By Jess Zimmerman | The first thing you saw when entering the Dangerous Beauty exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was a vintage dress from Versace’s 1992–1993 “Miss S&M” collection. Straps of quilted leather crisscrossed the throat and décolletage of a headless mannequin, each strap adorned with a dollar-sized brassy coin bearing the head of a howling Gorgon, a play on Versace’s usual logo of a placid Medusa face. The overall effect was oddly militaristic, a sort of four-star dominatrix look.
Remember those minutes-long social media videos of folks quarantine clapping for frontline workers? And for the medical staff and carers looking after droves upon droves of COVID patients? Do you also remember that most of the ones getting the applause were women? If our global health crisis has made one thing clear, it’s how much we depend on—and take for granted—the recognized and unrecognized work women of all cultures do to keep societies going.
Where would we be without the leadership of extraordinary women who chose to challenge the societal status quo? This year’s theme for International Women’s Day was Choose to Challenge. As Women’s History Month draws to a close, we’re highlighting books from our catalog to celebrate the inspiring women who saw the need for change, and took action for equality!