The ubiquity of commercial cigarettes in the United States is a 20th century phenomenon. In large part, the massive popularity of cigarettes in the United States can be traced back to their rationing to soldiers during World War I and World War II. The cigarette's rise in popularity amongst women, however, is a different story all together. In this special edition of Adventures in Feministory, we're taking a look at how flappers, Freud, feminism and fashion transformed the perception and popularity of women cigarette smokers.
Toronto-based filmmaker Deepa Mehta was born in Amritsar, India in 1949. Because her father was a film distributor and theater owner, she was exposed to film at a very early age. She grew up watching commercial Indian cinema, and realized the emotional power of cinema when she was just thirteen.
She went to the University of Delhi, where she received a degree in philosophy. With no formal training in filmmaking, she began her career after graduation when she joined a company making documentaries. She moved to Toronto at the age of 23, where she began to create films that would soon establish her as a talented and controversial filmmaker.
Mehta describes herself as "a citizen filmmaker of the world. Or at least one that has one foot in India and one in Canada." She initially moved to Toronto with plans to move back to India, but ended up staying and becoming a Canadian citizen. Her films, however, are mostly set in India, and they challenge traditional beliefs prevalent in Indian culture. As a result of her controversial subject matter, her films have been fiercely protested by various Hindu fundamentalist groups. Because of this, Mehta is often accompanied by armed bodyguards when traveling in India.
This week's installment of Adventures in Feministory goes out to a very special lady, one who broke barriers for older women in the entertainment industry like nobody's business: Estelle Getty. (And no, this post isn't just an excuse to talk about her fabulous exercise video, but yes, the video is included after the jump.)
Trivia: Which came first: the Model T Ford or the windshield wiper?
Might seem counter-intuitive, but it was the wiper! Yep, the first successful windshield wiper was invented, and patented, by Mary Anderson in 1903.
Hildegard von Bingen was a German Benedictine abbess, magistra, composer, healer and author, one of the first female composers whose works are still intact. In an era where few women were allowed or able to read and write, Hildegard wrote songs, poems, theological texts and medicinal guides and even invented her own alphabet.
It’s likely that Hildegard would have been forgotten if she hadn’t left such an extensive written record of her thoughts and studies. Nearly 80 of her compositions have survived, along with over a hundred letters to statesmen, emperors, saints and popes. Without her extensive writings, we would know almost nothing about her life, but she didn’t even begin writing until a vision she received at the age of 42 instructed her to "write down that which you see and hear."