COVER STORY - Suffrage Envoys

COVER STORY - Suffrage Envoys

The Suffrage Envoys are the women who, over history, have been fighting for women’s rights. We have a long past of oppression, so women have learned to brilliantly orchestrate the most beautiful and effective ways to get their messages out. And what better way is there than fashion? With media attention, you have the attention of a nation, maybe a world. So, the suffragists came up with a uniform, which is the colors of their flag: white, purple, and gold. White is for purity, purple is for loyalty, and gold is for the sunflowers in Kansas, where Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton had fought for the right to vote (reference). Since the photography was black and white in the beginning of the suffrage movement, the white was what really popped in the images of women marching. Ergo, women quickly learned that to get their message/image out, white is the most effective. However, I would argue that the pink pussy hats have been very exciting to see as well.

White can be seen worn throughout history when there are important steps being made towards women’s empowerment. Most recently, the women in the House of Representatives came together to wear white for Trump’s State of the Union Address. We currently have the highest number of women in the House in USA history, at 102, that is 23.4%, not even one fourth (reference). So, how do these women decide to make a statement? Fashion! In a sea of dark suits, their white popped exquisitely, again making a perfect photo op, which got the nation talking. Yes, we can celebrate these numbers, and we should. However, women are half of the population. We need to be better represented in our government. With the many steps back the Trump administration is taking on women’s rights, attacking Roe vs Wade, defunding Planned Parenthood, appointing alleged rapists, such as Kavanaugh, we have a long way to go, but I say we do it in style.

This editorial is a nod to the many women who have hit the streets and are fighting for us in congress. Thank you, and we are with you. Together we are stronger. But don’t just listen to me, I asked each of my stunning models to add their voices to the movement below.

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Foreword by Kira Bucca, Editor in Chief of Jejune Magazine.

Dana Tyne at Wilhelmina NYC

How do you feel being a woman in this day and age?
It’s exciting!! Although I do believe that there is still so much that can be improved upon when it comes to equality for women. It also feels as though the world is open to conversation and for change.

The complexities of modern womanhood can be confusing. There are endless opinions about the ways women should represent themselves and how they should live. At times, I feel this complexity mirrors the divisions that exist in the rest of the world.

Clearly, there is a platform for women in the United States of America to stand up for what you believe and to speak your truth. This pressure can be a lot for some and we should support others as they find their voice.

I remind myself as a women in 2019 that all I can do is take small steps everyday to make my own contribution to the advancement of women.


Do you feel that women's rights have gotten better or worse in America?
Women’s rights have definitely gotten better yet more progress should be made. This current administration has rekindled an attitude of general disrespect for women and many other related problems have resurfaced  that we may not have previously known were relevant to 2019. I for one have never watched so much political news in my life and I enjoy being a part of the conversation.

I believe that Americans and global citizens have a responsibility to not only engage in the conversations that are being brought to the table, but also to act upon them with passion. We are on the right path! Women in the United States are exercising their freedoms and are expressing their unique beliefs more than ever before.


Over the years, women have worn white to show their numbers and get media attention for the suffrage act. Is there anything you like to wear that makes you feel more powerful?
Whenever I know that I will need/want an extra boost of power in my day, I wear some fancy boots. I love boots with cool designs, bold colors and maybe even a little sparkle. I find that my boots keep me grounded, boost my confidence, keep me warm and help me stand a little taller.

How did it make you feel to see the women of the House of Representatives wear all white to show their representation?
The 106 women who stood together in solidarity made me feel proud and inspired.
Proud that these women didn’t just talk about how the country should change, they did something about it and are actively changing history right before our eyes.
They inspire me to believe that the actions I dream of doing can positively change this world, if I just trust myself and work to make my dreams come true.    
 


How would you like to see the representation of women change over the next few years?
I would like to see the representation of women to change by continuing to see more women in STEM [Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics], more women CEOs and women with equal pay. I believe young women emerging as our future leaders should represent themselves as  eclectic, dynamic, and innovative.

We have the great opportunity to explore the world, in a variety of careers. I see a future in which women can choose how they want to live and learn.  We can be the anchors of love at home and the major influencers of businesses and communities.


