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activism

  • Articles, Portfolio

    5 Bad Ass Women in Military History

    5 Bad Ass Women in Military History

    by Jana Brown

    This was originally posted in May, we are re-posting in honor of Veteran’s Day.

    It’s May, which means it’s military appreciation month. In honor of some of the many kick ass women that have served in armed forces across the globe, here is a brief overview of some of their names and accomplishments.

    Cathy Williams
    Cathy Williams illegally enlisted in the US military as a man using the name William Cathay. The year was 1866, and she was the first African American woman to enlist. Williams was born a slave, and ended up joining the military after the American Civil war ended and she was freed.

    Unfortunately, shortly after joining the military she contracted smallpox, and was discovered to be a woman while she was receiving treatment for the illness. Thankfully, her doctor didn’t out her as a woman and she was discharged due to disability.

    Buffalo Calf Road Woman
    Buffalo Calf Road Woman, or Brave Woman was a Cheyenne Native American who was said to have knocked Colonel Custer off of his horse before he died in the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

    During the Battle of the Rosebud, she saved her wounded brother on the battlefield. Her actions inspired and rallied the Cheyenne warriors after they began to retreat, and in turn the Cheyenne defeated General George Crook and his forces.

    Annie Fox
    During WWII, Annie Fox was the first woman to receive the Purple Heart. She was the head nurse at a hospital in Pearl Harbor during the attack.

    Instead of ceasing operations during the attack, she continued to command her nurses and staff, and performed her medical duties even during heavy bombardment. Army reports say that she worked effectively and maintained a level head throughout the duration of the attack.

    Juana Azurduy de Padilla
    Azurduy was a leader of the military during Bolivia’s struggle for independence from Peru during the 1820’s and 1830’s. As a skilled military strategist, she commanded the army on several different occasions and even organized the Leal Battalion. The Leal Battalion took part in the Battle of Ayohuma which resulted in the retreat of Argentine troops from Alto Peru.

    She was so hardcore that she led and fought all throughout her pregnancy. During a fight she excused her pregnant self to give birth on a river bank before almost immediately jumping back into action.

    Joan of Arc
    You’ve probably heard of Joan of Arc, she’s pretty famous. She is considered to be a French hero for her actions during the Hundred Years War and was canonized as a Roman Catholic saint.

    Joan said that she received visions from Archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria telling her to assist Charles VII in overcoming the British domination during that time period.

    Charles VII (who was not yet technically king) sent her on a relief mission to the Siege of Orleans, which was then lifted nine days after her arrival. Her being there during several different battles inspired the French army to take her advice and follow her orders since her words were thought to carry divine power. She was considered to be a brilliant war strategist despite being so young; take into account that she was only 19 when she was burned at the stake after undergoing British trial.

    Please note that you can find the sources I used to research this article by clicking the links below:

    >here: https://www.ranker.com/list/american-female-war-heroes/davidseidman

    >here for the information on Buffalo Calf Road: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_Calf_Road_Woman

    >click here for more info on Joan of Arc and Juana Azurduy de Padilla: https://taskandpurpose.com/8-badass-women-warriors-military-history/

    >More info on Joan of Arc: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_of_Arc

  • Shero, TRENDING, Woman's History

    FAMOUS FIRSTS IN WOMEN’S HISTORY

    American women’s history has been full of pioneers: Women who fought for their rights, worked hard to be treated equally and made great strides in fields like science, politics, sports, literature and art. These are just a few of the remarkable accomplishments that historians not to mention people across the United States celebrate.

    What “Famous Firsts” will American women achieve next?

     

    First women’s-rights convention meets in Seneca Falls, New York, 1848

    In July 1848, some 240 men and women gathered in upstate New York for a meeting convened, said organizers, “to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of women.” One hundred of the delegates–68 women and 32 men–signed a Declaration of Sentiments, modeled on the Declaration of Independence, declaring that women, like men, were citizens with an “inalienable right to the elective franchise.” The Seneca Falls Convention marked the beginning of the campaign for woman suffrage.

    Wyoming Territory is first to grant women the vote, 1869

    In 1869, Wyoming’s territorial legislature declared that “every woman of the age of twenty-one years, residing in this territory, may at every election…cast her vote.” Though Congress lobbied hard against it, Wyoming’s women kept their right to vote when the territory became a state in 1890. In 1924, the state’s voters elected the nation’s first female governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross.

