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."

Sunday, August 31, 2014

She's Crafty - Mama's got a new bag

You know what nerds need more than an impressive supply of geeky tees and action figures? A bag to carry all that stuff around in!

Lilia Todd has posted some great photos of this amazing Wonder Woman satchel.

How awesome is this thing? I especially love the blue lining with stars and the little golden lasso of truth on the zipper pull.

Lydia White (The Hallow Oak) has some really great duct tape bags on her deviantART page. I kinda love these custom TARDIS bags she did for kids cosplaying characters from Doctor Who.

And speaking of Doctor Who, how wonderful is this handsewn bag by QuirkieCraft? Actually, she's got a ton of fantastic Doctor Who crafty items on her blog, in addition to a world of other awesome items.

Jaymi Horne has so many realy great geeky bags in her CreoNodo shop! Like this pink and blue Ramona Flowers Star Bag.

Feeling inspired to create your own geeky bag? How about this pattern for a great multi-use bag by Studio Kat Designs? You can wear it on your shoulder, across your chest, or as a backpack. How cool is that? And with the amazing supply of geek-themed fabric out there and your creativity, I'm sure you can come up with something really amazing!

And finally, in a shout out to my friends having fun at PAX and DragonCon this weekend, here's totally meta bag -- a bag made out of bags! Amy and Stephanie of nerdventions have a whole load of great geeky bags made of other bags. Yo. Dude. I heard you liked bags.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Weekend Reading

Welcome to the weekend! We made it! AGAIN! To celebrate, here's a list of longer reads to enjoy in your 'freetime.' Feel free to leave links to what you're reading/writing in the comments!

Teresa Frohock has an excellent piece about the fun about writing women over 40, and the dearth of them in modern pop culture in Women Made of Chrome
There is something freeing about being forty. For a woman who has reached emotional maturity, she no longer cares what people think of her. There is no “leaning in.” Women over forty know how to navigate conventional prejudices and will subvert those biases with a word. A woman over forty will speak her mind.

Ah, but people will say, because there are those who say these things as if saying them over and over will somehow make them true: Ah! But fantasy is like history and in history, women only existed to be saved or raped or murdered.

I call bullshit. Women ruled not just kingdoms but their homes as well. There were chrome-assed bitches in the days before chrome.
The ever amazing Julie Pagano has a fantastic about her thoughts on boundaries and consent in geek culture: Late Night Thoughts on Boundaries & Consent
When topics like boundaries and consent come up, people often think of very serious triggering topics. Some people seem to think that boundaries and consent are only important when it comes to sexuality. Haleigh’s talk did a great job of pointing out that boundaries and consent also matter elsewhere.

Boundaries and consent matter at every level. You need to train yourself to understand them in a variety of interactions and relationships. We need a culture that respects boundaries and consent. In technology, this can apply to things like how we present information to our users or what we do with their information. In our day to day lives, this can apply to things like physical touch and discussion of triggering topics.

Andrew Wheeler has a great article comparing DC and Marvel in regards to their treatment of female characters in Girl Fight: The Marvel/DC Rivalry Finally Extends To Winning The Female Audience
There’s currently an unspoken contest between Marvel and DC to see who can produce more comics aimed at a female audience. It’s possible the contest only exists in my head, as I’ve been keeping a tally of solo titles with female leads for the past several months — but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that editors at the two publishers have also been keeping track.
Rebecca Mead has a just thorough profile piece about the kick ass Mary Beard, classics professor at the University of Cambridge and Troll Slayer.
Beard, in her unapologetic braininess, is a role model for women of all ages who want an intellectually satisfying life. She estimates that she works thirteen hours a day, six days a week. On more than one occasion, I have e-mailed her at 8 p.m. or later from New York, expecting to hear from her by morning, only to discover an immediate and exhaustive reply in my inbox. Among those in the audience for “Oh Do Shut Up Dear!” was Megan Beech, a student at King’s College, whose spoken-word ode “When I Grow Up I Want to Be Mary Beard” was posted on YouTube last summer. (“She should be able to analyze Augustus’s dictums, or early A.D. epithets / Without having to scroll through death, bomb, and rape threats.”) Peter Stothard, the editor of the Times Literary Supplement, where Beard is the classics editor, sometimes appears with her at literary festivals; together they conduct a seminar on how to read a Latin poem. “Afterwards, a few people will come and talk to me,” he told me. “And there will be a line of schoolgirls and middle-aged women lining up to have their photo taken with Mary.”

