Women's History Month - Elizabeth Blackwell

The first woman to receive a medical degree in the US.

Queen Ranavalona III of Madagascar

The last Ruler of Madagascar.

She's Crafty - Microscopic Edition!

Some really cool science inspired crafts!

Happy Birthday - Septima Poinsette Clark

The "Queen Mother" or "Grandmother of the American Civil Rights Movement."

Monday, November 23, 2015

Rachel Fuller Brown -- scientist and advocate

When she was fourteen, Rachel Fuller Brown dropped out of school to pursue a degree at a vocational school with the intention of helping to support her family. Her father had abandoned them and she and her mother and brother were struggling to get by. Fortunately for all of us, her mother put her foot down and forced her to return to to her studies, insisting that her own daughter would attend college and earn the degree she never could.

Rachel went on to study chemistry in college, earning her Bachelor's at Mount Holyoke and her Doctorate at the University of Chicago, and eventually was part of a partnership that discovered an antifungal medicine still used today to treat serious fungal infections related to chemotherapy, AIDS, and organ transplants.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Kickstart This! Playing Nature's Year

The ever amazing Meguey Baker has done it again. She's come up with another wonderful game, Playing Nature's YearI'm sooooo excited for this game. I have long been fascinated by the stories we tell about our environment, and about the importance of each season and the subtle changes that occur throughout them.

I can't say that the 'traditional' (read: Euro-centric) stories resonated with me growing up -- I didn't understand why snowflakes were the symbol of winter when it rarely snowed in Louisiana. Now that I've lived in several different places where the seasons are so very different, I have a better appreciation for the local stories. Here in California, we are entering the "rainy season" where the colors are vastly different from elsewhere. The deciduous trees are losing their leaves and turning brown, but the grasses are coming back to life. It's a time of grays and greens and browns, where summer is gold and blue and dark green.

I also have a deep appreciation of story-telling and gaming, and especially story-telling games! So, when I learned that Meg's new game combines storytelling and nature, I jumped at the chance to support it.

Meg was kind enough to answer a few of my questions, to help me share this fantastic project with you all. I hope that even if you don't decide to back Playing Nature's Year, you'll check out her many other games and find something that piques your interest!

SRPS: First of all, can you tell me a little bit about yourself -- your work, your passion, your goals.

MB: My basic mission in life, the thing that underlies pretty much everything I do, is to listen to under-heard voices and amplify them. For a dozen years, I facilitated a group for new mothers dealing with postpartum stress/anxiety/depression. I teach sex ed anywhere I can, especially to teenagers, and advocate for them as they discover their orientation and identity. I designed games for social change and the re-knitting of friendship networks among teenage girls in Ethiopia. I am a textile conservation specialist at two different local museums, where I help to uncover and preserve the stories of the past as told by the objects left behind and people that made them, with a specific focus on women, children, people of color, the currently poor, and other non-dominant voices. This extends to my parenting and how Vincent and I raise our three sons. I tell them my goal is for them to be "C to the 5th" - curious, compassionate, creative, connected and contributing members of their communities. I really do believe that every person has a story worth telling and a story worth hearing.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Quote of the Day - Wilma Mankiller

Wilma Mankiller (November 18, 1945 – April 6, 2010), was the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation, serving from 1985 to 1995. When she accepted the position, she was one of only a few women in tribal leadership. During her time as chief, she worked to reintroduce traditional Cherokee systems where women and men worked together for the betterment of the tribe.

She also worked diligently to improve relations between the Cherokee Nation and the United States federal government, and using federal funds to create long-lasting community development projects to encourage tribal businesses, promote economic independence, and improve infrastructure.

"The most fulfilled people are the ones who get up every morning and stand for something larger than themselves. They are the people who care about others, who will extend a helping hand to someone in need or will speak up about an injustice when they see it."
Who will you help today? What will you fight for?

If you like the work I do here at Self-Rescuing Princess Society,
please check out my Patreon.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Follow Friday - Illustrated Women in History

You know that feeling when you meet someone (either in person or online) who shares your same passion? The excitement learning you're not the only one who loves that thing? And then you learn how they turn their love of it into something unique to them, bringing a whole new awareness of the thing you already love?

That's how I felt when I first encountered Illustrated Women in History. I don't think it's any great secret that I have a life-long fascination with learning more about women's lives throughout history, and a passion for sharing their stories with others. Julie Gough does as well, only in addition to blogging about them, she's also drawing them. And quite well, I might add!

Naturally, I immediately contacted her to totally geek out about her drawings and our shared obsession with women in history. Fortunately she was kind enough to answer a few of my questions, which I am happy to share with you in my effort to encourage you to also go follow her social media for your regular dose of amazing women!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Raven Wilkinson - trailblazer and mentor

Today is the 80th birthday of pioneering African American ballet dancer Raven Wilkinson.

You've probably heard of Misty Copeland and her recent promotion to principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre -- the first African American woman to hold that title. You may even have heard of Michaela DePrince, the young woman born in Sierra Leone and now breaking down barriers in the American ballet.

Long before they graced the stage, though, there was Raven Wilkinson.

Raven Wilkinson grew up in Harlem, in a house directly across the street from the Dance Theatre of Harlem. That is where she first fell in love with dance. Her mother, who had studied ballet herself, encouraged her young daughter's burgeoning passion. Raven's talent was evident from an early age. She started lessons at the age of five, and on her ninth birthday her uncle's generous gift was for lessons at the esteemed Ballet Russe School, led by Bolshoi dancers Maria and Vecheslav Swoboda.

In 1955, at the tender age of 20, she signed a contract to dance full time with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, and in doing so became the first African American dancer for a major classical ballet company.

As you might imagine, life as an African American dancer in the 1950s was not easy.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Quote of the Day - Juliette Gordon Low

"The work of today is the history of tomorrow, and we are its makers."

I love this quote. When I'm feeling like the work is just too hard or the results seem to be taking too long, I remind myself that history-making is a life-long process. It is my life's work to leave the world a little better off than it was when I got here. And while my individual efforts may not make much of a difference outside my circle of influence,

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

TV Night - Supergirl

I'm sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that I have been eagerly awaiting the premier of Supergirl. I've had October 26th marked on my calendar for a while now. I'm sure like many of you, I've been more than a little anxious about how good the show would be.

Well, I've watched it twice already this week (and plan to watch it again once I'm done here), and I'm here to report that it is, in fact, very, very good! It's not perfect (and I'm a more than a little upset that "perfect" is even a goal here, to be honest), but it's great in so many ways. Here are my top three reasons for watching:

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Quote of the Day - Maxine Hong Kingston

Today is the 75th birthday of the amazing Maxine Hong Kingston. She is best known for her memoir The Woman Warrior, which tells stories of her life interspersed with traditional Chinese folktales. I have never read the whole thing (a fact I am somewhat ashamed of, frankly), but we did read excerpts of it in several of my college classes about race and gender.

To me success means effectiveness in the world, that I am able to carry my ideas and values into the world - that I am able to change it in positive ways.