Sunday, April 24, 2011


Advanced Style short film from teenage peanut video productions on Vimeo.

And that's the good news, says Gloria Steinem. If there exists a precise moment in which I could pinpoint a tremendous personal transformation, it would be as a fifteen year old high school student reading one of Steinem's pivotal pieces, "The Good News is, These are not the Best Years or Your Life", published in September 1980, in Ms. magazine, a feminist publication that Steinem co-founded.

The crux of Steinem's argument, an avid political activist and leader in the 1960's and 1970's second wave feminist movement, was that the popularly held belief that women would reach their most politically active, radical mindsets and achieve their most liberated sense of self within their college years as young and free women in their twenties, was a complete lie. By experience, Steinem purports that in your twenties you are still held captive under the male gaze, which, as a young woman you cannot escape, and in fact, are conditioned to desire, to need.

It is with age, Steinem writes, that you are suddenly freed from the roaming eyes and imaginations of generations of men; it is with age, and this subsequent emancipation, that women begin to conceive of their world and their politics and their values differently - more confidently, more radically, and without the insecurities, personal doubts and a sense of worth dictated by another gender.

Whether or not you agree with her argument, as a young woman, reading Steinem, like reading Ari Seth Cohen's Advanced Style, I am optimistic about my future as an older woman. Where in the past, the myth of the eternity and invincibility of youth made me fear, even loathe the idea of ageing, thanks to Steinem and all the amazing women Cohen documents in his daily blog and his profoundly inspiring short directed by Lina Plioplyte and produced for NownessI look forward to it.

These women saw us through the revolutions of art and culture that shook the western world and beyond in the 60s and the 70s, where women and men fought for society to recast itself to accept the outcasts. Their confidence, their style, their sophistication and their intelligence define these women and I hope one day they will define me.

As Jean and Valerie from Idiosyncratic Fashionistas so wisely tell us young women in Cohen and Plioplyte's video, 

"Young women, you're going to be an old woman one day. Don't worry about it. Don't sweat it. Don't worry about getting older, every era, it builds character."


Iris Apfel in Ari Seth Cohen and Lina Plioplyte's Advanced Style video on Nowness

Idiosyncratic Fashionistas in Ari Seth Cohen and Lina Plioplyte's Advanced Style video on Nowness
Still from Ari Seth Cohen and Lina Plioplyte's Advanced Style video on Nowness

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