Tag Archives: scarlett grant

The Colorful World of Frida Kahlo

Everyone knows Frida Kahlo. After all, she’s the woman with all the monkeys and the unibrow right? Her face is everywhere from bags to coasters to Barbie dolls. But Frida Kahlo symbolizes much more than a doll or a pillowcase to people around the world. Continue reading

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Olympe de Gouges

The history of women in politics has been a long, torrid, even bloody affair. Even women born into positions of power, such as Cleopatra and Elizabeth I, had to fight for their thrones. What about the women who weren’t lucky in the parental lottery? The odds of an ordinary woman gaining access to the political circles before the 20th Century were second-to-none. But even before “feminism” arrived as a concept, one woman dared voice her political opinions. Continue reading

Let Them Eat Cake: The Real Marie Antoinette

No one is more synonymous with the French Revolution than Marie Antoinette. Notorious spendthrift, Austrian spy, and licentious adulterer, Marie became the focus point for everything the French public despised about the Monarchy and the wider Aristocracy. After all, upon hearing the French peasants could not afford bread, she said “Let them eat cake!” Except she didn’t. A vaguely named “Grand Princess” supposedly uttered that statement before Marie Antoinette’s arrival in France. Is it possible many of Marie’s infamous traits were exaggerations, if not outright slander? If so, who was the real Marie Antoinette and what kind of Queen was she? Continue reading

A New Maleficent

Just how do you rework a classic fairy tale, offering something new and different to audiences whilst still maintaining the magic? Maleficent (2014) balances new and old in this wave of live-action adaptations of old animated classics. Interestingly, unlike Cinderella (2015) and Beauty and the Beast (2017), Maleficent is the Wicked-esque version of Sleeping Beauty (1959) where the titular Maleficent receives a rich backstory. This twist on the classic tale has not been used for any other Disney live-action adaptations. Maleficent is unique in not only being able to keep to the bare bones of the original, but also insert some new twists and subversions of fairy tale tropes. Continue reading

The Shape of Water

Women falling in love with monsters is nothing new. Beauty and the Beast is just that—a beautiful young woman falls in love with a monster and the power of true love turns the scary monster into a handsome prince. Even outside the realm of fairy tales, later stories such as The Phantom of the Opera, or the Francis Ford Coppola 1992 adaptation of Dracula had the female lead falling in love with a monster. Even then, the Phantom has the gift of music to woo Christine and Dracula can use his powers to turn into a handsome younger man. Continue reading

V for Vendetta

Turmoil devastates the near future of 2027. A Second Civil War overtakes America and a pandemic of the deadly “St. Mary’s Virus” plagues Europe. Cut off from the rest of Europe, a far-right dictatorship, controlled by the Norsefire Party and its High Chancellor, Adam Sutler, now rule Britain, and imprison and kill political undesirables, such as ethnic minorities; non-Christians; atheists; and members of the LGBT+ community. Martial law and censorship control those that fit the desired criteria of Norsefire. Our main character, Evey, becomes embroiled in the story when she flouts military curfew. This is the premise of the iconic graphic novel (1988) and film (2005) V for Vendetta. Continue reading

Hellboy

Guillermo del Toro knows how to create a dark but beautiful atmosphere. He played with the Victorian Gothic in Crimson Peak (2015), and almost ten years earlier with the warped fairy tale Pan’s Labyrinth (2006). Who better to take on not one, but two big screen adaptations of Mike Mingola’s iconic comic book creation, Hellboy? Continue reading

Not Just Black & White: Dido Elizabeth Belle

In the halls of Kenwood House, a mysterious portrait has fascinated art scholars for hundreds of years. On paper the story seems generic. The Earl and Countess of Mansfield commissioned it, and it portrays their two nieces, Dido Elizabeth Belle and Elizabeth Murray. It’s only when you look at the portrait you see the story, in particular that of the woman on the left, Dido. Dido had an unusual circumstance, she was a mixed-race noblewoman in 18th Century England. More crucially, this portrait depicts both Dido and Elizabeth in equal stature, at a time when any non-white subjects was portrayed in a subservient (if not outright racist) position. This portrait is a main plot device in Amma Asante’s 2013 film Belle, chronicling the story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, and her unique social position. Continue reading

The Remarkable Mary Seacole

Alongside Florence Nightingale, known as the “Lady with the Lamp,” was another woman who improved the desperate conditions of soldiers in the Crimean War—Mary Seacole. For this edition of Femnista, I hope to show the racial prejudices, personal, and financial struggles this remarkable woman faced in caring for her fellow human beings. Continue reading