If you could invite four women to dinner dead or alive who would it be? Inspired by last year’s editors, we try to answer this question just as they did.
Grace: Georgia O’Keefe, often regarded as the mother of American Modernism, was an influential and talented artist who created over 900 paintings. Although she was very successful, she quit painting three times and lost eyesight as she aged — neither of which deterred her from continuing to paint and create in the future. She wanted to be known not as a “female artist,” but just an artist. She debunked the idea many held that gender was a determinant to artistic ability and proved she was just as capable as any male painter at the time. To me, O’Keefe represents determination and resilience. She once said “I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life, and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” She quit three times due to financial problems, mental health and eyesight but she always continued to create and shifted to sculptures when she became completely blind. No weather stopped her either, as she painted nature in torrential rain and the scorching sun. She is truly a beautiful embodiment of a resilient and successful woman, and I would love to have her over for dinner.
Grace: “Well, I’ve been afraid of changing… But time makes you bolder, even children get older.” I have always loved Stevie Nicks; my parents made sure I did from a very young age. She has always served as a powerful female role model to me who wasn’t afraid to present herself how she desired. Her dream-like music would be perfect to listen to over dinner. I think Georgia, Stevie and I would have amazing conversations over the power of women and art as a medium to express ourselves whether that’s painting, singing or writing. I think Stevie would just make me feel confident in myself and point out how “I am stronger than [I] know.” She’s a true rock star.
Maddy: I have written about Joan Didion for the paper before. My friends, I’m sure, are sick of me talking about her, but I can’t help myself. She is an author whose work I consistently find myself returning to, never tiring of her endless prose. Recently I had a discussion with a friend about her work. The friend asked what I like about her work and how I can return to it without getting sick of it. I told her it is because I don’t think there has been or will be anyone who can write with the finality she did. She mulled her work over. For me, I’ve never had the patience. Writing this even, I can’t help but think of when I’ve met the word count. Sometimes the task itself is simply overwhelming. I think that may be what I admire about her the most. She had enough self-respect to recognize that her words demanded meaning, that she owed it to herself to put in the work.
Maddy: Around this time last year, I watched the Martin Scorsese directed show “Pretend it’s a City” featuring sardonic social commentator Fran Lebowitz. Lebowitz objectively is not a good person. But that’s primarily what makes me gravitate towards her. Her cynical commentary represents the truly annoyed part of all of us, though she is able to externalize it in a way that is entertaining and doesn’t err on the side of bitter. She is able to walk that line gracefully despite being abrasive. To me, and to many she shows the fun you can have by being unapologetically yourself.