I’m not sure many people have heard of Audrey Winthers. She was the editor of British Vogue during WW II. She commissioned Cecil Beaton, the acclaimed photographer and designer, to photograph a model against the ruins of a bombed out church in London.
She made an appearance in the magazine not in some glamorous cafe but in the basement of the magazine’s temporary office, amide shattered glass and peeling walls. She was determined to tell her audience about the food shortages and clothes rationing alongside pictures of country houses.
She believed it was simply not modern to be unaware or uninterested in what is going on all around. She suggested people harvest their own vegetables, stock preserves, and, rather than shop, to “mend and make do” with items already in their wardrobes. Pretty progressive for an editor of a fashion magazine.
She presented the world as it was at a time that was not what people wanted to see or to read about. But she felt it was her mission to inform her audience not only of the beauty of the world but also the reality of war. Quite brave for then and even now.
Recently we celebrated the 100 year anniversary of the women’s right to vote. It was a hard-won battle for 80 years until finally in August of 1920 the law was passed. One of the senators from Tennessee who was to be the deciding vote finally voted yes after a letter from his mother told him to “be a good boy”. She encouraged him to do the right thing and give women the well deserved right they had been fighting for.
In this pandemic, five countries with the least amount of cases of the coronavirus are all lead by women. And now we have an African Asian American woman running for Vice President of the United States.
If there is any time better than to be a rebel and a woman I say the time is now. Bring it on.