March is Women’s History Month so it’s the perfect time to celebrate the women in your life, and the ones who’ve come before you. We’ve all learned about our fearless, feminist ancestors like Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Sanger, and Julia Child. Yes, Julia Child! Before she was known for her cooking, she worked as an intelligence officer in the OSS, and she spoke four languages! She was a total badass.
Still there are many whose names we don’t know by heart, yet reap the benefits of their hard work and determination every day. So prepare for some speed dating y’all, cause it’s time to meet 9 women who made history you probably didn’t know about.
9 Women Who Made History You Probably Didn’t Know About
1. Victoria Woodhull
It amazes me we still ask the question “Is America ready for a woman president?” Um, yes. And we’ve been trying to elect one since 1870. Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to run for president, and she did so before having the right to vote herself. In fact she spent election day in jail. Campaigning under the Equal Rights Party, her running mate was none other than abolitionist Frederick Douglass. She was also very outspoken on the issue of “free love,” which back then referred to a woman’s right to divorce her husband. No one knows how many votes Victoria received because the bastards running the patriarchy refused to count them.
2. Henrietta Lacks
Gaining popularity and recognition thanks to a book by Rebecca Skloot, Henrietta Lacks is the reason we have most vaccines and medical advancements today. At the time of her death in 1951, medical consent forms didn’t exist, so without her permission or that of her family, doctors took samples of Henrietta’s cells. The healthcare industry was desperately trying to find cures for diseases but keeping test cells alive was impossible. Until Henrietta. The cells from Henrietta’s body, known as HeLa cells, were the first ever to be kept alive and grown, resulting in great medical advancements including the polio vaccine.
3. Elizabeth Smith Miller
Did you put pants on today? Yoga pants and jeggings count! Well you have Elizabeth Smith Miller to thank for that. She was the first woman to wear pants in 1851. Finding the long skirts and dresses of the 1800’s too confining for her hobbies, she created an early version of the skort. At least that’s what I’m calling it. Technically she wore pantaloons with a wrap skirt over them, but we all know it was a skort, or at the very least a skant.
4. Sarah Josepha Buell Hale
Think you know the story of the first Thanksgiving? Think again. Thanksgiving, as a national holiday, wasn’t celebrated until 1863, over 240 years after the pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians held what we consider the first Thanksgiving. Wanting to unite our war torn country, Sarah wrote to the president and members of congress every year for 17 years asking for a national day of gratitude. In November of 1863, President Lincoln announced the first national day of giving thanks, done so at Sarah’s subtle nudging.
5. Pauli Murray
Pursuing higher education in the 1930’s and 40’s when women were often barred from many colleges because of their gender, Pauli Murray became the first African-American woman to earn a graduate degree from Yale University and went on to become a civil rights lawyer and feminist. She is the co-founder of NOW (National Organization of Women) which still seeks to address issues of gender equality and women’s rights. In 1977, she also became the first black woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest.
6. Patsy Takemoto Mink
Patsy grew up watching and experiencing racism against Japanese Americans following WWII. She was determined to better the lives of all people regardless of their race or gender or education level. She studied medicine and law and was an active political figure in Hawaii before it was an official U.S. state. In 1964, she became the first Asian American woman elected to the House of Representatives. Patsy is most widely known for the passing of Title IX, or the Equal Opportunity in Education Act, which she helped author. The act prohibits gender discrimination in any federally funded schools and largely opened up opportunities for women in athletics.
7. Dorothea Dix
Dorothea was born in 1802, and at the age of 14 she started teaching. A job in a women’s prison led Dorothea to start researching the care of the mentally ill in hospitals and penitentiaries. The documentation she presented to legislative figures allowed for larger budget allocations that improved conditions in the institutions as well as built new ones. Her diligent work improved or founded over 30 hospitals for the mentally ill. She was appointed Superintendent of U.S. Army Nurses in 1861.
