Having only one woman in the photo is not a victory

Having only one woman in the photo is not a victory

The Association of Judges and Judges for Democracy this week denounced the absence of women from the presidential table in the process of handing over positions to the latest promotion in the judiciary. All the men were at the table, including King Philip VI.

When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked what ratio of men to women seemed fair to her as representative of the United States Supreme Court, she responded provocatively: “Nine women!” That is, all members. If they scolded him that this would be unfair, they obviously didn't think the same way when there were nine men. In 1981, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor became the first and only woman on the United States Supreme Court. For twelve years, she was the only woman in the picture until Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined in 1993.

Even today, at large corporate or business events, at summits or meetings, the absence of women or the unprecedented presence of a single woman in a crowd of men is noted in official photographs. In 2022, the book was published by documentary filmmaker and producer Amy Humes The only woman (One woman, in the Spanish version), edited by Phaidon. The book contains more than a hundred images, the most notable of which is: a lone woman appearing among a group of men. This is the phenomenon she named The only woman, the only woman. At times, trapped and almost imperceptible, it motivates the reader into a game similar to that of finding Wally in the crowd. In other cases, it appears in a central position, as a rarity to be demonstrated or as an act of respect. Humes documented each photo and identified the woman as closely as possible. These pictures raise questions. Who was he? What was he doing there? What was the situation that prompted her to join that group of men? It has happened in offices, clubs, universities, courts and governments. It passed between the Bauhaus Artists' Group and the American Society of Sugarbeet Technologists. Through archival research, Humes discovered that in some of the negatives, the lone woman was identified as A a pet. The Smurf Principle: A woman can only be a woman. The feminine presence serves as a slight temptation for other men. There's a dock worker in Aberdeen, or a railway employee, or just someone's wife. There are terrifying images: that of an indigenous woman in the middle of a group of men as if she were the trophy of a hunt, or a naked model as fifteen men perform artistic tests on her body. There are some with first and last names. There's Anna Searcy with her fellow medical students in Missouri in 1897. Or Virginia Wright, a professional thief, caught with her fellow thieves in 1931. Or reporter Jovita Edar at the Laredo newspaper press in 1914, or Jane Campion in the film's official photo. The directors of the Cannes Film Festival in 2007. Or editor-in-chief Katharine Graham in 1975, at one end of a huge table of two dozen men who make up the board of directors of the Associated Press. The book tells us about the indisputable connection between power and masculinity, and more than a tentative gesture toward a more equal world, it is the magnificence and omnipotence of patriarchy.

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In 2024 we still see in newspapers pictures of boardrooms or meetings of senior officials where they are all men. Sometimes, there's a pioneer. Single Woman But a single woman is not considered a victory, she is just the exception that proves the rule.

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