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."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Music Break - Lauryn Hill

Ms. Lauryn Hill has released a sketch version of her piece Black Rage in honor and support of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri. It's poignant and powerful and deserves many, many listens. And then action.

Black Rage

Black Rage is founded on two-thirds a person
Rapings and beatings and suffering that worsens.
Black human packages tied up in strings,
Black Rage can come from all these kinds of things.
Black Rage is founded on blatant denial
Squeeze economics, subsistence survival,
Deadening silence and social control.
Black Rage is founded on wounds in the soul!

When the dogs bite
When the beatings
When I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember all these kinds of things and then I don't fear so bad!

Black Rage is founded: who fed us self hatred,
Lies and abuse, while we waited and waited?
Spiritual treason, this grid and its cages,
Black Rage is founded on these kinds of things.
Black Rage is founded on draining and draining,
Threatening your freedom to stop your complaining.
Poisoning your water while they say it's raining,
Then call you mad for complaining, complaining.
Old time bureaucracy drugging the youth,
Black Rage is founded on blocking the truth!
Murder and crime, compromise and distortion,
Sacrifice, sacrifice who makes this fortune?
Greed, falsely called progress,
Such Human contortion,
Black Rage is founded on these kinds of things.

So when the dogs bite
And when the ceilings
And when I'm feeling mad,
I simply remember all these kinds of things and then I don't fear so bad!

Free enterprise, is it myth or illusion?
Forcing you back into purposed confusion.
Black human trafficking or blood transfusion?
Black Rage is founded on these kinds of things.
Victims of violence both psyche and body
Life out of context IS living unGodly.
Politics, politics
Greed falsely called wealth
Black Rage is founded on denial of self!
Black human packaged tied in subsistence
Having to justify very existence
Try if you must but you can't have my soul
Black Rage is made by unGodly control!

So when the dogs bite
When the beatings
And when I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember all these kinds of things and then I don't fear so bad!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Kickstart This!

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

The story in Amya is beautiful and fantastical, and deserves to be shared with a larger public.
As Faye and her unlikely companions pursue an adventure that is greater than any of them could have anticipated, she discovers how heavy the burden she carries truly is. She is to be the pinnacle of the world's survival or destruction, and must decide if she wishes to sacrifice her own humanity for the world -- or the world for her humanity.

The Goddess Project is a fantastic group of women that has wrapped up their tour around the country interviewing amazing women to share their stories. They're now raising funds to finish their documentary The Goddess Project.
The Goddess Project will help usher in a new way of thinking; a positive affirmation that these stories, our stories, matter. If there is one thing we've learned throughout this journey, it's that no matter who you are or what you believe, there is someone out there just waiting to discover their possibilities in your reality. The women in this film have given us powerful tools that have transformed our lives, and we can’t wait to share their insightful wisdom with the world!

Rebecca Glenski Coppage's book My Perfect Little Secret is about a tough, sweet, real teenage girl with a secret. She looks like the perfect teenager from the outside, but inside is another matter.
Lilly thinks if she can just lose a few more pounds all her troubles will melt away. With coffee for breakfast, her favorite foods on the NO EAT list, and her dog getting fat from the scraps she’s feeding her under the table, Lilly is losing not only pounds, but herself. When Lilly collapses on the soccer field, she’s forced to make one of the biggest decisions of her life. Will she continue to lie to everyone she loves to hide her little secret and maintain her distorted version of a perfect body or will she have the courage to fight for her life and see herself for more than the reflection in the mirror?

Taryn Anderson wants to talk about race. And, specifically, how race intersects with the important and difficult issues we're facing in our time. In her adaptation of the O'Neill piece, Abortion: A Race Redux, she wants to foster a dialog that will continue long after the curtain drops.
As theatre artists, what is our responsibility and response to the way race is perceived on stage? How is race performed in the American theatre? This production of "Abortion" a short play by Eugene O'Neill, is geared toward asking the audience and ourselves these questions. Is an audience ever really color blind and does race, stereotypes and socio-economic status play a part in their perception of a characters guilt or innocence?

Megen Musegades is tired of the lack of good stories for women in Hollywood. So, she's taking a short story by Shannan Rouss and adapting it into her film The Three of Us to showcase two complex women.
Getting fed up with the lack of complex female roles, Megen's goal in all her screenplays is to make sure that the female characters take the lead. In a male dominated industry, many stories on the screen today still portray women as one-dimensional.

Saturday, August 16, 2014


Here's a collection of long reads for your weekend pleasure.

Alex Brown at Tor.com has an excellent piece about the problems with the still-really-awesome Guardians of the Galaxy. And she pretty well nails it!
Here’s the thing. You can’t give me Gamora then spend the whole movie slut-shaming her and locking her into an unnecessary romance, then expect me to be grateful a woman was even allowed a prominent role. You can’t merchandise the hell out of your male (and animal, and plant) characters and skip the female ones altogether. You can’t claim Guardians is the first Marvel movie written by a woman when it was so substantially re-written by a man that everything from the character personalities to the main story arc is entirely different. Marvel as a corporation may be winning the race against DC to be the most socially progressive of the Big Two, but that victory is due less to the increasing insistence on diversity and more to DC eagerly hobbling itself.
Deborah Pless has an in-depth discussion about the characterization of mothers in law in genre fiction in this week's Strong Female Character Friday: Queen Catherine (Reign).
So looking at this, the frustration of this trope, you would think that I really hate Reign's Queen Catherine (Megan Follows). She is, after all, the quintessential poisonous mother-in-law. She is so sure that Queen Mary (Adelaide Kane) will bring disaster on France if she marries Catherine's son Francis (Toby Regbo), that she is willing to attempt assassinations, use magic and fortunetelling, and even hire men to rape Mary. She is not a nice person.