8. Ada and Minna Everleigh
The Everleigh sisters, Ada and Minna, are some of Chicago’s most notorious historical figures. During the late 1800’s, they opened up one of the finest brothels in the country, featuring a gold piano, right on Dearborn St. Before you sneer at their historical achievement, you should know how they changed the game. At a time when women’s only opportunities outside the home were teaching or prostitution, if you had to get a job, your choices were limited. And many women were actually getting drugged and kidnapped, forced into the sex industry with violence. Ada and Minna’s “butterflies” were kept in the lap of luxury with fancy clothes, education, and 3 square meals a day. As for their patrons, the Everleigh sisters were also great businesswomen who actually demanded proof of their client’s bank accounts before entrance and tolerated zero violence in their establishment.
9. Lillian Gilbreth
Lillian is the queen of professional women. Not only did she raise 12 children, she became the first female inducted into the Society of Industrial Engineers. She earned a degree in psychology and spent years working as a business consultant for top clients like Macy’s, General Electric, and even the President of the United States. You’re probably familiar with some of her inventions such as the shelves on refrigerator doors and the foot pedal on garbage cans.
So there you have it. Nine talented women who made history, and often aren’t recognized. Happy Women’s History Month!
Ever wondered where the new wave of feminists are? You’re in luck, cuz they’re out there!
AND because I’m blogging about it at one of the coolest new e-zines for badasses out there, The Indie Chicks.
Today I’m guest posting on the conundrum: I’m a Feminist. Now What?
Learn what it really means to be a feminist – Guys, that includes you too – and find out five ways you can make a difference starting now.
Every view, comment, like, and share helps me out because The Indie Chicks are currently looking for contributing writers. And I’ll tell you a secret, so scooch in…
I WOULD REALLY REALLY, LIKE OHMYGOD FANGIRL, LOOOOOOOVE TO WRITE FOR THE INDIE CHICKS REGULARLY!!!
So please tell me I’ll see you there!
When you look in the mirror, how do you feel about yourself?
And we’re being honest here.
Do you believe the only value it shows is what’s on the outside? Does the mirror, to you, amplify your flaws or acknowledge the human being that you are with phenomenal virtues inside and out?
Does the mirror reflect your worth?
This is the question that a group of women from Austen, TX came together to answer. But first, they started a band.
Their group is called The Mrs.
Unable to connect with the songs they were hearing on the radio, well past the years of the teenage heartbreak and club beats, they sought to create music inspired by their own lives as passionate – and busy – wives, mothers, and girlfriends.
The all-female rock band is comprised of drummer Andra Liemandt, lead vocalists/guitarists Mandy Prater and Jennifer Zavaleta, vocals/keyboardist Larissa Ness, and bassist Jenny Mason.
They wrote a song called ‘I’m Enough.’ And from that song, they gave birth to a movement.
They plastered stickers around every mirror and window they came across with messages like “You’re awesome,” “I’m Enough,” and “You’ve never looked better!” Then they took it a step further and concocted what some might dub ‘a magic mirror’, a talking mirror that surprised women all over the county.
At first glance, the mirror on the wall appears ordinary. When you walk up to it, all you see is your reflection.
And then a voice comes on.
That voice greets you, perhaps by name. That voice tells you you’re beautiful. That voice tells you you are loved. That voice tells you you’re enough.
The Mrs. performed at BlogHer live on Saturday, and their talking mirror was in the vendor hall all weekend. My pal, August McLaughlin, and I got to experience the talking mirror firsthand before we even knew what it was!
I went up to it first. I put the headphones on and immediately this friendly voice greeted me, “Hi Jess! Look at that gorgeous red hair!”
The person behind the mirror told me I was beautiful. She told me I had beautiful, clear skin.
I started crying.
I wasn’t making-a-scene-hysterical, I just genuinely teared up. I don’t tell myself my skin is beautiful.
