My daughter felt like shit this morning.
It’s been 12.5 months since she was in school with her friends, so that’s totally understandable.
But it’s rare, as throughout the plague year, her cheerful, positive, loving, considerate mood has rarely wavered.
(Unless she’s in a food crash, but again, that’s also understandable. Don’t we all get grumpy when the blood sugar drops?)
I spent a couple of hours helping her feel better, as that’s what parents do. But also because I owe her, as she always tried to help me this year, whenever I got down.
So we screamed out the door, into the field, cursing coronavirus.
Then I made her breakfast, and we commiserated.
She said it felt like rock bottom, (as they’re due to re-enter school in early April,) so I assured her it was normal to feel like it’s all too much, after such a long and unfair disruption.
We got through it, and once her brother and the dog woke up, (teenagers sleep late,) she didn’t feel so lonely either.
Honestly, I can’t believe what the world has expected of its children, as they’ve had to deal with the worst ramifications of collective behavior they played no part in.
We grownups made this mess.
That said, once moods turned for the better, she got excited to do an assignment I’d given her, writing a short story about what superhero she’d be, if she had the chance. (There was no school-work this week, as the teachers prepare for re-entry, thereby making parents full-time teachers again, like last spring.)
Amelie said rather than an existing super-hero, she’d want to be an Avatar, (From “Avatar the Last Airbender,”) named Amelie, who was from the water tribe, but she’d want to be able to fly without the assistance of a flying-staff. (Which Avatar Aang needed.)
We quickly switched to the topic of Korra, the female Avatar from the sequel series, “The Legend of Korra,” but Amelie said she would not want to be like her at all, and preferred to pretend that Korra didn’t exist.
Because unlike Aang, Korra always need help to defeat the big villains, as she wasn’t capable of doing it on her own. Also, Amelie described her as “selfish, self-absorbed and rude.”
Her brother joined the conversation, and both children suggested it was sexist, as the male Avatar was stronger than his female counterpart, and women could be powerful without being bitches. (Their word, not mine.)
So it came to be that my children, during Women’s History Month, critiqued Hollywood for its inherent sexism, even when attempting to be PC by making a female hero.
Hard to argue.
The truth is, I’ve been a feminist for decades, as my wife schooled me up when we met at 23. (I’m now 47.)
That it’s #2021, and women still face such violence, like the nightmare Sarah Everard had to endure, is beyond my comprehension.
Just yesterday, I saw a tweet from a female artist in Germany, bemoaning the fact that she wanted to learn to sail, but was too afraid to join a strange man on his boat, alone, for obvious reasons. (I immediately thought of Kim Wall, the Swedish journalist who was murdered on a psycho’s submarine a few years ago.)
Seriously, people, What the Fuck!
How are we living in a world where men, who claim to love their mothers, daughters and wives, so consistently subject women to sexual assault, harassment, or worse?
It simply makes no sense, and even though my daughter is tough, physically strong, and knows how to fight, I am constantly aware of how far she goes when she walks the dog alone, or who might be lurking in the shadows.
Can’t we do better, as a species?
I didn’t mean to start this column off on a negative, but am glad to say that today, we’re doing something a little different, and will publish a series of portfolios by some extremely talented female photographers, thanks to a heads up by my friend and colleague Jon Feinstein, of whom I’ve previously written.
Jon reached out a couple of weeks ago to point me in the direction of The Luupe’s print sale, in honor of Women’s History Month, and I was immediately intrigued.
The Luupe, founded by Keren Sachs, is a platform that connects female photographers with brands, and the sale was meant to support the artists, who also work commercially and/or editorially.
When I asked if some of the women might be willing to share their personal work with us here, five very talented photographers agreed, and the rest, as they say, is history.
We’re thrilled to publish these projects for you, and appreciate that the artists were generous in this regard, as I’m sure you’ll dig the work.
(The photographers are in no particular order, and if you’d like to support them by buying a print, all the better.)
Maria Louceiro is from Portugal, based in Berlin, and specializes in music photography. The images are dreamy, and I love her consistent, pastel color palette. Maria constructed her style by combining film and digital aesthetics, she wrote, in order to create an “ethereal/ otherworldly” vibe, which helps separate her from the crowd.
Penny De Los Santos, in contrast, was born in Germany, (from a military family,) but raised in Texas. She tends to photograph food, and we’re showing her series “Agave Spirit,” which documents families who work in the production of mescal in Central Mexico.
Her use of high-contrast black and white imagery amps up the tension, and if there is a better T-shirt out there than “Donald Eres Un Pendejo,” I’d like to see it. In our correspondence, Penny said “I have always been drawn to the cultural and spiritual connection people have with food. I’ve been lucky to spend most of my career documenting the way people gather and connect around it.”
We can only hope that by 2022, everyone in the world is able to share food, and congregate around tables again. Lord knows I miss it.
Jasmine Durhal is from Michigan, lives in LA, and goes by the name Jass in her commercial practice. She describes her style as being built upon “color theory, physical wellness and clean boldness,” according to her website.
Obviously, I spent a lot of time in my opening intro discussing female strength, and how rarely it is properly honored in popular culture. These images channel power and beauty in a way that just jumps off the screen, and I totally love them.
Amanda Lopez is also based in LA, and is sharing her series “Guadalupe.” She wrote a bit about the work for us, and this segment of the text seemed telling: “With the Guadalupe series, I wanted to pay homage to Mexico’s patron saint and capture the ways in which she’s impacted me. I also explore topics such as womanhood, masculinity, and piety. These photos ask, what does it mean to be divine? The project includes portraits of family and friends who share the same affinity to Guadalupe as I do, as well as images of apparitions found in various public places.”
The consistent use of pink and green is kind of amazing here, in particular the photograph with the sharp, painted fingernails contained within the mesh netting.
Finally, we’re featuring Natalie Jeffcott, who is based in Australia. (How’s that for a global article today?) Her series is called “Childhood Stories,” and I believe it’s the only one of the group that is explicitly related to the Coronavirus-lockdown.
All countries handled things differently, and according to Natalie, she was “limited to a 5km radius from my home.”
The pictures evoke a nostalgia for childhood, and hopefully one day, my children will be able to look back at this time and remember all the hours we spent together, snuggling on the couch watching movies, rather than the fear and anxiety that seemed to take over the world in #2020.
See you next week!