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Lightness of Being, 2004 — (C) Chris Levine courtesy Danziger Gallery

The Queen’s State and daily events integrate symbols of power and continuum. The physical crown “is a mnemonic device for some 600 years of British history.”[1] The coronation regalia acted as “sacra, a means of communicating gnosis, the wisdom essential to transform the Queen’s body natural into the body politic.”[2] By wearing emblematic items, The queen’s physical body holds the spiritual and political icons of authority.


[1] Ilse Hayden, Symbol and Privilege: The Ritual Context of British Royalty. (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1987), 32-33.

[2] Ibid., 151.

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Simplicity, 1951.

This sewing pattern publication provided step-by-step guides to manufacturing clothing. Simplicity started in 1931. It was an instrumental aspect to homemakers during the Great Depression who relied on fashionable, mimic-able designs that would save their family money. 

1951 Pattern

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Vietnam War: A Shift in Women’s Roles

Image: Dorothy Marder’s photography of Women Strike for Peace

The Vietnam War challenged traditional gendered roles with the destruction of the family unit due to removal of male figureheads who were prisoners of war. The United States framed Vietnam as the destroyers of an institution by holding these captured men.[1] Natasha Zaretsky argued that “whatever the physical wounds the United States military had inflicted on Vietnam, the psychological wounds inflicted by the Vietnamese on the United States were ultimately more dire.”[2] Families were torn apart and the state asserted that this was an “epidemic of male absenteeism with dire consequences for family and nation alike.”[3] The lack of men in traditional positions at home forced women into the workplace. Females became the viable source of authority for the family. Wives engaged in anti-war activism and earned prominent roles in society.[4] The source of empowerment and independence caused marital problems when men returned from war. Dissent arose from the war-related problems and couples filed for divorce in exponential numbers.[5] Children suffered from unstable family situations and questioned authority. The lack of male leadership led to frustrated and rebellious young adults.[6] This emerging generation experienced a severe shift in gender roles. Since the traditional male authority position transferred to the mothers, they redefined the meaning of an authentic family unit.


[1] Natasha Zaretsky, No Direction Home (Chapel Hill: University of Carolina Press, 2007), 27.

[2] Ibid., 31.

[3] Ibid., 29.

[4] Ibid., 46.

[5] Ibid., 47.

[6] Ibid., 53.

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