As my 30th birthday gets closer, I’ve been battling some body dysmorphia. I wrote about it in To Conceal and Carry…My Muffin Top. Besides recent weight gain, I have trouble with adult acne. It began as “teenage” acne, then “college” acne, and morphed into adulthood “I’ve paid thousands of dollars on skincare and make-up” acne. I know my skin has changed and that it has improved. But when I look in the mirror, I see only the bumps, the redness, the scarring.
I knew my attacks on myself were really bad when I nonchalantly made the comment to my sister, “You know how people sometimes ask you ‘If you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be?’ Well, mine would be clear skin. That’s all I want. CLEAR skin!”
I immediately felt hurt when I said it. Hurt by my OWN words. I had always been the girl who wanted to fly. How had I let myself get so stuck?
Even on my wedding day, my biggest fear was my face. Not the hundreds of dollars we paid in legal paperwork for an international wedding, or traveling to a foreign country with my wedding dress, or that Joe had not written his vows until the day of (he actually had, but was messing with me for fun). No, I was freaking out over my face. I wanted perfect skin for my wedding day, and that was the one thing beyond my grasp.
I started a mantra, “This day is not about my face. This day is not about my face.” And I said it every morning as I put my make up on for that whole week before our wedding.
So yah. I started crying when the woman behind the mirror told me I had clear skin. And then she told me my writing mattered. That my words brought joy and laughter and insight to others. And I felt – this may sound silly – but I felt like I sprouted wings. Little baby wings that flapped and triggered my brain to say “Go after your dreams.”
And remember I’m enough.
Do you need to be reminded?
Follow more of the movement on Twitter using the hashtag #ImEnough.
I’m making a confession today. I have a muffin top.
*phew* There, I said it.
I feel better now.
It started about a year ago when I quit my job. Don’t get me wrong, that is STILL the best decision I ever made. But I didn’t account for what would happen while transitioning from a 50-60 hour job where I was on my feet doing laps inside a mall…to sitting at a computer working, then coming home to…sit at a computer writing.
My diet habits changed drastically. While in retail, I worked so many hours and had interrupted breaks that I didn’t eat much at all for the 9-10 hour days I was there. But sitting at either my work desk or home desk, both conveniently right next to the kitchen…it’s a lot easier to snack throughout the day.
Without working out to balance my new lifestyle, my weight has fluctuated between 4-12 pounds in the past year. Now, I’m a rational person, and on a scale, that still has me at a perfectly normal and healthy weight for someone my size.
The problem is that it all sits on my middle.
I’m only 5’2″. I need all the length I can get, so adding width to my torso, not only isn’t working with my current wardrobe, but it’s affecting my self esteem.
I might have been able to nip the weight gain in the
butt tummy, if all I had to do this summer was lose a couple pounds. But I’m planning a wedding! And I’m on deadline to submit my book to potential agents.
My downfall has been that I want to go work out, but then I feel guilty that I’m not writing or working on wedding stuff, so I go home, but then I’m so stressed out I don’t know where to start and I end up moping around and wallowing the night away, making poor food choices on top it.
It’s tough to admit I’m still in transition. A whole year later and I haven’t magically “figured it all out.” As women, we grow up believing that on our wedding day we’re going to be the most beautiful woman in the room.
But I don’t feel beautiful.
All I see right now are my flaws. When I look in the mirror, I see my gut protruding over my pants and I see blemishes on my face.
And it makes me so sad and angry.
Sad, because I know deep down I’m pretty. And I hear my fiance tell me so. But I don’t listen, and worse, I’ve started countering him by pointing out my flaws.
Angry, because I have a degree in women’s gender and sexuality studies, so I know I’m suffering from body dysmorphia and yet, I don’t know how to turn that off.
But requiring two people to zip you into your wedding dress is a sure-fire way to put that doubt into hyperdrive.
I am a perfectly healthy and talented woman. But I’m struggling with doubt.
I am really struggling with doubt right now.
Is it just me? Is it the wedding? Is it the looming date of my 30th birthday and saying goodbye to the resilient body I had when things were good and I was still 25?
