Stanford’s Robert Sapolsky Demystifies Depression, Which, Like Diabetes, Is Rooted in Biology

We know that depression affects people from all walks of life. Rich. Poor. Celebs. Ordinary Joes. Young. Old. But, somehow after the death of Robin Williams, there's a renewed focus on depression, and my mind turned immediately to a lecture we featured on the site way back in 2009. The lecture is by Robert Sapolsky, a Stanford biologist, who has a talent for making scientific subjects publicly accessible. A recipient of the MacArthur genius grant, Sapolsky notes that depression --- currently the 4th greatest cause of disability worldwide, and soon the 2nd -- is deeply biological. Depression is rooted in biology, much as is, say, diabetes. As the lecture unfolds, you will see how depression changes the body. When depressed, our brains function differently while sleeping, our stress response goes way up 24/7, our biochemistry levels change, etc. You will see that biology is at work.

Sapolsky is one compelling teacher. So you might not want to miss his Stanford course, Introduction to Human Biology. It's equally worth your time. You can always find it housed in our collection 1,300 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

Note: An earlier version of this post appeared on the site in August, 2014.

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Apollo 11 in Real Time: A New Web Site Lets You Take a Real-Time Journey Through First Landing on the Moon

It only took four days. Four, long, nail-biting days where anything could go wrong, with so many fraught steps, between the liftoff of Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong leaving the first footprint on the moon. And now fifty years stretches between us and those days, very brief days indeed, where the population of the earth came together over one stunning act of science and ingenuity. Yes, it was an American flag planted on the moon, but it was one giant leap for mankind.

This July we might want to revisit those warm feelings about humanity in what feels like a diminished world, and look in wonder at the stars again. The Apollo In Real Time website is here to do just that.

Now you can go to this website, sit back and watch as the entire Apollo 11 mission unfolds in real time.

It’s a beautifully designed website, looking like a control panel from NASA itself. There are three timelines up top to show exactly where we are over the entire course of the nine days, from launch to re-entry. On the left there is a summary of Mission Status, including velocity and distance from the earth. Below is a real time transcript between mission control and the craft. And a strip down the middle offers over 40 different channels of audio from all the main and not-so-main players, a total of 11,000 hours, most of which has never been heard before. Where available there’s film and video footage, along with photographs, a lot of it taken by the astronauts themselves, and all in the best possible quality. So if you think you’ve seen this footage over and over, think again.

(Side note: I find just listening to the sounds of mission control is very relaxing. I'm thinking a lot of you will agree.)

The site is the creation of Ben Feist, a software engineer and historian at NASA, along with his team of collaborators, who undertook something similar a few years ago for Apollo 17.

via Kottke.org

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Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the artist interview-based FunkZone Podcast and is the producer of KCRW's Curious Coast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, read his other arts writing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.

How to Argue With Kindness and Care: 4 Rules from Philosopher Daniel Dennett

Photo by Mathias Schindler, via Wikimedia Commons

Drawn from Aristotle and his Roman and Medieval interpreters, the “classical trivium”—a division of thought and writing into Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric—assumes at least three things: that it matters how we arrive at our ideas, it matters how we express them, and it matters how we treat the people with whom we interact, even, and especially, those with whom we disagree. The word rhetoric has taken on the connotation of empty, false, or flattering speech. But it originally meant something closer to kindness.

We might note that this pedagogy comes from a logocentric tradition, one that privileges writing over oral communication. But while it ignores physical niceties like gesture, posture, and personal space, we can still incorporate its lessons into spoken conversation—that is, if we’re interested in having constructive dialogue, in being heard, finding agreement, and learning something new. If we want to lob shots into the abyss and hear hundreds of voices echo back, well… this requires no special consideration.

The subject of sound rhetoric—with its subsets of ethical and emotional sensitivity—has been taken up by philosophers over hundreds of years, from medieval theologians to the staunchly atheist philosopher of consciousness Daniel Dennett. In his book Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking, Dennett summarizes the central rhetorical principle of charity, calling it “Rapoport’s Rules” after an elaboration by social psychologist and game theorist Anatol Rapoport.

