13 Empowering Illustrations to Remind Everyone of the Women the Media Always Ignores

"We want to see ourselves," Viola Davis said in her acceptance speech for best actress in a drama series at this year's Screen Actors Guild Awards. "We want to be inspired by that. I sometimes want the fantasy, but more often than not, I want reality." 

This sentiment points to a lack of authentic media representation that not only frustrates Davis, but countless women — many of whom are intrepidly working to diversify the images of womanhood that society presents them.

Carol Rossetti is an artist doing just that. In a project she simply calls "Women," Rosetti has amassed a collection of illustrations that highlight female bodies and experiences that are often marginalized or ignored by the mainstream media. Last year, images from Rosetti's collection took the Web by storm. Now the artist is back with even more colorful illustrations that disrupt the "world's attempts to control women's bodies, behavior and identities."

Rossetti told Mic, "When we look at magazine covers we only see young, white, thin, sexy women, but that's not all we can be. We're also black, Latin, Asian, fat, disabled, mentally ill, old, shy, socially awkward, Muslims, lesbians, asexual, etc. People need to be seen."

In addition to educating others through her art, Rossetti, who is based in Brazil, notes that she too has been enlightened over the course of the project. "As the project grew, people from all around the world started sending me suggestions, telling me about their own experiences and challenges," she said. "I got to know so much more than what my town could show me. I got to know about things I had never imagined, and I learned so much from people. It's amazing how much we grow when we listen to different people."

While the series does exclusively feature women, Rossetti notes that "everybody is welcome to identify with the illustrations" and even hopes men, who are not usually encouraged to identify with female characters, will do so. "I remember when I was a kid and movies with women as main characters were seen as 'movies for girls,' and the ones with a main male character were for everyone," she said. "I also like to deconstruct this idea."

The medium of her work, Rossetti adds, may be as important as their messages. "When a girl tells me that some illustration made her day so much better, or when a guy tells me that it was through my work that he noticed he had been disrespectful to some women without realizing (and wouldn't do it anymore), I see that this kind or direct non-aggressive language is important as well," she told Mic

Rossetti said she will continue to work on this project and even recently announced that "Women" will be featured in an upcoming book. While she's excited to have touched so many people with her project, she acknowledges that "these battles are not finished ... so we keep fighting."

All images courtesy Carol Rossetti and used with permission.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Julie Zeilinger

Julie Zeilinger is a staff writer at Mic as well as the founder and editor of The FBomb (thefbomb.org), a feminist blog partnered with the Women’s Media Center. She is also the author of "A Little F’d Up: Why Feminism Is Not A Dirty Word" and "College 101: A Girl’s Guide to Freshman Year."

MORE FROM

A Czech company made interns compete in a bikini contest to get hired

A spokesperson from the company said the competition was to "promote technical education."

Trump's Medicaid and immigration policies will make home health care more expensive

The predominately female work force that serves the elderly and people with disabilities in their homes is under fire from two fronts.

Poland makes emergency contraception a prescription-only drug — even for rape survivors

There's a relatively small time frame in which emergency contraception is effective. Requiring prescriptions may mean many Polish women will go without.

Bill Cosby publicists insist speaking tour has nothing to do with sexual assault

Ebonee Benson and Andrew Wyatt accused the media of twisting Wyatt's words, when really there is a video record of his announcement.

Third Vanderbilt football player, Brandon Banks, convicted in rape case

A jury found Brandon Banks guilty on one count of aggravated rape and one count of sexual battery, sending him to a probable 15 years in prison.

What does consent look like on a show like 'Bachelor in Paradise'?

Warner Bros. has cleared the allegations involving Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson, leaving many questions about consent on the show in its wake.

A Czech company made interns compete in a bikini contest to get hired

A spokesperson from the company said the competition was to "promote technical education."

Trump's Medicaid and immigration policies will make home health care more expensive

The predominately female work force that serves the elderly and people with disabilities in their homes is under fire from two fronts.

Poland makes emergency contraception a prescription-only drug — even for rape survivors

There's a relatively small time frame in which emergency contraception is effective. Requiring prescriptions may mean many Polish women will go without.

Bill Cosby publicists insist speaking tour has nothing to do with sexual assault

Ebonee Benson and Andrew Wyatt accused the media of twisting Wyatt's words, when really there is a video record of his announcement.

Third Vanderbilt football player, Brandon Banks, convicted in rape case

A jury found Brandon Banks guilty on one count of aggravated rape and one count of sexual battery, sending him to a probable 15 years in prison.

What does consent look like on a show like 'Bachelor in Paradise'?

Warner Bros. has cleared the allegations involving Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson, leaving many questions about consent on the show in its wake.