Writing history is a radical act. I'm going to say it again. Writing history is a radical act. The process by which historians choose to deify, demonize, or emulate individuals and events is a malleable and contentious undertaking. As I'm sure you savvy readers out there know—with this retelling comes power. Sure, narratives can be retold, historical 'facts' reformulated, and legacies reclaimed. But whose voices get heard? Which versions get told? Who gets remembered and why? (For far too long 'our' Nation's history consisted overwhelmingly of the male, pale, and stale variety.)
Today's Martin Luther King Jr. Adventures in Feministory focuses on Bayard Rustin, one of the most important individuals in the Civil Rights Movement, and a life-long activist for human dignity, but whose contributions are are overlooked (then and now) because he was gay.
Born in France in the year 1748, Marie Gouze (later to be known as Olympe de Gouges) was no ordinary petite fille. From a very early age she championed the rights of illegitimate children (of which she believed she was one) and their mothers, as well as writing abolitionist plays and speaking out for women's rights in France.
If you're thinking that de Gouges' speaking of truth to power didn't go over so well with those in power, you're right.
"I am naturally fond of adventure, a little ambitious, and a good deal romantic-but patriotism was the true secret of my success."
Sarah Emma Edmonds, one of only about 400 women known to have served in the military during the U.S. Civil War, was not even an American—though she risked life and limb in the name of "patriotism" to serve the Union cause for nearly two years as a soldier, nurse and spy.
As the year winds down the media stream is inundated with lists of political accomplishments, policy and presidential reviews and all of our hopes for 2010. Amid this maelstrom, I continue to remember that it was still in the last century that women were given the right to participate in the political process by voting and that the coming year's contests of candidates and legislation can, and should, be part of a modern feminist dialogue. In that light, today's Feministory focuses on a woman who worked tirelessly and radically through much of the twentieth century to secure equal rights for women: Alice Paul.
With Top Chef boiling down to its final two episodes (go Jennifer, go!) now seems as good a time as any to delve into the history of the fancy world of professional chefs. From Top Chef (yes, a television series, but fancy nonetheless) to the James Beard Award, there are tons of impressive accolades out there for ambitious chefs to get their knives on, and we love to watch it happen. So how did this culinary world come about? And is it true that a woman is behind it all? (Spoiler alert! Yes, a woman is behind it all!)
The success of Senator Al Franken's anti-rape amendment is one step towards greater culpability for sexual assault and sexual harassment on the job. This week's Feministory is another case involving labor, sexual harassment, and Minnesota: the first sexual harassment class action lawsuit.
All the poets Iran is famous for – Khayyam, Hafez, Rumi – lived hundreds of years ago... and were dudes. But modernist poetry in Iran is alive and well, and its most important female poet, Forough Farrokhzad, is a contemporary Iranian iconoclast on par with former prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh. Although lack of adequate translations made her little known outside of Iran, Farrokhzad became famous for her work in her home country before her untimely death in 1967.
I only ever flipped through Archie comics while waiting in line to buy groceries, bored by the overwhelming whiteness of Riverdale and confused by Jughead's hat. But it always seemed weird that a series about such a squeaky-clean golly-gee group of teenagers revolved around something as potentially controversial as vague polyamory. The series is over 70 years old, and its technology has changed with the times (Betty blogs and Veronica snaps pictures with her camera phone) but its gender politics are completely outdated. Betty's worship of Archie is portrayed throughout the series as admirable loyalty rather than creepy unrequited dependency, while Archie's inability to retain even a casual commitment to just one girl is framed as… completely normal. So this week's Douchebag Decree goes to you, Archie Andrews, you sly dog. Make up your mind.