Like their classical predecessors, these rules directly tie careful, generous listening to sound argumentation. We cannot say we have understood an argument unless we’ve actually heard its nuances, can summarize it for others, and can grant its merits and concede it strengths. Only then, writes Dennett, are we equipped to compose a “successful critical commentary” of another’s position. Dennett outlines the process in four steps:

  1. Attempt to re-express your target's position so clearly, vividly and fairly that your target says: "Thanks, I wish I'd thought of putting it that way."
  2. List any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
  3. Mention anything you have learned from your target.
  4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

Here we have a strategy that pays dividends, if undertaken in the right spirit. By showing that we understand an opponent’s positions “as well as they do,” writes Dennett, and that we can participate in a shared ethos by finding points of agreement, we have earned the respect of a “receptive audience.” Alienating people will end an argument before it even begins, when they turn their backs and walk away rather than subject themselves to obtuseness and abuse.

Additionally, making every effort to understand an opposing position will only help us better consider and present our own case, if it doesn’t succeed in changing our minds (though that danger is always there). These are remedies for better social cohesion and less shouty polarization, for deploying "the artillery of our righteousness from behind the comfortable shield of the keyboard,” as Maria Popova writes at Brain Pickings, “which is really a menace of reacting rather than responding.”

Yelling, or typing, into the void, rather than engaging in substantive, respectful discussion is also a terrible waste of our time—a distraction from much worthier pursuits. We can and should, argues Dennett, Rapoport, and philosophers over the centuries, seek out positions we disagree with. In seeking out and trying to understand their best possible versions, we stand to gain new knowledge and widen our appreciation.

As Dennett puts it, “when you want to criticize a field, a genre, a discipline, an art form… don’t waste your time and ours hooting at the crap! Go after the good stuff or leave it alone.” In “going after the good stuff,” we might find that it’s better, or at least different, than we thought, and that we're wiser for having taken the time to learn it, even if only to point out why we think it mostly wrong.

via Brain Pickings/Boing Boing

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

How Blondie’s Debbie Harry Learned to Deal With Superficial, Demeaning Interviewers

Unprofessional, obnoxious, rude, boring, bullying—all adjectives that can apply when middle-aged men comment incessantly on a woman’s looks, when that woman has met with them to talk about her career. The cringe-factor is magnified a thousandfold when it’s broadcast over airwaves, or fiber and 4G. The actresses and singers who have endured such abuse in front of audiences spans the history of radio and TV.

Blondie’s Deborah Harry got the treatment. Subjected to “years of superficial, tedious, and demeaning questions from journalists,” notes documentary production company Public Interest, she finally “devises a brilliant way to turn interviews on their head.” The video above pulls together a montage of interview clips in which both male and female talking heads start nearly every conversation with Harry by referring to her as “a reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe” or something to that effect. She is visibly annoyed but keeps her cool, which a couple interviewers take as an invitation for near-harassment.

Some might claim the crude interest in Harry’s looks was justified, given her early persona as a punk-rock pinup, but note that most of the interviewers never get around to talking about the music—the reason we know and admire her in the first place. Instead, one British TV presenter follows up the Marilyn Monroe question (if it can be so called) by asking if Harry is “thinking about going into marriage.”

The questions aren’t always lecherous but they are always inane. Harry is clear about one thing. It’s an obligation; she’s there to sell a product. How does she turn the tables? A stuffed animal mascot, a few well-placed “can you believe this shit?” looks at the camera, and a flat-out refusal to answer any questions about Madonna, for a start. Lou Reed and Bob Dylan get credit for being some of the crankiest interview subjects in rock and roll, but Harry had more reason than either of them to hate this part of the job.

See how she handles it, and for contrast, read an interview she did with Bill Brewster in 2014, when Blondie released the reunion album Ghosts of Download. Brewster keeps the focus on the music, and she seems totally thrilled to get the chance to talk about it.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

When Stanley Kubrick Banned His Own Film, A Clockwork Orange: It Was the “Most Effective Censorship of a Film in British History”

"What in hell is Kubrick up to here?" asked Roger Ebert in his original 1972 review of A Clockwork Orange, whose marketing announced it as a film about "the adventures of a young man whose principal interests are rape, ultra-violence, and Beethoven." How could this acclaimed director really want to involve us in the "psychopathic little life" of this dubious protagonist? "In a world where society is criminal, of course, a good man must live outside the law. But that isn't what Kubrick is saying. He actually seems to be implying something simpler and more frightening: that in a world where society is criminal, the citizen might as well be a criminal, too."

