New Pirelli Calendar Idolizes Powerful Women

Mellody HobsonImagine a calendar of women chosen for their brains and not their beauty. You don’t have to imagine it: the makers of the 2016 Pirelli calendar—a calendar that, as the New York Times put it, has long been known as an “arty soft-core ode to pinups”—just made it a reality.The 13 women shot by Annie Leibovitz for this year’s calendar aren’t Victoria’s Secret models. Their names are Yao Chen, Ava DuVernay, Tavi Gevinson, Agnes Gund, Mellody Hobson, Kathleen Kennedy, Fran Lebowitz, Shirin Neshat, Yoko Ono, Amy Schumer, Patti Smith, Natalia Vodianova, and Serena Williams.Not coincidentally, those are some of the most successful and influential women on the planet. According to Pirelli (which, in case you were wondering, is an Italian tire manufacturer), that was exactly their intention: they selected “women of outstanding professional, social, cultural, sporting and artistic accomplishments.“Two of the women featured—Amy Schumer and Serena Williams—do appear semi-nude. But as Caroline Framke explains at Vox, their portraits “ooze power, not sex.” Their poses invite us to admire the confident way they move through the world instead of inviting objectification.Pirelli only distributes a limited number of calendars every year, and you can’t request one. No one really knows who’s on their list. But if one of their regular recipients doesn’t like the direction this year’s edition has taken, have them send it to us! We’ll take it in a heartbeat.