Radical Women

Radical Women Tote Bags
Ongoing Hand Painted Bags of Unapologetic Radical Women.

"I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I always knew the woman I wanted to be" 
~ Diane Von Furstenberg ~

Maya Angelou, 1928–2014.  She is on the most important contemporary poet and writer. In addition, she achieved success in theatre, acting, writing novels and also. Maya also actively participated in the Civil Rights movement. Despite her turbulent childhood, she was able to rise and write about her life experiences with deep feelings, which is reflected in her book “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings “(1969). This book made her one of the first African-American women to reach the bestsellers list, and it was also nominated for the National Book Award. Through her grace and impactful writings, she showed us that  “The honorary duty of a human being is to love.”
“I would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a loving woman, a woman who teaches by being.”
~Maya Angelou~

Simone De Beauvoir, 1908 - 1986. French writer, intellectual, political activist, existentialist philosopher, social theorist, and feminist. She had a critical influence in both feminist existentialism and feminist theory. In fact, she is considered the precursor of the second wave of feminism with her book "The Second Sex". Despite all her professional achievements, Simone once stated that it was her relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre, which was her greatest achievement.
“I wish that every human life might be pure transparent freedom.”
~ Simone De Beauvoir ~

Adeline Virginia Woolf, 1882 – 1941. She is considered one of the most important writers of the 20th-century, and a pioneer in the use of consciousness as a narrative voice. She was born in the UK born into an affluent household and a blended family, including his sister modernist painter Vanessa Bell. At that time the boys in the family were sent to the university, meanwhile, the girls were home-schooled in classic literature. From 1897–1901 she attended the Ladies' Department of Kings College London. There, she studied classics and history and learned about the "New Woman" and the women's rights movement. Encouraged by her father, Virginia began writing professionally in 1900. On 28 March 1941, Woolf drowned herself by filling her overcoat pockets with stones and walking into the River Ouse near her home. Her body was not found until 18 April. Her husband buried her cremated remains beneath an elm tree in the garden of Monk's House.
“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” 
~Virginia Wolf~

Edith Piaf, 1915 — 1963, France. Singer and actress whose songs reflected the tragedies of her own burdensome life. Her mother, a frustrated singer, abandoned her at birth and raised by her grandmother in a brothel. Late in life, she accompanied her father, who was a circus acrobat, while he performed. She began to sing in the streets of Paris and associating with petty criminals. In 1932, Édith gave birth to a daughter, but she died two years later from meningitis. In 1935, she was discovered by a cabaret owner, who gave her her first nightclub job. It was him who gave her the mane of “la môme Piaf (little sparrow) referring to her diminutive size. She fell in love with the middleweight boxer Marcel Cerdan, who died in a plane crash on his way to meet her. All the unfortunate events of her life were expressed through the dramatic style of her voice, which moved audiences with her passionate interpretations, even those who didn’t speak French. In her later life, Edith had several serious car accidents that affected her health, but also due to alcohol and drug abuse. In January 1962, Edith met then 26 years old, Théophanis Lamboukas. He became her second husband and the duo will perform her last big hit, ‘A quoi ça sert l’amour?’. She died at the age of 47, from liver cancer. Her death was mourned across France, and thousands lined the route of her funeral procession.
“I want to make people cry even when they don't understand my words.”
~ Edith Piaf ~ 

Audre Lorde, 1934 – 1992. American writer, poet, womanist, librarian, and civil rights activist. Her poetry is best known for its emotional expression, including deep sentiments about civil and social injustices and her exploration of black female identity.
“I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.”
~ Audre Lorde ~ 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1933. Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Before she was appointed by President Bill Clinton and took the oath of office on August 10, 1993, she was an accomplished attorney who won 5 of six Supreme Court cases related to gender inequality. However, when she graduated from law school in 1959 not a single law firm hired her in New York City, which forced to become a law professor. One of the classes she taught was gender inequality and the law. RGB is the second female confirmed to the court, and one of four female justices to be confirmed. Before justice Sotomayor joined the court, she was the only female justice on the Supreme Court. During that time, she became notable for her dissents, which have become part of-of pop culture. RGB has become a feminist icon in the legal fight for women’s rights.     “You can't have it all all at once. Over my lifespan, I think I have had it all, but in given periods in time, things were rough. And if you have a caring life partner, you help the other person when that person needs it"
~ RBG ~