    Californian Julia Morgan is first woman admitted to the Ecole de Beaux-Arts in Paris, 1898

    The 26-year-old Morgan had already earned a degree in civil engineering from Berkeley, where she was one of just 100 female students in the entire university (and the only female engineer). After she received her certification in architecture from the Ecole de Beaux-Arts, the best architecture school in the world, Morgan returned to California. There, she became the first woman licensed to practice architecture in the state and an influential champion of the Arts and Crafts movement. Though she is most famous for building the “Hearst Castle,” a massive compound for the publisher William Randolph Hearst in San Simeon, California, Morgan designed more than 700 buildings in her long career. She died in 1957.

    Margaret Sanger opens first birth-control clinic in the United States, 1916

    In October 1916, the nurse and women’s-rights activist Margaret Sanger opened the first American birth-control clinic in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Since state “Comstock Laws” banned contraceptives and the dissemination of information about them, Sanger’s clinic was illegal; as a result, on October 26, the city vice squad raided the clinic, arresting its staff and seizing its stock of diaphragms and condoms. Sanger tried to reopen the clinic twice more, but police forced her landlord to evict her the next month, closing it for good. In 1921, Sanger formed the American Birth Control League, the organization that eventually became Planned Parenthood.

    Edith Wharton is the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize, 1921

    Wharton won the prize for her 1920 novel The Age of Innocence. Like many of Wharton’s books, The Age of Innocence was a critique of the insularity and hypocrisy of the upper class in turn-of-the-century New York. The book has inspired several stage and screen adaptations, and the writer Cecily Von Ziegesar has said that it was the model for her popular Gossip Girl series of books.

    Activist Alice Paul proposes the Equal Rights Amendment for the first time, 1923

    For almost 50 years, women’s-rights advocates like Alice Paultried to get Congress to approve the amendment; finally, in 1972, they succeeded. In March of that year, Congress sent the proposed amendment–“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex”–to the states for ratification. Twenty-two of the required 38 states ratified it right away, but then conservative activists mobilized against it. (The ERA’s straightforward language hid all kinds of sinister threats, they claimed: It would force wives to support their husbands, send women into combat and validate gay marriages.) This anti-ratification campaign was a success: In 1977, Indiana became the 35th and last state to ratify the ERA. In June 1982, the ratification deadline expired. The amendment has never been passed.

    Amelia Earhart is the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an airplane, 1928

    After that first trip across the ocean, which took more than 20 hours, Earhart became a celebrity: She won countless awards, got a ticker-tape parade down Broadway, wrote a best-selling book about her famous flight and became an editor at Cosmopolitan magazine. In 1937, Earhart attempted to be the first female pilot to fly around the world, and the first pilot of any gender to circumnavigate the globe at its widest point, the Equator. Along with her navigator Fred Noonan, Earhart successfully hopscotched from Miami to Brazil, Africa, India and Australia. Six weeks after they began their journey, Earhart and Noonan left New Guinea for the U.S. territory of Howland Island, but they never arrived. No trace of Earhart, Noonan or their plane was ever found.

    The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.

    – Oprah

     

    Frances Perkins becomes the first female member of a Presidential cabinet, 1933

    Perkins, a sociologist and Progressive reformer in New York, served as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Secretary of Labor. She kept her job until 1945.

    The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League becomes the first professional baseball league for female players, 1943

    Women had been playing professional baseball for decades: Starting in the 1890s, gender-integrated “Bloomer Girls” teams (named after the feminist Amelia Bloomer) traveled around the country, challenging men’s teams to games–and frequently winning. As the men’s minor leagues expanded, however, playing opportunities for Bloomer Girls decreased, and the last of the teams called it quits in 1934. But by 1943, so many major-league stars had joined the armed services and gone off to war that stadium owners and baseball executives worried that the game would never recover. The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was the solution to this problem: It would keep ballparks filled and fans entertained until the war was over. For 12 seasons, more than 600 women played for the league’s teams, including the Racine (Wisconsin) Belles, the Rockford (Illinois) Peaches, the Grand Rapids (Michigan) Chicks and the Fort Wayne (Indiana) Daisies. The AAGPBL disbanded in 1954.

    The FDA announces its approval of “The Pill,” the first birth-control drug, 1960

    In October 1959, the pharmaceutical company G.D. Searle applied for a license from the federal Food and Drug Administration to sell its drug Enovid, a combination of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, for use as an oral contraceptive. FDA approval was not guaranteed: For one thing, the agency was uncomfortable with the idea of allowing doctors to prescribe drugs to healthy people; for another, the young bureaucrat assigned to the case was fixated on moral and religious, not scientific, objections to the pill. Despite all this, Enovid was approved for short-term use in October 1960.

    Janet Guthrie is the first woman to drive in the Indy 500, 1977

    Guthrie was an aerospace engineer, training to be an astronaut, when she was cut from the space program because she didn’t have her PhD. She turned to car racing instead and became the first woman to qualify for the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500. Mechanical difficulties forced her out of the 1977 Indy race, but the next year she finished in ninth place (with a broken wrist!). The helmet and suit that Guthrie wore in her first Indy race are on display in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.

