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Amanda Wellsh In 'Charmane' By Txema Yeste For Numero October 2014

Top photographer Txema Yeste delivers a spectacular tribute to sensual goddesses with this black magic editorial ‘Chamane’ starring Amanda Wellsh. Stylist Belén Casadevall chooses body armor styles, mixed with black lace, lingerie-inspired body stockings and other superstar separates fit for Numero October 2014./ Makeup by Víctor Álvarez; hair by Oliver Lebrun


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Chris Agius Burke's 'Beautiful Bondage' Images Explore Religion, Sexuality & Gender

London-based photographer Chris Agius Burke explores the powerful themes of religion, sexuality and gender, with a focus on fashion portraiture, according to his bio. These images are housed in his Beautiful bondage collection.

We are introducing AOC readers to Burke’s photography at a time when the global obsession with the movie ‘50 Shades of Grey’ promises a major effect on fashion and Emma Watson has just delivered a major UN address on the empowerment of women. Within hours, the views of the patriarchy threatened Watson’s life, promising retribution by Friday.

Burke’s photos capture the complexity of women’s lives and the conflicting social messages of ‘50 Shades’ surrender and temporary submission with the reality that 40,000 women a year continue to be brutally flogged in Sudan for inappropriate dress.

These soft and submissive portraits of female femininity also contrast with Sunday’s dramatic images by Erin Trieb of Kurdish women fighters taking on ISIS in Syria. The most startling takeaway from these brave women is the headline that ISIS is very afraid of being killed by a woman. Such a death at the hands of a woman denies the male soldier a place in heaven.

Together these two image essays capture the essence of Anne of Carversville’s editorial focus ‘From fashion to flogging, telling women’s stories’. ~ Anne


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Kurdish Women Fighters In Syria Say ISIS Fears Women Soldiers So Much They Shake

YPJ soldiers carry the casket of Evrim, a female soldier who died while fighting ISIS militants, during her funeral in Derek City, Syria. About 24 soldiers from the YPJ and the YPG, a men’s unit, were buried during the month of August in this cemetery. Family members consider it an enormous honor when their children are killed in combat, calling the soldiers “Sehid” which means “marytr” in Kurdish. A popular saying in the community is “Sehid na merin,” which means “The martyr will never die.” Image by Erin TriebIn a media world assaulted with ISIS videos and threats of yet another beheading, the most fabulous story of heroism has emerged around a group of about 7,000 young Kurdish women in Syria who have armed themselves and joined the Women’s Protection Unit, or YPJ, “which grew out of the wider Kurdish resistance movement.”

I’ve covered this story in small bullet points on Eye, but this NBC News feature of dramatic images by New York-based photographer Erin Trieb are an inspiration for our ISIS media-weary souls.

Unlike the Iraqi soldiers who ran from ISIS, the Women’s Protection Unit is fighting to keep their people safe against attacks from Bashar Assad’s government, ISIS militants and the al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front.

YPJ recruits cry and embrace a fellow soldier who they thought had been sent to the front line. Image by Erin Trieb

The BBC writes that around a third of the Syrian Kurdish force is comprised of women, who fight alongside the men, exposing themselves to all the same dangers.

“Women are the bravest fighters,” says Diren in her BBC interview, taking refuge from the scorching heat in the cool of an underground bunker.

She and three comrades are having lunch: flatbread, cheese and watermelon. Many of the fighters, like Diren, 19, are still teenagers.

“We’re not scared of anything,” she says. “We’ll fight to the last. We’d rather blow ourselves up than be captured by IS.”

Unintentionally, perhaps, Diren points out the greatest weakness of the ISIS fighters.

Diren says that, to the fanatics of IS, a female fighter is “haram”, anathema: a disturbing and scary sight.

“When they see a woman with a gun, they’re so afraid they begin to shake. They portray themselves as tough guys to the world. But when they see us with our guns they run away. They see a woman as just a small thing. But one of our women is worth a hundred of their men.”

Update Oct. 5, 2014 Dirren means ‘resist, the name chosen by Ceylan Ozalp. I’ve been tracking these young women each week and my heart dropped for a moment just now. Ceylan is ALIVE and is not the brave young Kurdish woman who committed suicide in Kobane last week, rather than be captured by ISIS fighters, say the newest reports. Just to confirm how integrated the women fighters are against ISIS, seven men and three women fighters were beheaded in Kobane earlier in the week. End of update.

Update Oct. 7, 2014 Definitive reports about the status of Ceylan Ozalp remain hard to some by. Follow the story on AOC’s home page End of update.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper writes today of major fighting between ISIS and the YPG fighters in the area near Kobani, Syria Turkey opened its border on Friday so that 60,000 Syrian Kurds could flee the area in a period of 24 hours. See also Kurdish fighters rush to Syria to stand with brethren against Islamic State via Haaretz.

YPJ soldiers eat a breakfast of peppers, tomatoes, cheese, flatbread and tea at their post in Til Kocer, Syria. Their meals are often modest since most of their supplies, including food, are donated by the local community. Image by Erin Trieb


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