Is it potato chips? I have a hard time saying no to potato chips.
And what about society’s role in all this? My low body image issues have made me angry at society. Why have we invested so much energy into praising women for their looks rather than their brains? Why are more pages in women’s magazines filled with products for me to buy that will change my appearance “for the better” than there are articles about women making real strides for gender equality?
Aren’t we doing ourselves a disservice? Why does something as small as 4 pounds make a woman question her worth? Imagine if we spent half as much time renovating our education or health systems as we did staring in mirrors, avoiding mirrors, picking at our faces, being insulted by cat-calls, being insulted at our lack of cat calls, and only wearing open-toed shoes when our toenails are properly painted?!
We’d have solved the fucking issues by now! But instead, if you’re like me, or if you’ve been there before, we are too busy concealing that extra bit of weight we’ve gained.
~Sincerely, Miffed and Muffin-topped,
Have you tried or heard of Stitch Fix?
It’s a personal styling business for women based out of San Francisco, CA. I first heard about them on Twitter and started ogling all the cute pictures people were taking of the new clothes they received. I had to check this out.
Sign up for an account, which is free, and fill out your style profile. It’s an in depth assessment of what YOU want and like, but it’s not too time consuming. I promise. It shows you pictures and lets you enter your sizes and comfort level with showing off various body parts. You input budget guidelines. You can also link to your Twitter and Pinterest accounts so the stylists can better get to know you when they select items for your fix.
Which is honestly why I started a pinterest account…but there’s writing stuff on there too!
For $20 a personal stylist will select 5 items for you and mail them to your house.
That’s right. To your house. No driving in circles for a parking spot at the mall, clothes shopping in places where it smells like big pretzels. You get five items personally selected for you to try on in the comfort of your own home. No shipping fee.
If you buy the whole fix, you get 25% off everything, but otherwise keep what you want, and send the rest back. Again, no shipping. Stitch Fix boxes come with a prepaid envelope inside. And that $20? Goes towards your purchase!
Stitch Fix Founder and CEO, Katrina Lake, has always worked in some capacity with retail, but she always dreamed of starting up her own project. Her passion was in the potential for digital fashion sales. She partnered with tech wizards in Silicon Valley to create style algorithms based on people’s responses and worked with up and coming fashion designers to lower expenses of the clothes while still granting mass exposure of their labels.
Here’s a quick interview with Katrina – this woman knows her stuff.
A common thread she kept hearing from clients was how busy each woman was. Stitch Fix to the rescue! When you can try clothes on in your own home, you have your entire closet with you to see if that new top really does pair well those paisley gaucho pants you bought two years ago and have yet to match anything to. 😀
Photo-ops! Take one look at the twitter hashtag #StitchFix, and you’ll see women all over the country gleefully unpacking their Stick Fix box, which by the way is packed adorably and professionally and comes with style cards for your new potential wardrobe items.
This is fun! And you should Stitch Fix with me. The most you have to lose is $20. But I’m betting you’re gonna like it!
Still curious? Try it yourself!
And, the winner of Roni Loren’s e-book, Still Into You, is… brickhousechick!!! Congratulations!
Your summer just got more sizzlin’!
Happy Beauty of a Woman Blogfest Day!
Today, women and men of all ages are posting around the country on the topics of women’s beauty and sexuality. It’s a celebration of what each individual connects with, be it their favorite body part, a life changing epiphany, a female mentor they have, their desires for the future, and more!
The blogfest’s creator is August McLaughlin, a writer, dear friend, and founder of the #GirlBoner movement – in which she blogs and hosts a radio show surrounding women’s sexuality.
She’s amazing. You can follow her on Twitter @AugstMcLaughlin or check out the conversations around Girl Boner or Beauty of a Woman at the following hashtags: #GirlBoner & #BOAW3.
You can read all of the posts in the Beauty of a Woman blogfest by clicking here and seeing the full list of participants on August’s blog! Guest bloggers and readers are eligible to win gift card prizes between $5 and $50!