    President Ronald Reagan nominates Sandra Day O’Connor to be the first woman on the Supreme Court, 1981

    O’Connor was confirmed that September. She did not have much judicial experience when she began her Supreme Court term—she had only been a judge for a few years and had never served on a federal court—but she soon made a name for herself as one of the Court’s most thoughtful centrists. O’Connor retired in 2006.

    Joan Benoit wins the first women’s Olympic Marathon, 1984

    At the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles, Joan Benoit (today known as Joan Benoit Samuelson) finished the first-ever women’s marathon in 2:24.52. She finished 400 meters ahead of the silver medalist, Norway’s Grete Waitz.

    Manon Rheaume is the first woman to play in an NHL game, 1992

    Manon Rheaume, a goalie from Quebec City, Canada, was no stranger to firsts: She was well-known for being the first female player to take the ice in a major boys’ junior hockey game. In 1992, Rheaume was the starting goalie for the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lighting in a preseason exhibition game, making her the first woman to play in any of the major men’s sports leagues in the U.S. In that game, she deflected seven of nine shots; however, she was taken out of the game early and never played in a regular-season game. Rheaume led the Canadian women’s national team to victory in the 1992 and 1994 World Hockey Championships. The team also won silver at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

    Madeleine Albright becomes the first female Secretary of State, 1997

    In January 1997, the international-relations expert Madeleine K. Albright was sworn in as the United States’ 64th Secretary of State. She was the first woman to hold that job, which made her the highest-ranking woman in the federal government’s history. Before President Bill Clinton asked her to be part of his Cabinet, Albright had served as the country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. In 2004, Condoleezza Rice became the second woman–and first African-American woman to hold the job. Five years later, in January 2009, the former Senator (and First Lady) Hillary Rodham Clinton became the third female Secretary of State.

    Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Director, 2010

    The American film director Kathryn Bigelow’s 2008 film “The Hurt Locker” garnered six Oscars on March 7, 2010, including the Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture. Written by Mark Boal, a former journalist who covered the war in Iraq, the movie follows an Army bomb squad unit as they conduct dangerous missions and battle personal demons in war-torn Baghdad. Bigelow, whose previous films include “Strange Days” and “Point Break,” was the first woman to take home the Best Director distinction. She triumphed over her former husband, James Cameron, whose science fiction epic “Avatar” was another presumed front-runner.

    Hillary Clinton becomes first female presidential nominee of a major party, 2016

    On July 26, 2016, the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state was officially nominated as the Democratic nominee, becoming the first woman from a major party to achieve that feat. Clinton had previously mounted an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2008 (before losing to Barack Obama in the Democratic primary), and fought off a strong challenge by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in 2016 before clinching the glass ceiling-breaking nomination.

  • Articles, Tough Questions

    FeMENism: What Feminism Can Do for Men

    September 2016 Writing Contest Winner

    If you’re reading this, you probably know what it is. You’ve heard about it on the news, in Beyoncé songs, in viral videos, and on this site. Throughout its meteoric rise in the past century, feminism has been a hot-button topic for much longer than we’ve even been alive. Now more than ever, there is a push for equality and more girls, women, and men are getting involved than ever. But…unsurprisingly, the discussion of feminism – much like the discussion of any social equality movement – tends to inadvertently dredge up a trove of people who are simply uninformed at best and willfully ignorant at worst. The question on the lips of many men in particular is, “Why should I be a feminist if feminism hurts men?”

    To be frank, this question comes from an incorrect understanding of what feminism is. Put simply, feminism is the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. That’s all it is. Many ask, “But isn’t feminism about hating men?” No, it’s about equality, not bashing or oppressing one group or the other. It’s about raising everyone to an equal playing field. Sadly, a quick scroll through any comment section on a feminist social media post will show that there still exists a great deal of ignorance on the topic. I need not repeat the insults and threatening language which often pervade these vitriolic comments about how “feminism is evil and seeks to hurt men”.

    It’s true that people who have never experienced oppression will find equality to be a burden. A lot (but not all) of upper/middle-class white men probably have never experienced oppression, so I understand how it can be hard for men to see why women want change. But I believe that if men would look at what equality would really mean for them, they would all want to be feminists too.

