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Classic Painting Feminist Memes, Mary Cassatt & Women's Suffrage

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Aug 18, 2020 • View in browser

Welcome to the new Hyperallergic newsletter!
Our new newsletters will still deliver the latest stories from Hyperallergic directly to your inbox, but will now feature more voices, more fun, and more context from our editors. We hope you love it.
Today, we celebrate the 19th amendment, look at funny feminist memes that use classic paintings, and more.
– Hrag Vartanian, Editor-in-chief

Let’s Celebrate the 19th Amendment!
Mary Cassatt’s Independent, Feminist Spirit
Today is the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, which guaranteed all American women the right to vote, even if critics have long pointed out that it didn’t apply to Black and other American women.
To commemorate the day, we published an excerpt from Bridget Quinn’s new book, She Votes, which discusses Impressionist artist Mary Cassatt’s involvement with and support for women’s suffrage.
Quinn relays Cassatt’s friendship with Louisine Havemeyer, “an avid art collector and powerhouse suffragist.” Quinn writes:
On long afternoon walks, Havemeyer and Cassatt discussed everything that was wrong in the world and how they would fix it. Women’s suffrage was essential. “If the world is to be saved, it will be the women who save it,” Cassatt agreed. I like to picture them hiking the hilly countryside in their big hats and long skirts. Cassatt thin and walking with a cane, Havemeyer energetic and sure-footed, both of them gray-haired and elegant, a living Impressionist picture. And like Impressionism, though offering a pretty picture, these dames were rebels cackling beneath their parasols.
In 1912 Havemeyer had thrown a successful double-billing, an El Greco/Goya show, to raise money for suffrage. She decided she’d do it again with a modern master: Degas. But she realized a suffrage exhibit without a woman artist was wrongheaded. (Yes.) She asked if Cassatt would join Degas. More than willing, Cassatt liked the idea of poking a feminist finger in Degas’s patriarchal eye.
It’s a nice way to remember how far we’ve come and how much further we have to still go. If you want to read more about Cassatt, I would suggest Jessica Campbell’s lovely comic about the artist, and this look at an exhibition that focused on her early prints by Allison Meier.
Feminist Meme Humor
Classic Paintings Provide the Perfect Backdrop for Feminist Memes About Mansplaining
Nicole Tersigni compiles feminist memes that poke fun at the exhausting tradition of mansplaining, and we’re here for it. Sarah Rose Sharp, who has a wicked sense of humor herself, talks to Tersigni, who has this to say about the pushback she’s gotten:
Oh, there are always going to be people (usually men) (not all men) who have something rude to say whenever a woman makes a statement online. They’re easy to ignore though, especially since the response has been so overwhelmingly positive … I think what surprised me the most, just because I hadn’t really considered it, has been the number of older women (in their 70s and 80s) who have reached out and said they are so thankful for the book and wish they’d had something like it when they were younger. That’s very meaningful to me.
There’s a long tradition of feminist humor and satire, so I’d like to suggest checking out some past articles about the work of Posy Simmonds, Mira Schor, and even 19th-century art writer Vernon Lee.
More from Hyperallergic
Magnum Photos Will Reexamine Its Archive Following Outcry Against Child Exploitation Images
Shellyne Rodriguez’s Drawings Expand the Definition of “Essential Workers”
Meet LA’s Art Community: Cauleen Smith Is “Thinking About Black Women Who Reject Patriarchal Orders”
What Happens When a Thousand Teenage Boys Form Their Own Government
And I’m going to give the last word to writer and cultural commentator Anand Giridharadas:
Anand Giridharadas
This election boils down to whether you are more worried about the state of the mail or the state of the male.
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