By: Gigi Grimes
Feminism: a word that some men and women proudly own, while others refuse to be associated with it. For all of its controversy, feminism is at the forefront of discussions in today’s media, whether it’s Beyonce flashing the word above her head or the US Women’s National Soccer Team calling for playing fields of equal standard to their male counterparts. And now, the word has stretched its influence to a place where most would barely expect it—the Pirelli Calendar.
Pirelli, an Italian tire company, releases this world famous Calendar each year as a limited edition “art item.” Started in 1964 in London during the “Swinging London” age, the Calendar represented the changing times and the new, more risqué culture. Known for its revolutionary design, the Calendar featured a groundbreaking issue featuring only black models in 1987 (including a young Naomi Campbell), thus empowering these models in the industry. Though it has made strides in its portrayal of women in art, the Calendar typically displays women in a hyper-sexualized manner (frequently posing nude), looking almost like pin-up girls.
Model Naomi Campbell, 1987. Photo by Terence Donovan
Model Adriana Lima, 2005. Photo by Patrick Demarchelier
In the 2016 Calendar, this has all changed. Featuring female leaders in various industries across the globe, the Calendar takes a more empowering stance and displays the women in a more professional light. Of the twelve incredible women featured, Serena Williams, Yao Chen, Patti Smith, Amy Schumer, Yoko Ono, Mellody Hobson, Fran Lebowitz, Agnes Gund, Ava DuVernay, Shirin Neshat, Kathleen Kennedy, Tavi Gevinson, and Natalia Vodianova, only Amy Schumer and Serena Williams appear nude. In a press conference photographer Annie Leibovitz said of Schumer’s photo, “the idea was that she was the only one who had not got the memo about wearing clothes.”
Comedian Amy Schumer, 2016. Photo by Annie Leibovitz
Editor in Chief of Rookie Online Magazine Tavi Gevinson, 2016. Photo by Annie Leibovitz
This portrayal of women in a way that respects them evokes the changing views of society. More women today participate and graduate from colleges and universities and play a key role in the professional workplace. Women today have more options than ever before and are taking advantage of their ability to make a choice to have a career for themselves. With female empowerment coming from every corner of the media, take it all in and own your day because you’re all ***flawless.