Growing up, my mother and grandmother loved visiting London. My siblings and I were fortunate enough to go several times as children, and I have so many fond memories. As a child, I always loved getting to see or do anything that had to do with the royal family. But, now, as an adult, I find myself fascinated with British History; not only from an academic standpoint, but also from a feminist perspective.
I decided to create the painting shortly after Queen Elizabeth II passed away. She was an icon. From being a car mechanic during WW II to being the longest-reigning British monarch, she was an underrated example of feminism for her time. She led a nation during a time when women were portrayed as homemakers, wearing aprons in the kitchen and dutifully waiting for the return of their working husbands.
“The Queen has become a feminist icon, whether she wanted to or not, simply by never letting gender define her. Her gender has always been irrelevant to her capacity to do her job … and by doing that job stoically and with the utmost dedication, she’s inadvertently done a great deal to normalize the idea of having woman in charge. “
- Emma Barnett, host of the BBC’s “Woman’s Hour” 2015
“She fits into the tradition of ruling queens who are very useful in feminism, more through their deeds than their words.”
- Arianna Chernock, author of “the Right to Rule and the Right of Women: Queen Victoria and the Women’s Movement.”
As a female raised in the South, I have felt the societal pressures to conform, to bend under the traditional gender norms of what a woman “should and should not” be. I, personally, admire her from the perspective that even when she felt the overwhelming pressure to conform, she trusted herself and followed her instincts as a leader. She exhibited stability while still being open to change. She prioritized her life’s purpose over the unspoken law that still rings true, even today … women must be self-sacrificing martyrs to be good people/wives/mothers. For that, I admired her.