Ahead of Women’s Equality Day on Aug. 26, which will mark the 99th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States, HBO commissioned a series of paintings featuring four women from HBO shows. Each shines a light on women's struggles for equal pay, representation and agency.
French artist Jeanne Detallante created oil paintings of HBO characters in surreal situations encapsulating challenges they face: Maeve Millay, the “Westworld” host played by Thandie Newton, mixes ingredients like “submissiveness” and “caring” to create the perfect woman. From “Insecure,” Issa Rae’s Issa Dee tries on lipsticks representing different personas like “Angry Black Woman” and “Hyper Erotic Black Woman” and Yvonne Orji’s Molly Carter eyes a male colleague who makes much more money than her, despite putting in less work. Hannah Horvath, Lena Dunham’s character from “Girls,” dodges tomatoes thrown by “Double Standards” in the audience.
The accompanying copy points out how women's fight for equality continues, with lines like "A woman is not equal until she can go off script" and "A woman is not equal until she's free from tired stereotypes."
The campaign by Wieden & Kennedy New York continues HBO’s #BecauseOfHer initiative, marking occasions like International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day. The illustrations are purposefully intersectional—while women have had the vote for nearly a century, the suffrage movement largely abandoned women of color to make its positions more palatable to white lawmakers.
Disparities persist across lines of race, class, sexual orientation and disability. White women earn on average the oft-quoted 80 percent of a man’s wages, but black women earn only 61 percent. The figure drops to 53 percent for Hispanic women.
HBO is also partnering with female-founded companies to promote the campaign. Man Repeller will display the illustrations at gallery events beginning Monday, and The Wing will give away posters, notebooks, tote bags and stickers featuring the illustrations at six of its locations, in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago and Soho in New York City.