Yesterday was Memorial Day in the US. To commemorate, here are five women who revolutionized the country's armed forces. These women may not be pop icons, but they certainly deserve time in the spotlight for their noted "firsts," some welcoming, some not.
Earlier in this series I did a post on the bluestockings and a Facebook commenter suggested I do a follow-up piece on Japanese anarchist feminists. I thought now would be a good opportunity to mention them and some more feminerd forerunners from around the globe, including Kurdistan, Indigenous North America, and even ancient Babylon.
Comandante Ramona was an influential member of the Zapatista Army or Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN) in Chiapas, Mexico. Dubbed "The Petite Warrior," she led the Zapatistas' initial uprising against the Mexican government, leading to to the Zapatista rebellion and the revolution of indigenous women's rights throughout Mexico.
Even in the male-dominated world of classic literature, Sappho has long been considered one of the greatest lyric poets of all time. The scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria named her (in the company of eight men) as one of the nine melic, or musical, poets worth studying, and in a loaded compliment, Plato famously dubbed her "the tenth muse." She served as the inspiration for countless paintings and sculptures, but unlike the mythical muses, Sappho did not exist to facilitate anyone's art but her own.
Activist, poet, mother, writer, Jewish woman, pacifist—it's hard to pick what defined Grace Paley. Born in the Bronx in 1922, Paley went on to publish award winning works of poetry and fiction, to be an active member of both the anti-war and women's movement, to teach writing at Sarah Lawrence, and used her poetry as a weapon well into her eighties. Here are just some reasons why Grace Paley was a badass...
I am in awe of feminist author and activist Dorothy Allison.
Born in South Carolina in 1949 and now living in California, Allison has attracted numerous accolades in the last thirty years for her six published books. (They include Lambda Literary Awards, ALA Awards for Lesbian and Gay Writing and a ridiculous number of others.) She is the rare writer to reach, in my opinion, wonderful heights in nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, though her two already-released full-length novels, Bastard Out of Carolina and Cavedweller, are her most famous works.
She's last been seen giving sex tips to seniors in Massachusetts. On Wednesday, she's speaking about sex, life, and maybe a little rock 'n' roll at Westfield State University. With more than 30 books in tow, oodles of accolades, and millions of fans, Dr. Ruth is still Dr. Ruth.
To look in the "Blues" section of most record stores, you'd think it was only men who had troubles worth singing about. This week it is my pleasure to prove this assumption SPECTACULARLY WRONG, with a glimpse at some of the women who have howled, growled, whimpered and moaned their way through the Blues.