Julia de Burgos, 1914 – 1953. Puerto Rican poet, and civil rights activist for women and Afro-Caribbean writers, who served as Secretary-General of the Daughters of Freedom, the women's branch of the Nationalist Party. In the early 1930s, Julia was already an accomplished and acclaimed writer, traveling around the island on book tours giving readings. Her poems were inspired by her deep sense of nationalism and social struggle; but, most importantly by her anti-imperialist and anti-colonial feminist ideas. She participated actively in both movements. In January 1940, she left the island with no plans to return; “I want to be universal”, she wrote. After living in Cuba for a couple of years, she arrived in New York City, where Julia struggled to earn a living as a writer due to racial, ethnic, and linguistic discrimination. On July 6, 1953, two police officers found her unconscious on a sidewalk in the Spanish Harlem section of Manhattan. Julia later died of pneumonia at a hospital at the age of 39. Since no one claimed her body and had no identification, the city gave her pauper’s burial. Once her family was able to locate her body, Julia was brought back to her motherland and was given a hero's burial at the Municipal Cemetery of Carolina, in Puerto Rico. A monument was later built at her burial site. Her final collection of poems “El Mar y Tu” (The Sea and You) was posthumously published in 1954. 
“I am Life. I am strength. I am woman"
~ Julia de Burgos ~

María Izquierdo,  1902- 1955 Jalisco, México. After the death of her father, María went to live with her grandparents and aunt, who were devoted and strict Catholics. At age of 15, she had an arranged marriage. By the time she was 17 years old, Maria had already three children. In 1920, the family moved to Mexico City. It was there where Maria started to self-taught art techniques. Eventually, Maria left her husband and in 1928 she enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts. She was highly influenced by Diego Rivera, who was at the time, the director of the Academy. She became Diego's favorite student, which created enormous conflicts for Maria at the Academy and forced her to leave in 1931. But Maria was unstoppable and had several exhibitions and international recognition. In 1930, Maria became the first Mexican woman artist to have a solo exhibition in the United States. Maria mixed her talent with courage, which was fundamental in the pursuit of her artistic career despite living in a male chauvinist society. At the end of her career, things got even harder for Maria due to the sexism of the Mexican art structure. Maria died from a second stroke at age of 53 in Mexico City.
"It’s a crime to be born a woman and have talent".
~ Maria Izquierdo ~ 

Yayoi Kusama, 1929. Japanese contemporary artist. She is best known for her sculptures and installations, but Yayoi also practices painting, performance, film, fashion, and poetry. Her art is the channel to her obsessive neurosis, which interestingly made her a counter-culture artist since the 1960’s.  In the 1950’s while leaving in Japan with her conservative family, she wrote a letter to Georgia O'Keeffe asking for artistic advice. Yayoi was desperate to leave Japan and scape its rigid social norms. Her obsession with polka dots has hunted her all her life and eventually led her in the 1970’s to check herself into a mental hospital in Japan, where she resides up to this day; and every day she leaves the hospital to go her studio. She poetically wrote her extraordinary life in her autobiography “Infinity Net”.
“No matter how I may suffer from my art, I will have no regrets. This is the way I have lived my life, and this is the way I shall go on living”.
~ Yayoi Kusama ~ 

Clarice Lispector, 1920 – 1977. Internationally acclaimed Brazilian writer. Born in Western Ukraine, she moved to Brazil as an infant with her family following the First World War. While in law school in Rio, she began publishing her first journalistic work and short stories. By age 23, she had published her first novel. Near to the Wild Heart, was written as an interior monologue, which was considered revolutionary in Brazil at that time. Following her marriage to a Brazilian diplomat, in 1944 she spent the next decade and a half in Europe and the United States. When Clarice returned to Rio in 1959, she began producing her most famous works: Family Ties, The Passion According to G.H., and her masterpiece, Água Viva. Due to an accident in 1966, she spent the last decade of her life in frequent pain, but steadily writing and publishing novels and stories until her death in 1977.
"And even sadness was also something for the rich people, for people who could afford it, for people who didn't have anything better to do. Sadness was a luxury."
~ Clarice Lispector ~