I think she's a brilliant character, though. In fact, I think that the show, without Catherine, would be virtually unwatchable. Mary is all well and good, but the show works because of the way that Mary and Catherine are cast as opposites. Instead of the real conflict between them centering around Francis, their true disconnect is actually about their similarities, and Mary's reluctance to recognize how similar they really are.

Lauren Miller has a guest post on Viva La Feminista where she shares her Reflections on Anita Hill, Twenty-Three Years Later.
However, as Anita: Speaking Truth to Power reminds us, the truth is not easily digested by those unwilling to engage with it—those socialized firmly within a patriarchy that promises, among other things, to allow an otherwise rightfully deserving man to continue toward the prize he has earned. When Anita spoke out, many questioned, “Why could she not simply keep her mouth shut like she had done for so many years?”. One patronizing query from a member of the judiciary committee was, “Why in God’s name” would you ever speak to him again, Anita? This is wounding to listen to.
You probably already know the story of Solomon Northup from the movie 12 Years a Slave, but his story was almost lost to time if it hadn't been for a curious and determined woman named Sue Eakin:The Woman Who Saved Solomon.
What became an exercise in curiosity soon became an obsession. While she juggled her roles as a wife, mother, and freelance journalist, she spent every spare hour researching the life of Solomon Northup. As her eldest son Paul M. Eakin Jr., 71, now says, “We grew up with Solomon—we refer to him as our older brother.”

Afternoons would be spent driving to small courthouses to pore over records that would verify Northup’s story. “Her mission was to authenticate every fact,” says Dr. Eakin, a retired math professor. “Every name, every river, every distance, railroad, bridge, relationship.”

Feliza at Girls in Capes has a great post on The Quiet Feminism of Anne Shirley.
After she’s taken in by the Cuthbert siblings, though, Anne’s value shifts: she starts attending school, where she becomes the intellectual rival of Gilbert Blythe. Though the rivalry stems from a rather childish and vain incident in which he calls her “Carrots,” Anne’s determination brings her to the top of the class, though maybe you could call it her stubbornness instead.

Here, readers start to see concepts of feminism coming into play, though a child would read the book differently. Anne starts to be treated as an individual with worth that goes beyond her ability to take care of babies, and her more unique talents for English and poetry are recognized not only by her teachers and classmates, but the rest of the town as well.
Emma at The F Bomb has a great piece On Being A Role Model for the young women she teaches at summer camp, and that kids are always learning from the words AND actions of the adults around them, not only in the class room, but in every aspect of their time together.
I was thinking, for the first time, about what our campers see in the way we see ourselves. How could I be so careful about what I say and never once stop to think about what it does to my young campers – particularly the girls – when they see me cover up in a towel or hear my coworker say how “disgusting” her arms look.

There are so many things I want my campers – especially my girl campers – to know. That how much fun they have on stage matters far more than how “talented” they are, that they light up our days with their humor, their smiles, their love. That we see, in their moments of deep compassion, patience, and kindness, and the thoughtful and considerate adults they will become. That they already are, and that we hope they always stay, brave and bold.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Follow Friday

I don't know how much of that Time article calling out Ironic Misandry I agree with. What I do know is that the parody account for Women Against Feminism is hilarious. In that totally laugh to keep from crying kind of way.

RethinkPink has a great podcasts exploring issues around gender, parenting, empowerment and all kinds of excellent stuff! You should also be following them on your favorite social media platform: Google+FacebookTwitterPinterest

S.E. Smith writes feminist and environmental pieces for several online publications as well as for ou's own blog. While I have ou in my RSS feed, I also follow ou on Facebook and Twitter for maximum share-ability.

GrrlScientist writes informative and fascinating pieces for The Guardian, mainly about birds and science-related things. Even when tackling a complex scientific issue, she makes it accessible and interesting to the layperson.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Kickstart This!

Here's your weekly list of awesome Kickstarter (and IndieGoGo) projects that deserve your attention!

Happy Birthday, Marsha! is the story of two best friends, Marsha P. Johnson & Sylvia Rivera, in the hours before the Stonewall riots.
When Marsha and Sylvia, self-proclaimed “street queens” – homeless, Black & Latina trans women – ignite the Stonewall Rebellion, they change LGBT politics forever. It's a hot summer day in June, 1969. Marsha throws a party, but no one shows up. Meanwhile, Sylvia gets stoned and forgets the party after unsuccessfully introducing her lover to her family. Throughout the difficult day, the friends struggle with harassment and alienation before converging at the Stonewall Inn to finally celebrate Marsha's birth. Unbeknownst to them, the NYPD has plans to raid the bar that night. Happy Birthday, Marsha! is the story of two brave best friends and the everyday decisions they made that changed the course of history.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Happy Birthday - Audrey Mestre

Today would have been Audrey Mestre's 40th birthday.

Audrey Mestre (11 August, 1974 - 12 October, 2002) was a world record-setting free diver*.

She was born into a family of snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts, and at a very young age, it was clear she was destined to spend her life in the water. Her grandfather would take her diving on the south of France every summer, and paid for swimming lessons in the winter. She was swimming by the age of two, and won a 25-meter swim match at the age of 2-1/2! By age thirteen was a seasoned scuba diver.