Others in the press leveled similar criticisms at A Clockwork Orange, most of them much simpler and more accusatory. They had more serious consequences for the picture in Kubrick's adopted homeland of England. Within two weeks of its release there, writes David Hughes in The Complete Kubrick, "right-wingers and tub-thumping MPs were baying for the film to be banned there before copycat violence could spread among the nation's impressionable youth. Under a headline that read 'CLOCKWORK ORANGES ARE TICKING BOMBS,' the Evening News predicted that the film would 'lead to a clockwork cult which will magnify teen violence.'"

The direct attributions of violent incidents involving young people to A Clockwork Orange continued until the film was finally pulled from British theaters — by the filmmaker himself. "In early 1974, Kubrick and Warner Bros quietly withdrew it from circulation," Hughes writes, "refusing to allow it to be shown under any circumstances." Attempted breaches of this "most effective censorship of a film in British history" were dealt with harshly: London's Scala Cinema, for example, was forced to shut its doors forever after showing the film in 1992. A Clockwork Orange finally received a British re-release in 2000, the year after Kubrick's death.

That same year the documentary Still Tickin': The Return of A Clockwork Orange, which you can watch on YouTube, told the story of the film's suppression and re-emergence. But why would such a forcefully individualistic filmmaker as Stanley Kubrick pull his own film from circulation in the first place? "Stanley was very insulted by the reaction, and hurt," Hughes quotes his widow Christiane as saying. Kubrick "didn't want to be misunderstood and misinterpreted," nor did he want to keep receiving the "death threats" that the bad press had been drawing.

Kubrick "never spoke about the decision" to ban his own movie, writes Devin Faraci at Birth.Movies.Death., and surely didn't see it as to blame for youth violence in Britain, but "he was still sickened to see the clothes of his characters hung on these perpetrators. The message of his film was being missed, and he refused to let the movie take on a life of its own." Kubrick had discussed his own opposition to the idea that art promotes violent behavior during the initial promotion of A Clockwork Orange: "There has always been violence in art," he said to journalist Michel Ciment. "There is violence in the Bible, violence in Homer, violence in Shakespeare, and many psychiatrists believe that it serves as a catharsis rather than a model."

In Kubrick's view, "the people who commit violent crime are not ordinary people who are transformed into vicious thugs by the wrong diet of films or TV. Rather, it is a fact that violent crime is invariably committed by people with a long record of anti-social behavior, or by the unexpected blossoming of a psychopath who is described afterward as having been '...such a nice, quiet boy.'" Either way, "immensely complicated social, economic and psychological forces are involved," and "the simplistic notion that films and TV can transform an otherwise innocent and good person into a criminal has strong overtones of the Salem witch trials." Whether or not Kubrick went too far in withdrawing A Clockwork Orange, he certainly had a clearer sense of what creates the kind of malevolent characters it depicts than many of its early viewers did.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

Michel Foucault and Noam Chomsky Debate Human Nature & Power on Dutch TV (1971)

Two academic stars and heroes of anti-authoritarian leftist political thought sit down to debate human nature—nowadays such events occur more rarely than they did in the 60s and 70s, when the counterculture and anti-war movements made both Michel Foucault and Noam Chomsky famous. Now, when two thinkers of such caliber sit down together, their conversation is immediately distilled into tweeted commentary, sometimes illustrated with gifs and video clips. We get the gist and move on to the next link.

In 1971, when Foucault and Chomsky joined host Fons Elders on Dutch TV, those viewers who tuned in would have to follow the conversation for themselves—for the most part—though it aired in a partly abridged version with commentary from a Professor L.W. Nauta. “Chomsky is at the height of his linguistic-scientific mode,” notes New Inquiry, where “Foucault performs a genealogy of scientific truth itself.”

After an introduction in Dutch by Dr. Nauta, Elders welcomes his guests onstage in English as “tonight’s debaters,” two “mountain diggers, working at the opposite sides of the same mountains, with different tools, without knowing even if they are working in each other’s direction.” It’s a characterization that amuses both Chomsky and Foucault, who aren’t discovering each other’s differences so much as enacting them for the studio audience of “early-70s Dutch intelligentsia.”