Maxine Waters, 1938. Politician and member the Democratic Party. She is unapologetic and outspoken, which has made her target of racist comments from right wings spokesmen. On July 2017, she got national attention during a heated exchange between her and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during a House Financial Services Committee hearing.   She became frustrated when Mnuchin appeared to be skirting her question and using up her time. As a result, she over and over demanded, "reclaiming my time" as Mnuchin tried to speak over her.
"I am a strong Black Woman and I cannot be intimidated, I cannot be undermined". 

~ Maxine Waters ~

Simone De Beauvoir, 1908 - 1986. French writer, intellectual, political activist, existentialist philosopher, social theorist, and feminist. She had a critical influence in both feminist existentialism and feminist theory. In fact, she is considered the precursor of the second wave of feminism with her book "The Second Sex". Despite all her professional achievements, Simone once stated that it was her relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre, which was her greatest achievement.
"I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for truth - and the truth rewarded me".
~ Simone De Beauvoir ~

Angela Davis, 1944. Political activist, author, and academic. She was the leader of the Community Party USA during 1960's. She was also highly involved with the Black Panthers during the civil rights movement. In 1970 she was prosecuted for conspiracy to commit murder but later acquitted of this charge. That same year, the FBI director J. Edgar Hoover listed Davis on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List.
"Freedom is a constant struggle".
~ Angela Davis ~

Carrie Frances Fisher, 1956 –2016.  American actress, writer, and humorist, who openly spoke about her mental health struggles. She is best known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars films. A character who embodies leadership and a  fearless warrior and became an inspiration for girls during the 1980's at a time where strong female role models were scarce.
"If my life wasn't funny, it would just be true and that's unacceptable"
~ Carrie Fisher ~

Gabriela Mistral, 1889 - 1957. Chilean poet, educator, humanist, and diplomat. She was the first Latin American author to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1945. Despite her international success, in Chile Gabriela was never properly recognized in life due to her homosexuality, and her humble origins.
"Let the earth look at me, and bless me, for now, I and fecund and sacred, like palms and furrows"
~ Gabriela Mistral ~  

Frida Kahlo, 1907 - 1954. Mexican painter, best known for her autobiographical self-portraits. Her turbulent love relationship with Diego Rivera as well her delicate health inspired her work and love letters. She was an active member of the communist party until her death.
"I am my own muse because I am the subject that I know best."
~ Frida Kahlo ~ 

Hillary  Rodham Clinton, 1947. Politician, attorney, and author. While she was the First Lady of Arkansas, she famously responded to a reporter who challenged her ambitions, "I guess I could have stayed home and baked cookies, but I decided to pursue a career instead". Later, when she became the First Lady of the United States, she again made controversy in 1995 at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, when she declared that "human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights". Despite the pressure to tone her speech down, she did not back down and called out human rights violations around the globe without directly naming China. In 2016, Hillary made history again and became the first female presidential nominee of the Democratic Party.
"To all little girls watching right now, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful, and deserving of every chance in the world"
~ Hillary Rodham Clinton ~

Doria Shafik, 1908 - 1975. Feminist writer and activist, who played a crucial role in the campaign for women's rights and suffrage in Egypt. On February 19, 1951, Doria led nearly 1,500 women to storm the Egyptian parliament to demand their rights. After a series of strikes led by Doria, in 1957, the government suppressed her publications, banned her name from the press, and was placed her under house arrest in her apartment for several years, forcing her to spend the rest of her life in seclusion. She committed suicide in 1975.
"A nation cannot be liberated internally or externally while its women are enchained"
~ Doria Shafik ~ 

The Process of the Memory Quilt, Femicides Mexico 2017

When I started this memory quilt I wasn’t expecting to tear myself apart with every stitch. In 2017, I was introduced to Frida Guerrera'...