    One big way in which feminism can help men is in the area of gender roles. Many feminists advocate for the flexibility of gender roles. As part of feminism’s message of equality, strict, traditional gender roles are seen as being generally toxic and detrimental to society. Just as women live under the pressure of being feminine, delicate, traditionally attractive, mothering, and sexy all at once, men live under the pressure of being masculine, strong, capable of providing, emotionally resolute, and physically perfect. For both sexes, the weight of these expectations is enormous. For many feminists, flexible gender roles mean that women do not always have to be perfectly feminine (i.e. they can be providers, be physically strong, and present themselves as more masculine than feminine, among other things). With regard to men, flexible gender roles mean that they don’t have to be perfectly masculine (i.e. they don’t have to be the sole provider, they can be emotionally open, and not face pressures to be physically perfect, among other things).

    When we seek to open a positive dialogue on gender roles, feminists actively work towards making the world a more comfortable and freeing place for both men and women. For some men, this is a big selling point of feminism. Without the constant pressure to provide, to be constantly masculine and strong, and to be the model of a perfect man, men can relax and share their burdens with everyone else – including women. From a male standpoint, this is only one of feminism’s many benefits. But as previously stated, so many men are still in the dark about this exact topic.

    So next time a man tells you that feminists are all out to attack him and every other man on earth, tell him that men benefit from feminism too. I believe that the future of feminism is bright, but we still have a long way to go and we have to continue to educate the ignorant if we want equality to be a reality in our lifetime.
  • Articles, Confidence, Woman's History

    My Women’s March Experience

    In celebration of Women’s History month, I have decided to submit an article that I wrote after going to the 2017 women’s march on Washington in Birmingham. I think that the Women’s marches that occurred earlier this year will be remembered during March in many years to come.

    Last Saturday I attended the Women’s march on Birmingham. My mom had made a sign; she was the one who really convinced me to go. It (the sign) was quite well made, with letters printed from vinyl spelling out “WOMEN’S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS” proudly across the colorful poster board She forgot to cut the apostrophe out of vinyl, so we had to add it later with a ballpoint pen. I don’t think anyone noticed, though.

    5,000. That was the estimated number of people who came. 10,000 feet marching. I didn’t expect so many people to march. In fact, I was considerably skeptical about the whole thing at first. I thought,” What difference can it make?” and “If I don’t go, will it really matter?” But, the experience of walking alongside thousands of fellow humans all united for a common cause (as millions did so around our country) was what really changed my mind.

    I arrived with my parents in my dad’s black Ford about 30 minutes before the speakers were scheduled to take the stage. We had to park in a lot a few blocks away from Kelly Ingram park, on account of the tremendous number of cars that had poured in for the sole purpose of transporting people to the march. That’s why I wasn’t that upset that we had to park in a less convenient spot, as I knew that the lack of parking spaces meant that more people were getting out and doing something.

    As we paid our parking fee, kind people spoke to us as if we were their best friends. They asked us if we were going to the march, and were so neighborly and cordial. That was my first experience with the genuine love that was radiating from everyone at the march, heard through confident footsteps and wide, welcoming smiles and echoing throughout the city. I think that feeling may have echoed throughout the entire country that day.

    After paying for parking we strode to where everyone was collecting, seeing others on the streets with signs in hand doing the same.

    Once we reached out destination I finally realized the magnitude of this gathering. A flock of activists being active, all happily conversing and anticipating the march. I could feel the energy, poetic and passionate, the excitement in the air. As I walked around, waving hello to faces I recognized, a teen girl about my age high fived me. Did I wonder why, why this friendly display of comradery? Maybe it was the rainbow I had painted (with watered down eyeshadow) across my cheek, or the “youth pride” button I had pinned to my chest. Maybe it was that I was just there. Yes, I think it was the latter.

    The speakers spoke for a relatively long time, once they finally called everyone to attention. The crowd was large and impatient for the march to start, hoisting up their signs in recognition of words or phrases they signified with. Some songs were sung, but there was a silent consensus among the group that we all just wanted to start marching.

    Finally, I was time to march. I was careful not to lose my parents in the crowd as it shifted to facing toward the road and made its way to the march’s starting point. The mass was dense, so much so that it was hard for me to see exactly where we were heading but I shuffled along with everyone else nevertheless. Then my foot stepped onto the concrete road as my hand was curled, fist like around my sign, and I began to march.

    The march was powerful. It was lively, colorful, happy, and invigorating. It was a brilliant display of human unity. I knew this right as I stepped into Kelly Ingram park when all my skepticism left me. We flew through the streets, birds in motion, out vibrant wings pigmented with the hues of our hearts. It was utterly massive. As I walked down one street I could see another portion of the group marching down another. We were a chain, curling and weaving around streets and parks and parking lots. Everyone joined together. Strong. We chanted and sang, those without signs held up fists, all our voices melting into one. Being part of this march really changed my viewpoints that I had previously had. I don’t wonder if I can make a difference anymore. No, I tell myself I must.