How would you like to see the representation of women in fashion change over the next few years?
I hope to see women in fashion representing themselves as unapologetically themselves without the confines of the many layers of glass ceilings above us. The fashion industry has many underlying rules that we know are there but cannot speak of without repercussion. I believe there is a facade that the world is changing faster than it is through the lens of the fashion world and within the fashion world itself. Women don’t need to be perfect in order to be perfectly normal. Let us strive to be outspoken, fearless, and confident.


Please feel free to share any additional thoughts on any of  these issues.
“There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.”
- Michelle Obama

MaryAnn at State Management

How do you feel being a woman in this day and age?
Rather than accepting the things we cannot change, we must change the things we cannot accept!” To be a woman in 2019 means being anything you wish to be, but to claim our place in the world we have to be the warriors of change. I am aware of the privileges that women who have come before me have afforded and very grateful for the examples I was shown by strong women in my life.

Do you feel that women's rights have gotten better or worse in America?
While women have made great strides for gender equality, violence and discrimination are still faced. Institutional barriers and equal participation in society are still very much a struggle. Women have not reached equity within the workforce, women still make just 78 cents for every dollar earned by men. As a young mother I personally experienced prejudice in the workplace. I was once asked during a job interview for a senior Graphic Designer position if I planned to have a baby anytime soon!


Over the years, women have worn white to show their numbers and get media attention for the suffrage act.-How did it make you feel to see the women of the House of Representatives wear all white to show their representation?
Wearing suffragette white was a strong statement, a respectful message of solidarity for women across the country, as well as a clear visual reminder that women will not go back, we owe it to those women who came before us and those that will follow!


Is there anything you like to wear that makes you feel more powerful?
I want my style to be a reflection of my inner life, an extension of me, to feel authentic, feels empowering to me. I am trying to be more conscious of my choices, buying vintage or second hand, choosing sustainable brands whenever possible.

How would you like to see the representation of women change over the next few years?
The reason I began modeling at age 47 (I will celebrate 51 this May) was the frustration I felt over not seeing my own demographic reflected back to me in the fashion and beauty industries. In the last few years, I am very excited to see a steady shift towards diversity and inclusivity in both fashion and beauty.


How would you like to see the representation of women in fashion change over the next few years?
The fashion industry, which is dominated by the spending power of women, is largely run by men. I hope more women will be in positions of power behind the scenes of fashion, as well as showcasing diversity out front!

Cheera Choo at Wilhelmina NYC and Next Miami

How do you feel being a woman in this day and age?
I feel that the TimesUp/MeToo movement has spurred a lot more discussion in women’s equality and is a good sign for the future.


Do you feel that women's rights have gotten better or worse in America?
It’s a toss up. Social media has allowed greater scrutiny of sexual harassment and workplace inequalities being highlighted, but the current government’s push for the revocation of some women’s rights very concerning.

Over the years, women have worn white to show their numbers and get media attention for the suffrage act. Is there anything you like to wear that makes you feel more powerful?
I feel that what you wear everyday, no matter what anyone else thinks, is your most powerful outfit. Who you are and the power you project comes from yourself, not something you bought.

How did it make you feel to see the women of the House of Representatives wear all white to show their representation?
It was a great symbol but it matters little until we see the results of their actions.  How their votes will go and will they really stand up for women’s rights will be the great determinator. A photo op does not create policy.

How would you like to see the representation of women change over the next few years?
I would like the see the representation of women of color to be acknowledged more. While there is a current push for women’s equality, I still see far more inequality for women of color.

How would you like to see the representation of women in fashion change over the next few years?
I would like to see more inclusion of women of color as well as the celebration of the many different looks that women have.

Please feel free to share any additional thoughts on any of  these issues.
I believe we are in the first steps of something greater but we are a society that needs to push harder and strive more to realize that we can always be better than who we are now. More representation, more equality, more of everything that can make the world a better place.

Connie at ONE Management

How do you feel being a woman in this day and age?
Privileged. A privilege to have a voice paved by the brave and courageous women before me who stood against oppression and fought for us to have the rights we do in this modern day.

Do you feel that women's rights have gotten better or worse in America?
Looking back to when women couldn’t even vote and thanks to the NAWSA (National American Women Suffrage Association) led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, in 1869 Wyoming became the first state to grant women complete voting rights I’d say that slow progress is better than no progress. As a nation, we still have so much further to go, however women are finally in a more favorable position to have our voices heard.

