Yoko Ono, Maya Angelou, Simone de Beauvoir & More: At Home With Fearless Women Who Will Forever Inspire Us

Yoko Ono, Maya Angelou, Simone de Beauvoir & More: At Home With Fearless Women Who Will Forever Inspire Us

Katie Holdefehr
Mar 17, 2017

In celebration of the brave women whose words and art inspire us every day, we're taking a peek at the offices, couches and cozy nooks where they penned their treatises, typed out their novels or relaxed with a good read. This is what a feminist (home) looks like.

Above: Feminist multimedia artist Yoko Ono and husband John Lennon moved into the hyper-exclusive Dakota apartment in NYC in 1973, and she stayed in the apartment even after Lennon was shot and killed outside the building in 1980. Located at 72nd Street and Central Park West, the apartment is known for rejecting celebrity applicants, including Cher and Madonna. Despite the buzz surrounding the building, the interior of Ono's apartment, captured by Allan Tannenbaum for Getty Images, is a minimalist haven in line with the artist's signature aesthetic. "Minimalism allows you to stick to essentials. It's a question of how you want to use your energy," Ono said in a Tweet last March.

Political activist Gloria Steinem's NYC home is everything you'd expect from one of the leaders of the 1960s and '70s feminist movement: A little bit boho, a lot eclectic and peppered with mementos. Having spent much of her childhood roaming the country in an Airstream, the activist's current NYC home feels like a cozy nest, as evidenced by the photo above from Getty Images. To take a peek around, watch Steinem give Oprah the full tour.

For writer, critic and political activist Susan Sontag, the office was the heart of the home—and enough shelves for her books, records and knick-knacks were essential. Evidence of her home office from Getty Images in 1972 proves that no desk is complete without a floral teacup (and, a substantial-looking ashtray).

For the last decade of her life, poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou lived in a Harlem brownstone she renovated in 2002, filling it with art and color, and inviting over close pals, like Oprah. Robert Deutsch photographed Angelou for USA Today in front of the French doors with custom stained glass in her living room.

According to images of Simone de Beauvoir's Parisian studio, photographed by Bettina Flitner, the writer was too busy penning her feminist treatise, "The Second Sex", to follow Marie Kondo's decluttering manifesto. Or perhaps, she simply found all of the books, photographs and paper piles undeniably joy-sparking? To see an interpretation of the author's Montparnasse studio, visit the installation at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, open now through June 2017.

In Nigerian author Chimamada Ngozi Adichie's home in Lagos, snapped by Akintunde Akinleye for Vogue, books, art and color energize the space. The writer behind the TED Talk-turned-book "We Should All Be Feminists", Adichie is no stranger to design and has never been afraid of color, even creating her own vibrant dresses in collaboration with local tailors.

(Image credit: Jessica Valenti)
(Image credit: Jessica Valenti)

Jessica Valenti is an American writer who founded the blog "Feministing" in 2004, works for The Guardian and has written several books, including her latest bestselling memoir, "Sex Object". What better way to capture the interior of a modern-day feminist's Brooklyn home than with a selfie? I'm admiring that tasseled textile draped over the mirror, those Eames-style chairs hanging out in the dining room, and of course, that adorable pooch lounging on the bed. But above all else, it's her writing that has my full attention.

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