The two do find some common ground, in Foucault’s critique of the dominant history of science, for example. Where they differ, they seem to be speaking different languages, and they are also literally speaking different languages. Chomsky begins in English, Foucault responds in English with apologies for his lack of fluency, then switches to French. Those of us who aren’t fluent in both languages will have to rely on the translation, as many of us do when reading Foucault as well, a situation that should give us pause before we draw conclusions about what we think he’s saying.

Still, those inclined to reject Foucault as a rejector of science should pay closer attention to him, even in translation (into English, Portuguese, and Japanese subtitles in the video above). He does not reject the notion of scientific fact, but rather, as Wittgenstein had decades earlier, points out that much of what we take as conceptual reality is no more than vague, meaningless abstraction, “peripheral” words and phrases that do “not all have the same degree of elaboration” as more precise scientific terms.

Fuzzy ideas, for example, like "human nature... do not play an ‘organizing’ role within science.” Neither “instruments of analysis” nor “descriptive either,” they “simply serve to point out some problems, or rather to point out certain fields in need of study.” They are signposts for the unknown, a “scientific shopping list,” as Professor Nauta puts it when he breaks in to helpfully explain to viewers at home what he thinks Foucault means. Nauta’s interventions are drier than the main action—apparently no one thought in 1971 to sensationalize the event.

Well, almost no one thought to sensationalize the event. Anarchist host Elders “wanted to jazz things up a bit,” writes Eugene Wolters at Critical Theory. “Aside from offering Foucault hashish for part of his payment, Elder tried repeatedly to get Foucault to wear a bright red wig.” According to the James Miller in The Passion of Michel Foucault, Elders “kept poking Foucault under the table, pointing to the red wig on his lap, and whispering, ‘put it on, put it on.”

Chomsky found the exchange less than amusing, later calling Foucault “totally amoral” and saying that he “wildly exaggerates.” These minor spectacles aside, the Chomsky-Foucault debate is less epic showdown and more two mostly parallel, only occasionally intersecting, discourses on “a wide range of topics, from science, history, and behaviorism to creativity, freedom, and the struggle for justice in the realm of politics.” If some of that discussion seems overly obscure at times, just imagine Foucault in a bright red wig, and later enjoying what he and his friends called “Chomsky hash.”

The text of their debate has been published. Read The Chomsky-Foucault Debate: On Human Nature.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

How the Universe Will Come to Its Explosive End: Trillions of Years Covered in 29 Timelapse Minutes

We all know that Earth won't last forever. But nothing else in the universe will either, and you can witness the series of explosions, evaporations, expirations, and other kinds of cosmic deaths that will constitute the next one trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion years in the video above. Conveniently, it doesn't take quite that long to watch: the time-lapse gets from just a few years into the future to the time at which the last black hole vanishes in under half an hour, doubling its own speed every five seconds. Not only does Earth go first, destroyed by the dying sun, but it happens at the 3:20 mark.

Most of us have no idea what might possibly play out in the universe over the next 26 or so time-lapsed minutes. But more astrophysics-inclined minds like Brian Cox, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sean Carroll, Janna Levin, and Michio Kaku have put a great deal of thought into just that, and it is from their words that this video's creator John D. Boswell, known on Youtube as melodysheep, crafts its narration.

And what this formidable cast of scientists narrates resembles sequences from the biggest-budget science-fiction movies, which shows how far visual effects have come since A Brief History of Time, Errol Morris' thematically similar 1991 documentary on the late Stephen Hawking — a figure who has also appeared in Boswell's previous work.