Lisa De Bode of Al Jazera America has a great profile of Mitchelene Big Man: Woman Warrior.
Originally from the Crow reservation in Montana, she outlasted the hard life she found growing up. She is a survivor of sexual assault in the military. She is a mother who was often overseas when her own children lived with their grandmother, and is now a parent to four other children from her reservation, raising them at her home in Pueblo, Colorado, with her husband, also a veteran.

And she is the founder of the Native American Women Warriors (NAWW)), a color guard of female veterans from Indian Country. They perform a jingle dance, which some tribes regard as a healing rite traditionally performed by women. The members of the NAWW perform to heal from injuries that cut deep and they dance for others, such as Piestewa, a Hopi who loved the dances of her tribe. Since the group’s appearance at the second inauguration of President Barack Obama, invitations for the group have poured in.

“We’re trying to get recognition for the Native American female veterans,” Big Man said. “A lot of people think we don’t exist in this country anymore, but we are here and we also serve in the military.’’

Ilana Lipowicz has a fantastic interview with Lisa Mullis, avid runner and cyclist, on her motivations
If you had asked my 20-year-old self, I’d say “I’m nothing special.” If you asked my 30-year-old self you’d probably get “I wish I was something special.” Now, in my 40’s, I’ve discovered that it has always been the people I choose to surround myself with that make me, me. I choose to insulate myself with people who challenge me and who encourage the people around them. I find these people are often advocates for a better world, and by world I mean even if it’s a fifty foot radius around them at the moment, they choose to make that space better. I have excellent friend picking skills.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Follow Friday

Here's your weekly list of great folks posting awesome things around the net!

I love Daniela Titan's fun and informative science videos on YouTube. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Geek Girl Diva: blog, Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr.

Mz Maau is one of my faves on Google+. She's always got some great links and commentary. She also collects great videos on her YouTube channel.

Princess Mentality Cosplay is full of fantastic geeky cosplay! She can also be found on Twitter.

Whenever I need a hearty dose of kickass women doing kickass things, I check out the images on FuckYeahCollegeSoftball's Tumblr page.

Feel free to leave links to your pages in the comments!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Music Break - Beyoncé

When you're alone all by yourself, and you're lying in your bed, reflection stares right into you... Are you happy with yourself?

This is a message we've been hearing a lot lately. And I'm glad. We get so many messages that we need to please those around us, we forget that the only person whose approval really means anything is us.

I'm pretty sure Beyoncé has figured it out as well. Yes. Yes, I do.

Pretty Hurts

Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever's worst
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts
Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever's worst
We try to fix something but you can't fix what you can't see
It's the soul that needs the surgery

Mama said, "You're a pretty girl.
What's in your head, it doesn't matter
Brush your hair, fix your teeth.
What you wear is all that matters."

Just another stage, pageant the pain away
This time I'm gonna take the crown
Without falling down, down, down

Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever's worst
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts
Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever's worst
We try to fix something but you can't fix what you can't see
It's the soul that needs the surgery

Blonder hair, flat chest
TV says, "Bigger is better."
South beach, sugar free
Vogue says, "Thinner is better."

Just another stage, pageant the pain away
This time I'm gonna take the crown
Without flling down, down, down

Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever's worst
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts (pretty hurts)
Pretty hurts (pretty hurts), we shine the light on whatever's worst
We try to fix something but you can't fix what you can't see
It's the soul that needs the surgery

Ain't got no doctor or pill that can take the pain away
The pain's inside and nobody frees you from your body
It's the soul, it's the soul that needs surgery
It's my soul that needs surgery
Plastic smiles and denial can only take you so far
Then you break when the fake facade leaves you in the dark
You left with shattered mirrors and the shards of a beautiful past

Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever's worst (pretty hurts)
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts
Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever's worst
We try to fix something but you can't fix what you can't see
It's the soul that needs the surgery

When you're alone all by yourself (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
And you're lying in your bed (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
Reflection stares right into you (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
Are you happy with yourself? (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)

You stripped away the masquerade (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
The illusion has been shed (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
Are you happy with yourself? (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
Are you happy with yourself? (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)

Uh huh huh

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kickstart This!

Here's your weekly list of Kickstarter projects that deserve your attention.

I love the trend of re-working classic stories from the perspective of a strong, brave female protagonist.
Valor is a comic anthology of re-imaged fairy tales showcasing the talent of some of the top creators in the field of digital comics. The purpose of this book is to pay homage to the strength, resourcefulness, and cunning of female heroines in fairy tales. Some of these are recreations of time-honored tales. Others are brand new stories, designed to be passed to future generations.

