coalition. In my small corner of the western world its hard to find a man who doesnt believe his daughter, his wife, his sister, his mother or his colleagues to be his equal, yet we continue to mark out our battle lines on a gendered basis. No social revolution in the history of mankind has succeeded without the participation of both sexes so its time to invite the guys aboard. Instead of car ads that accept a woman can control a vehicle (doh!) Im more hopeful for one that entices a man to try a vacuum cleaner. Our ability to participate in a mans world is beyond dispute, but the jurys still out on our success in enticing men into what was once our domain. The proportion of women doing the worlds unpaid work has barely changed. The only difference is that most women today are holding down two jobs. It is stress levels, not our incomes, that are rising. Expectations of both sexes have changed beyond measure and the conversation needs to stop being so one-sided, which is why weve set up Great Men, opening conversations with boys in secondary schools exploring masculinity and gender issues. If we want to eradicate misogyny, we need to make sure boys are given the support and emotional investment they need.
Mariella Frostrup is a broadcaster, columnist and co-founder of the Great Initiative

Lisa Randall: end the fear women feel

An issue for women throughout the world that is implicitly played down by lack of adequate attention is fear. The topic is broad and the specifics are difficult to address through existing systems, but whether it is physical violence, online stalking, harassment, or unwanted encounters at work or in schools, women are prevented from living their best possible lives and from contributing in the most significant ways. Current systems address only very explicit danger. Even when the attacks are merely upsetting, the resultant loss of diverse voices online and elsewhere because of womens reluctance to be subject to insults or insinuations, is a loss to us all.
Lisa Randall is professor of science at Harvard University

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/05/whats-next-for-the-womens-movement-march-equality

That’s so random: Jan Cieslikiewicz’s search for order in pictures

Polish photographer Jan Cieslikiewicz went from maths at Harvard to a Wall Street trading job and then left it behind to embrace uncertainty

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2017/feb/10/jan-cieslikiewicz-photographer-null-hypothesis

Zaha Hadid leaves 67m fortune, architect’s will reveals

British-Iraqi architect behind London 2012 aquatics centre leaves 1.7m to relatives and 500,000 to business partner

Zaha Hadid, the British-Iraqi architect who died suddenly last March, left a fortune worth 67m, her will reveals.

The designer of the London Olympics aquatics centre, Guangzhou opera house and buildings in countries ranging from Saudi Arabia and South Korea to Azerbaijan, bequeathed a lump sum of 500,000 to her business partner Patrik Schumacher. Hadid also left a total of 1.7m to four nieces and nephews, as well as her brother Haytham Hadid, whose share was 500,000.

The architect, who was made a dame in 2012, was unmarried with no children and left her international design businesses, which account for the bulk of her wealth, in trust.

London
London aquatics centre. Photograph: View Pictures/Rex/Shutterstock

Hadid rose to become one of the worlds most famous architects with her brand of mathematically inspired curving buildings. She died aged 65 after suffering suspected heart failure while on holiday in Miami following an earlier bout of bronchitis.

Her will, obtained by the Architects Journal, shows that the net value of her estate was 67,249,458. The calculation was filed in the high court dated 14 December 2016.

Schumacher, a German architect who has taken over the running of Hadids London-based practice, angered his fellow executors of Hadids will in November after making a provocative speech that advocated abandoning social housing, the closure of art schools and building over Hyde Park. The executors are Schumacher, Peter Palumbo, the property developer, Brian Clarke, the artist, and Rana Hadid, the architects niece. They upbraided Schumacher in a public statement, saying Zaha Hadid would have been totally opposed to these views.

The will shows Hadid is leaving her architecture practice, of which she was the sole owner, in trust. In the year to the end of April 2015, Zaha Hadid Ltd turned over 48m and employed 372 people.

Patrik
Patrik Schumacher. Photograph: Andrew Innerarity/Reuters

Hadid gave her executors powers to distribute all or some of the income from her several businesses, including the practice, to a wide range of parties. They include past, current and future employees and office holders of the companies, and the Zaha Hadid Foundation, which was set up to promote architectural education and exhibitions of Hadids work. Others who could benefit are family members and charities.

The will states that for the moment the trustees are her executors: Schumacher, Clarke, Palumbo and Rana Hadid.

Hadid was born in Baghdad in 1950 and became a revolutionary force in British architecture even though she struggled to win commissions in the UK for many years. She studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before launching her architectural career in London at the Architectural Association.

By 1979, she had established her own practice in London Zaha Hadid Architects and gained a reputation across the world for groundbreaking theoretical works including the Peak in Hong Kong (1983), Kurfrstendamm 70 in Berlin (1986) and the Cardiff Bay opera house in Wales (1994).

The first major build commission that earned her international recognition was the Vitra fire station in Weil am Rhein, Germany (1993), but her scheme to build the Cardiff opera house was scrapped in the 1990s and she did not produce a major building in the UK until the Riverside Museum of Transport in Glasgow was completed in 2011.

She became the first female recipient of the Pritzker architecture prize in 2004 and twice won the UKs most prestigious architecture award, the RIBA Stirling prize.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/jan/16/zaha-hadid-leaves-67m-fortune-architects-will-reveals

The hidden history of Nasas black female scientists

The diversity of Nasas workforce in 1940s Virginia is uncovered in a new book by Margot Lee Shetterly. She recalls how a visit to her home town led to a revelation

Mrs Land worked as a computer out at Langley, my father said, taking a right turn out of the parking lot of the First Baptist church in Hampton, Virginia. My husband and I visited my parents just after Christmas in 2010, enjoying a few days away from our full-time life and work in Mexico.

They squired us around town in their 20-year-old green minivan, my father driving, my mother in the front passenger seat, Aran and I buckled in behind like siblings. My father, gregarious as always, offered a stream of commentary that shifted fluidly from updates on the friends and neighbours wed bumped into around town to the weather forecast to elaborate discourses on the physics underlying his latest research as a 66-year-old doctoral student at Hampton University.

He enjoyed touring my Maine-born-and-raised husband through our neck of the woods and refreshing my connection with local life and history in the process.

As a callow 18-year-old leaving for college, Id seen my home town as a mere launching pad for a life in worldlier locales, a place to be from rather than a place to be. But years and miles away from home could never attenuate the citys hold on my identity and the more I explored places and people far from Hampton, the more my status as one of its daughters came to mean to me. That day after church, we spent a long while catching up with the formidable Mrs Land, who had been one of my favourite Sunday school teachers. Kathaleen Land, a retired Nasa mathematician, still lived on her own well into her 90s and never missed a Sunday at church.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/feb/05/hidden-figures-black-female-scientists-african-americans-margot-lee-shetterly-space-race