Over the years, women have worn white to show their numbers and get media attention for the suffrage act. Is there anything you like to wear that makes you feel more powerful?
There is not a particular item for me that makes me feel more powerful than the power within me. To me, power is a state of mind. Something as intangible as it is internal.

How did it make you feel to see the women of the House of Representatives wear all white to show their representation?
Inspired. To see so many brilliant women come into formation as ONE was truly moving and uplifted my spirits.

How would you like to see the representation of women change over the next few years?
I’d like for the pink tax to be non existent. For women of all races, religious beliefs and/or disabilities to have opportunities based on their level of talent, intellect and capacity.

How would you like to see the representation of women in fashion change over the next few years?
Diversity in fashion is a key proponent for a healthy society. Young girls seeing all different representations of beauty whilst growing up promotes healthy body image and acceptance of self.


Karen Williams at Iconic Focus

How do you feel being a woman in this day and age?
It’s been incredible witnessing the dismantling of reductive classifications and stereotypes about what it means to be a woman and the expansion of gender expression. I feel hopeful knowing that grassroots women’s movements like #MeToo and some individual women’s voices are finally being heard; and that issues like pay equity, sexual misconduct, and maternal care are and will continue to be priorities for the women elected into public office this year. At the same time, I also feel tremendous frustration about the disproportionate lack of gains for far too many women of color.


Do you feel that women's rights have gotten better or worse in America?
For some women, things have gotten better. The rise and popularity of social media platforms, the highly publicized international women’s marches and protests, and the dialogue around sexual misconduct have helped to highlight women’s concerns. There have certainly been prominent examples of women asserting their rights and succeeding to break seemingly impenetrable glass ceilings in many industries. At the same time, women’s rights have suffered major blows: Kavanagh’s appointment to the Supreme Court; the appointment of anti-abortion rights advocates to key positions in the Trump administration; the repeated attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act; and efforts to restrict women’s access to birth control.  

Things have not improved for many women of color, especially poor women of color whose rights have simply never been adequately protected or prioritized. Black women make up only 13% of the population of U.S. women yet they count for more than one-third of female homicide victims in this country. The extreme vulnerability of women of color in the criminal justice system, the appalling lack of proper maternal care for Black women, the unexplained disappearance and/or murders of Native American women and girls, and the disproportionate impact of racial and economic intersectionality in experiences of sexism for women of color are persistent realities.

Over the years, women have worn white to show their numbers and get media attention for the suffrage act. Is there anything you like to wear that makes you feel more powerful?
I feel my most powerful when I’m my healthiest and fittest. It really doesn’t matter what I’m wearing.


How did it make you feel to see the women of the House of Representatives wear all white to show their representation?
The sheer size of the women in white was the first thing that struck me. I was thrilled to see women unapologetically use fashion as a symbol of solidarity and activism.


How would you like to see the representation of women change over the next few years?
I’d like to see more multigenerational, truly diverse and inclusive depictions of women and their experiences without tokenistic explanations or labels. Advertising and media, for example, should regularly and prominently feature women of different ages, body types, from diverse cultural backgrounds and nationalities in a variety of roles. Images are powerful. They can help to normalize, inspire and push boundaries.  

Cover Clothing Credits:
MaryAnn, blazer: Zara, pants: Hamlets Vintage, and shoes: Stuart Weitzman
Dana Tyne, blazer and pants: Hamlets Vintage, and shoes: Stuart Weitzman
Cheera Choo, blazer and pants: Bershka, and shoes: Hamlets Vintage
Connie, jacket: Calvin Klein, skirt: Hamlets Vintage, and shoes: Christian Louboutin
Karen Williams, sleeveless blazer: Zara, bottoms: Hamlets Vintage, and shoes: Bershka

Team:
Photographer/Art Director: Kira Bucca
Lead Fashion Stylist: Richie Candelo
Make-up: Mary Guthrie at Artists By Timothy Priano
Hair: Aleetha Clanton at Agency Gerard Artists
Manicurist: Madison Reese
Photo Assistants: Tam Nguyen
Stylist Assistant: Lee’Arthur

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