Sisters in a fashion: Martha Ansara and Elaine Welteroth

Kath Kenny

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This article discusses Martha Ansara and Elaine Welteroth, two US born feminists who came to Australia during two key moments in feminist history, as a way of thinking about the relationship between feminists and fashion. Ansara arrived in Sydney in 1969 carrying women’s liberation literature in her suitcase; she became an important generative figure in the Australia’s women’s liberation movement, particularly as an independent filmmaker and proponent of consciousness raising. Welteroth arrived in 2017 to speak at the Sydney Writers’ Festival during a period of international resurgence of feminist activism. She brought with her images of women of colour she had featured in Teen Vogue and she invoked second wave consciousness raising, albeit in a remodelled, corporate-led form when she talked about the title’s plans to bring young girls around kitchen tables to ‘solve’ political problems. The article uses comments both women have made in relation to fashion and beauty, close readings of their works, and a discussion of their respective feminist milieus to suggest a trajectory of feminism’s relationship to the fashion industry that appears to have changed from a position of opposition to one of open embrace. It also complicates this reading by pointing to the resonances between these women of different feminist eras.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-562
Number of pages15
JournalAustralian Feminist Studies
Issue number98
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2018


  • Martha Ansara
  • Elaine Welteroth
  • Teen Vogue
  • fashion
  • beauty
  • consciousness raising
  • Sydney Women's Film Group
  • Film For Discussion
  • feminism

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