Sunday, August 15, 2010
You're Looking at the Dutch Gloria Steinem
What makes someone cool? If I knew I'd be cool. But off the bat, I'd guess it's taking something accessible to everyone and making it your own, and as a result wholly original. That's what Merel Rolf's mom did with mod sweater dress and goggle glasses. Go ahead and purchase them, you won't look as good. It's something about her smile and posture and her shag of hair, like she got dressed to kill and then totally forgot what she was wearing because her mind was on bigger things. And they were. AnneMarie was a founding member of the Dutch activist group Dolle Mina. (a documentary was made abut them recently)
Founded in 1969, Dolle Mina, were a gang arch feminists with a brilliant sense of humor. To say they were ahead of their time is an understatement. Their cause centered around equal rights in healthcare. Their tactics played the Dutch media like a string guitar. Vying for medical coverage for women smokers, they protested with clever signage that said "women had the right to get lung cancer too." Which is funny. But what? Insurance didn't cover women with lung cancer? A sub group fought for the legalization of abortion, "Boss of our own Bellies" was their slogan. In a time and place when women really didn't have rights, they tackled major issues with innovation. They occupied a business school that refused women students and held a public bra-burning, they tied pink ribbons all around the city in protest of the fact that only men could use public toilets.
Public toilets, people. AnneMarie is not perplexed. Instead standing in a square in the Hague, she looks like she knows a really good secret: Things are about to change. I like your style, AnneMarie.