For my part in the blogfest, I wanted to share with you a movement called 1 Billion Rising that I’ve been involved with. It stands for 1 Billion Rising for Justice, and it’s partnered with the V-Day organization. The V-Day organization was started by author and playwright, Eve Ensler, who wrote The Vagina Monologues. As a women’s studies minor in college, I took part in the annual Monolgues show to raise money for our local women’s shelter every Valentine’s weekend.
The goals of both V-Day and 1 Billion Rising are to end violence against women. Now, every February 14th, these organizations host events for victims of violence and those who support them to gather in public spaces and seek justice. The events include everything from meeting with city officials to the more emotional release of artwork and dance.
This year 1 Billion Rising is also hosting a challenge on Instagram. Using the hashtag #instaRISE, they’re calling for photos that demonstrate your inner activist – showing off the quotes, body parts, artwork, dance moves, friendships, and more so the movement keeps on rising!
It’s not to late to get involved!
Here is the #instaRISE photo challenge:
For this year’s Beauty of a Woman blogfest, I thought I’d share my #instaRISE photos because being a part of a national movement that celebrates women and stands up against violence is important – and beautiful – to me!
Day 1: Justice – Show off your inner activist! – We sold these t-shirts when I president of the Women’s Studies Student Association in college.
Day 2: JustSPEAK – Share a phrase that inspires you. – Adrienne Rich’s collection of poems, The Fact of a Doorframe, was my Bible for years.
Day 4: V-Day – Show off your Rebel Red
Day 5: V-Girls – Power Pink – A shade for every mood you’re in: sophisticated, flirty, sporty, confident, girlie?
Day 6: JustUs – Friends – Me with the cast of The Vagina Monologues, 2006 – I performed ‘The Vagina Workshop’ which is one of my favorite stories.
Day 7: JustMe – Selfie
And don’t forget to check out the other Beauty of a Woman blog posts!
What makes you feel beautiful?
How was everyone’s Christmas?
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday filled with love and laughter! I’ve got more goodies coming your way!
Today’s the day I get to announce the playlists for the Phenomenal Woman and Cafe’ Mixes!
The three lucky winners of these mixes (and a bonus Dudes’ Mix cd) are:
Out of 73 song recommendations from YOU, plus what I found trolling around on I-Tunes, behold…
The Phenomenal Woman Mix
1. Hard Way Home by Brandi Carlile
2. Torpedo by Jillette Johnson
3. From Where I’m Standing by Schuyler Fisk
4. Circle of the Sun by Serena Ryder
5. Supermarket by Leddra Chapman
6. Unconditionally by Katy Perry
7. This is What Makes Us Girls by Lana Del Rey
8. With Love by Christina Grimmie
9. My Kind of Love by Tessanne Chin
10. Every Mile of the Ride by Lindi Ortega
11. Cannonball by Lea Michele
12. Neon Lights by Natasha Bedingfield
13. Mary Go Round by Serena Ryder
14. Burn by Ellie Goulding
15. Closer by Tegan and Sara
16. What Now by Rihanna
17. Loved Me Back to Life by Celine Dion
18. The House of the Rising Sun by Jacquie Lee
19. Love Me Right! by the Swag Geeks
20. 365 Days by ZZ Ward
21. The Race by Caroline Pennell
The Cafe’ Mix
1. Heart Beats by Johnnyswim
2. Radioactive by Pentatonix & Lindsey Stirling
3. My Blood by Ellie Goulding
4. People Help the People by Birdy
5. The One That Got Away by The Civil Wars
6. Basset Hound by Jillette Johnson
7. I Will Fall by the Nashville Cast
8. Beneath Your Beautiful by Labrinth & Emeli Sande
9. Everyday by Rogue Wave
10. Heart’s Content by Brandi Carlile
11. It’s Too Late by Wild Belle
12. Summer Wine by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood
13. Castin’ My Spell by Johnny Otis
14. Let it Go by Idina Menzel
15. Say Something by A Great Big World w/ Christina Aguilera
16. Please, Baby Please by Serena Ryder
17. Babylon by Nina Nesbitt
18. Ho Hey by the Nashville Cast
19. Skinny Love by Birdy
20. Give Me Love by Alex & Sierra
21. All I Want is You by Tristan Prettyman
Happy listening! And a Happy New Year!
