The New Woman

  • Ben-Yusuf was the epitome of the “New Woman” – a class of predominantly younger women who at the century’s end sought to challenge prevailing gender norms. It was not simply her bohemian appearance; what differentiated Ben-Yusuf from the majority of women during this period was her desire for an independent life within the public arena. As a single woman who needed to earn an income, she embraced portrait photography as a career. This work opened up a host of opportunities – to write, to travel, to meet new people. Yet the growing
  • independence of women also elicited criticism at times and led figures like Ben-Yusuf to scrutinize their own sense of identity. The photographs in this first section are less representative of the commercial portraiture that sustained her financially. Instead, they speak to her artistic ambitions and her experiences as a “New Woman.”
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    Roosevelt Men