However it's told, the narrative remains the same: "the death of the sun, the end of all stars, proton decay, zombie galaxies, possible future civilizations, exploding black holes, the effects of dark energy, alternate universes, the final fate of the cosmos," as Boswell puts it. "This is a picture of the future as painted by modern science," and one that "gives a profound perspective — that we are living inside the hot flash of the Big Bang, the perfect moment to soak in the sights and sounds of a universe in its glory days, before it all fades away." Thanks to the work of generation upon generation of scientists, as well as the work of creators like Boswell who interpret their findings in far-reaching ways (this time-lapse of the future has already racked up nearly 12.5 million views), we know how the story of the universe ends. Now what will we do with the chapters granted to us?

via Aeon

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

The Ruins of Chernobyl Captured in Three Haunting, Drone-Shot Videos

Voices of Chernobyl—Svetlana Alexievich’s oral history of the 1986 nuclear explosion in Belarus—brings together the harrowing testimonies of over 500 eyewitnesses to the accident: Firefighters, nurses, soldiers, former Soviet officials, engineers, nuclear scientists, and ordinary Soviet citizens (at the time), who saw, but could not understand, events that would cost tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of lives.

We will never know the exact toll, due to both internal cover-ups and the immeasurable long-term effect of over 50 million curies of radionuclides spread out over the Soviet Union, Europe, and the globe for over three decades. But Alexievich’s book eschews “the usual approach of trying to quantify a disaster in terms of losses and displacement,” notes Robert Matthews at the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. She opted instead to tell the stories “of individuals and how the disaster affected their lives.”

The inherently moving, dramatic stories of people like Lyudmilla Ignatenko—the wife of a doomed firefighter whose unforgettable journey opens the book—immediately draw us into the “psychologic and personal tragedy” of the disaster. For their vividness and sheer emotional impact, these stories have a cinematic effect, filling our imagination with images of grisly tragedy and a grim persistence we might not exactly call heroism but which certainly counts as a close cousin.

It’s no wonder, then, that parts of Alexievich’s deservedly-Nobel-winning history made such a brilliant transition to the screen in Craig Mazin’s HBO miniseries, which draws from stories like Lyudmilla’s in its portrait of the explosion and its containment. The series' psychological focus, and the need to create individual heroes and villains, creates “confrontation where confrontation was unthinkable” in reality, as Masha Gessen writes in her critique at The New Yorker. We cannot trust Chernobyl as history, though it is incredibly compelling as historical fiction.

Rather what the show gives viewers, writes Gessen, is a stunningly accurate visual portrayal of the time period, one that seems at times to have recreated historical footage shot-for-shot. The show’s total immersion in the bleak, bureaucratic world of mid-eighties Soviet Russia has so enthralled viewers that people have taken to posting Instagram photos of themselves inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Though it may seem like a foolish thing to do given the levels of radiation still present in much of the area, Chernobyl has in fact been slated for redevelopment since 2007. Tourists began visiting the area not long afterwards.

Since the zone became accessible, hours of footage from Chernobyl and nearby city of Pripyat, former home of Lyudmilla Ignatenko, have appeared in amateur video and and more professional productions like “Postcards from Pripyat” (top), shot by Danny Cooke for CBS, “The Fallout,” a demo reel shot by Aerobo Designs, and the drone footage in the Wall Street Journal video just above. These are stunning montages of decaying Soviet cities left behind in time. Even emptied of the individuals whose stories keep us compulsively reading eyewitness accounts like Alexievich’s and watching fictionalized dramas like Mazin’s, the videos still have a story to tell, a visual account of the remains of an empire brought low by corruption, fear, and lies.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Lost Miles Davis Album, Rubberband, Will Finally Be Released This Fall: Hear the Title Track, “Rubberband,” in Five Different Versions

Jazz is a collaborative art, no matter how big the egos and outsized the personalities involved. Even bandleaders as autocratic as Miles Davis are referred to in the context of their ensembles and in the company of their finest players. Davis knew how good his collaborators were. He gave them ample space to prove it and pushed them to improve. Usually pushed them out the door, to legendary solo careers and new musical dynasties: John Coltrane and Herbie Hancock come to mind immediately.

As the 80s dawned, popular music on the whole became increasingly producer-driven. Digital synthesizers and samplers took prominence, and jazz greats like Davis and Hancock followed suit. (Would Coltrane have made computer music in the 80s had he lived to see them?) In 1986, Davis’s album Tutu fiercely “divided fans and critics,” notes Jazzwise magazine. “Miles recorded his trumpet parts over a lush electric soundscape, produced from a battery of samplers, synthesizers, sequencers and drum machines.”