I came across this article on Jezebel.com and it really struck home with me. As you’re Christmas shopping this year, consider what you’re buying for kids.
If you won’t buy your kids racist presents, don’t buy them sexist ones http://t.co/ZdETvHLTAG
— Jezebel (@Jezebel) December 11, 2013
It bothers me that so many dolls today look hoochie. Barbie’s face has permanent makeup on it, every car/house/piece of furniture is bubblegum pink and probably smells like estrogen infused cotton candy. And Polly Pocket has had some serious work done.
This is Polly when I played with her, circa 1990.
She’s a cute little plastic doll no bigger than a thimble. SHE ACTUALLY FIT IN YOUR POCKET!
She basically folds in half to sit, or stands in one of three possible pegs in her clamshell case home.
I loved her.
This is the Polly my niece plays with.
Do her ginormous eyes freak anyone else out?
“The better to SEE you with, my dear!“
I just don’t want my 4 year old niece to think that crop tops and booty shorts are the solution to feeling beautiful, or valued, or loved.
I have no beef with grown, adult women who choose to wear those things. It’s their choice. But like the Jezebel article pointed out, why are we selling them to toys marketed for ages 4-7?
Don’t even get me started on the Bratz dolls!
If you want a real laugh, you should totally check out Celia Rivenbark’s book, Belle Weather: Mostly Sunny With a Chance of Scattered Hissy Fits, in which she has a chapter made up entirely of an imaginary conversation between her daughter’s Bratz dolls and her American Girl Doll.
My favorite part is when the Bratz give Kirsten, the pioneer prairie girl, advice on how to make her bonnet more fashionable.
Last January I went home for my niece’s birthday and she pulled out all her Barbies for us to play with. I picked one of the dolls up and made some snarky comment when my sister informed me, “Oh yah, and that’s TEACHER Barbie.”
I couldn’t help myself.
The left side is the dress my Teacher Barbie wore, again circa early 90’s, and the right is what she’s wearing now. My Teacher Barbie dress could eat that Teacher Barbie dress like it was a double fudge chocolate cake on the first night of her period. And she’d have seconds, baby!
Why is it sooo…tiny?…short?…suction-cupped to her already ridiculous body type standards?
I’ve heard you should dress to impress. Perhaps that’s what Smokey the Bear is doing.
I mean, c’mon! Smokey can’t just be a bear anymore? He’s got to be a bear with biceps and pectorals? I am of the opinion that bears, in general, are considered quite authoritative and strong already. I do not need to see the curvature of a bear’s bicep to know I am in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wilderness.
Furthermore, if I dressed like Polly Pocket, the pure weight of my oversize head would no doubt cause me to lose balance and trip over my disco glitter heels. I am now bicep bear’s lunch.
Where do we draw the line? Because I would like to step back for a minute. Are toy merchants going to start advertising Anorexic Abby into the Bratz collection? Maybe Kirsten, that American Girl doll with the bonnet and shawl, can teach Abby what inner beauty looks like…and for that matter, mayonnaise – it’s great on a turkey sub! Get a footlong! Go wild!
When did the beauty of animals become not enough? When did we decide that animals needed to also look like us? Or at least some absurd social standard of us? What’s next? Maybe the bird on all the Dove brand bars of soap can grow breasts! Oooh, or those California cow commercials can start talking about their period all the time! I would like that!
Happy cows wear Kotex.
What do you think? Has the Hooch stolen Christmas?
On a brighter note, Congratulations to Nina Badzin! She’s the lucky winner of Amber’s book, The Ruth Valley Missing, and a cd playlist to go along!