Inspired by the idea that mighty feats can be accomplished by the smallest mouse, amazing teen Louise Scott has launched Mary Mouse Designs to help fund her tuition for dance school.
The hard work of dance school in Scotland truly paid off, when I discovered I'd been awarded a chance to study for a Performers Diploma in Professional Dance at the highly prestigious Urdang Academy in London. With over 1600 applicants for 100 highly coveted places, the opportunity to attend this 3 year course is already a dream come true.

However, a new obstacle has arisen in the form of financial difficulties. Due to various loopholes, I didn't receive a bursary and can't get funding through the normal channels. Again, this disappointment has not deterred me and with support from my mother, older sister Anna - and hopefully you too - I believe I can fulfill my purpose and move closer to my dream of creating a career as a professional dancer.

Virginia Paton has already written and illustrated book one of Year of the Marachi, the story of a young slave girl in the 1930s and her journey to freedom and finding her place in the world.
Year of the Marachi is a four-part graphic novel series about a group of young people thrown together by circumstance, trying to find their way in a changing world. As inside and outside forces threaten their small, developing country, they find themselves at the center of a revolution.

Hey, remember when Mitt Romney gave us that hilarious Binders Full of Women meme? VIDA: Women in Literary Arts (the folks who bring us the annual VIDA Count - where they take annual stock of the gender disparity in major literary publications and book reviews) are blowing up all the binders with their Out of the Binders: Symposium On Women Writers Today.
On October 11 and 12, 2014, we'll convene in New York City for a symposium on/for/by women in the literary arts and film/TV, with a pragmatic approach to shaking up those pie charts: panel discussions on women in the newsroom, starting to write after forty, and challenges faced by women writers of color; professional development workshops on pitching and accounting for freelancers; literary agent "speed dating;" and networking opportunities for everyone from journalism and creative writing students to new freelancers to seasoned professionals

The wonderful folks behind "Princeless" and "Vacant" have a new project!
"Illegal" follows the story of Gianna Delrey, an undocumented immigrant living in the shadows of an enormous city. All citizens received a microchip that tracks their movements and stores the history of their lives. Anybody without a chip is an 'illegal.' They can’t be tracked, but if they’re caught, they wind up in the deportation camps - where the wait to be deported has become so long that most people die just trying to survive.

Women business owners are one of the fastest-growing and most successful entrepreneurial demographics. The documentary team working on "Dream, Girl" are hoping that by telling the stories of these women they can redefine what it means to be a boss.
"Dream, Girl" will showcase the empowering stories of women-run companies and the founders whose ambition and dedication drive them. We will examine their journey, their struggles, and discover what makes them successful. We will talk to investors and cultural experts about why women are worth investing in, and learn why there has never been a more exciting and promising time for female-run businesses.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Quote of the Day

"You should never be surprised when someone treats you with respect, you should expect it."
Sarah Dressen, Keeping the Moon
I've been thinking about this concept for a while now. If you've ever been in a dysfunctional relationship (whether personal or professional, or even just interacting with too many jerks online), you know how easily it can be to become acclimated to being treated poorly. In order to survive, you focus on finding ways to cope, especially when you're not in a position to make changes to the situation, and eventually you may even forget what "normal" feels like. When people treat you with basic dignity it is almost a shock. You're thankful.

But then something shifts in your thinking. Someone or something reminds you that you are worthy of respect. And eventually, you believe it yourself. You not only expect respect, you demand it. And not only for yourself, but for everyone.

And then, in an ideal situation (sadly, rarely achieved), you can stop demanding respect, because it has become a given -- something that is as common as their air we breathe.

I see the effects of the first type of behavior quite often online, and especially where people are talking about a social issue, usually related to inequality. When watching these conversations, it's very easy to spot people who are still stuck in this way of thinking. Even when it comes to how they treat other people. They are proud of their ability to give respect to others. They are practically showing off to everyone else, like being decent and respectful is some kind of novelty behavior worthy of reward or praise.

The examples of the second are often harder to find, but they are there. They are usually the folks demanding that mainstream social movements made a space for the marginalized voices, reminding us that true equality cannot be achieved without addressing the many ways that gender, class, race, sexuality, and so many other factors intersect and impact each other. They are the ones reminding us that it is our goal to have everyone living in a world where respect is expected, and given.

Examples of the third phase are even rarer, and I have only ever experienced them in close relationships and small, tightly-knit groups. I am hopeful that as more people experience the freedom that comes from no longer having to be vigilant against hurtful behavior, the more they will be able to create spaces where others can feel safe as well.