Mostly “produced, arranged, played, and composed,” by bassist Marcus Miller—anticipating the current phenomenon of producer-created albums—Tutu "was a product of the 80s, a decade where music was often in danger of becoming subservient to technology." In Davis’ hands, the technological approach to jazz produced a classic that “continues to thrive” in the jazz world, covered by several major artists. Another album Davis recorded around the same time, Rubberband, never got the chance to have this kind of impact—but we will soon get to imagine what might have happened had he released the 1986 funk, soul, dance album at the time.

In its finished form—finished, that is, by original producers Randy Hall and Zane Giles, and Davis’ nephew Vince Wilburn, Jr., who played drums on the album—Rubberband sounds ahead of its time, seeming to forecast the smooth neo-soul sound of a decade later. But who knows how much this is an artifact of recent studio decisions. The impression, in any case, comes only from the title track, released last year in five different versions on the Rubberband EP. Featuring singer Ledisi, the song presages the hip-hop-adjacent, horn-and-female-vocal-driven funk of the Brand New Heavies, Erykah Badu, and Meshell Ndegeocello.

At the same time, “Rubberband” incorporates some of the more banal elements of the genre, such as an upbeat, somewhat insipid chorus about making a better life. The track crosses fully over into contemporary dance music—it is no longer jazz at all, really. Whether or not we can say that about the entire album remains to be seen. The full, completed, album will be released on September 6th (pre-order here), with a cover painting by Davis himself. “Set to be his first album for Warner Bros. Records following his departure from longtime label Columbia,” reports Pitchfork, “that record was ultimately shelved” in favor of Tutu.

The record features other guest singers, so we might expect more jams like “Rubberband,” but one never really knows with Davis, who arguably invented—or at least perfected—producer-driven, studio-made jazz records many years earlier, first on the groundbreaking In a Silent Way in 1969, then on the even more groundbreaking Bitches Brew in 1970. Even as his music began to sound more commercial, its roots in four decades of radically changing jazz every few years made it wholly original to the minds of Miles Davis and his collaborators.

via Pitchfork

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Women Who Draw: Explore an Open Directory That Showcases the Work of 5,000+ Female Illustrators

The seemingly never-ending era of female artists laboring in the shadows cast by their male colleagues is coming to a close.

Ditto the tyranny of the male gaze.

Women Who Draw, a database of over 5,000 professional artists, offers a thrillingly diverse panoply of female imagery, all created, as the site’s name suggests, by artists who identify as women.

Launched by illustrators Julia Rothman and Wendy MacNaughton in response to a dismaying lack of gender parity among cover artists of a prominent magazine—in 2015, men were responsible for 92%—the site aims to channel work to female artists by boosting visibility.

To that end, each illustrator tossing her hat in the ring is required to upload an illustration of a woman, ideally a full body view, on a white background.

The result is an astonishing range of styles, from an international cast of creators.

Not surprisingly, the majority of contributors are based on the East Coast of the United States, but given the site’s mission to promote female illustrators of color, as well as LBTQ+ and other less visible groups, expect to see growing numbers from Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Central and South America.

In addition to indicating their location, artists can checklist their religion, orientation, and ethnicity/race. (Those who would check“white” or “straight” should be prepared to accept that those categories are tabled as “WWD encourages people to seek out underrepresented groups of women.”)

Bean counting aside, the personalities of individual contributors shine through.

Some, like Paris-based American Laura Park, choose explicit self-portraiture.

Vanessa Davis gives the lie to bikini season

SouthAsian illustrator Baani makes an impression, documenting women of her community even as she reinterprets tropes of Western art.

Pé-de-Ovo Studio corners the market on plushies.

Women Who Draw’s latest crowd-sourced project is concerned with personal stories of immigration.

Final words of encouragement from Lindsey Andrews, Assistant Art Director for the Penguin Young Readers Design Group:

Just keep putting your work out there in any form you can think of. Update your various social platforms regularly. Mail postcards of your work. Send emails. Network when you can. But, mainly, do what you love. Even if you have a portfolio full of commissioned pieces, I still like to see what you create when you get to create whatever you want. Also, let me know your process!

Submit your work here.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inkyzine.  Join her in NYC tonight, Monday, June 17 for another monthly installment of her book-based variety show, Necromancers of the Public Domain. Follow her @AyunHalliday.





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