Bertha Heyman loved to con people, and the more challenging the con, the more she loved it. She immigrated from Prussia in 1878, and then proceeded to take America (and Canada) by storm with a string of elaborate cons from coast to coast throughout the 1880s. She spent time in expensive hotels, draped in finery, and in prisons, where she plotted schemes from her cell. She might not have been strong in ethics, but she had moxie!
What comes to mind when you picture a Harem in the Ottoman Empire? Gyration? Debauchery? Grapes? We're here to tell you that the reality was a lot more complicated, a lot less sexy, and a lot more interesting. And things really got cool in the Harem during the 16th and 17th centuries when the women of the court had more power and influence than ever before, and played the political game with panache. It was the Sultanate of Women, and they were kicking ass and building infrastructure!
What's up with Viking shield maidens? Did they really exist, or were mythical beings like Valkyries all we really have? From Brunhilda to modern archeology, we're plunging into the historical battle over these hearty and terrifying women!
- Viking Women, Warriors, and Valkyries (British Museum)
- Viking Warrior Women: Did 'Shieldmaidens' Like Lagertha Really Exist? (Tor.com)
- Raining on Your Parade About Those Women Viking Warriors (Stuff You Missed in History Class)
- "May Thor Strike You Dead" Shield Maidens in History & Fiction (The Powder Room)
- Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries - video (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra)
Join us for some delightful Christmas lady tidbits! What do Irish women do on January 6th? What's the deal with "Baby It's Cold Outside"? What would feminist carols sound like? Enjoy a little women's history mixed in with your festive celebrations! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all, from Heather and Dayna!
- Little Women's Christmas (Ireland Fun Facts)
- 'Baby It's Cold Outside' was once an anthem for progressive women. What happened? (Washington Post)
- Baby It's Cold Outside - Neptune's Daughter (video)
- Baby It's Cold Outside - Gap commercial (video)
- Baby It's Cold Outside - The Muppets (video)
- Songs From a Christmas Album in Which More Than a Few Aims of Feminism Have Been Achieved (The Toast)
Beatrix Potter is most famous as the creator of a certain blue-jacketed bunny, but her life was so much bigger than Mr. Mcgregor's garden. She defied her parents and upper class British convention to marry well and settle down to a life of tea and drawing rooms - instead she became a shrewd merchandizer of her own work, and ultimately became a huge force for land conservation in the well-worth preserving Lake District. And she was an expert on mushrooms! What more could you ask for in life?
- About Beatrix Potter (PeterRabbit.com)
- Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature (bpotter.com)
- Beatrix Potter and the Lake District (Lake District National Park)
- Beatrix Potter: The Picture Letters (Morgan Library and Museum)
- Beatrix Potter, Mycologist (Brain Pickings)
- Emma Thompson Has Peter Rabbit's Jacket (Tonight Show video)
Henrietta Lacks didn't live nearly as long as she should have, yet in a way she clings to life to this day. Her cells live on as the famous and ubiquitous HeLa cells in labs and hospitals around the world, and have enabled a huge number of major medical breakthroughs over the past 60 years, while at the same time stirring up a lot of debate and controversy over the ethics of research consent. In death, as in life, Henrietta Lacks is a complicated lady, and one we all need to thank.
Sojourner Truth walked to freedom and to a life of passionate and outspoken travelling activism, at a time when women, especially Black women, were supposed to stay quiet and stay at home. She found inspiration in her faith in God and we find inspiration in her refusal to be cowed by anyone! We're pretty sure you'll love her as much as we do; let Sojourner Truth help you find the courage of your convictions!
Dear listener, we must gently break the news that we're taking a short break. Life events, and all that. But to ease your pain we're plugging a wonderful musical comedy event you might be interested in! Come see Dayna in Disney's Beauty and the Beast at Windsor's Chrysler Theatre November 18th-27th! (Tickets at windsorlight.com.) And then join us again in December for more Yesterladies, rested and fresher than ever! Au revoir!
We're bringing you a Halloween treat this week: six horrifying murderesses from days of yore. A blood-thirsty countess, a maniacal nurse, a cruel midwife, and even a diabolical wrestler: these ladies prove that dudes don't have the serial killer market cornered! Happy Halloween!
Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, better known as Madame de Pompadour, was probably the most successful and influential "official mistress" in western history. She captured Louis XV's attention, along with everybody else's, with her wit, style, charm, and boundless energy. From theatre to architecture, gardening to philosophy, encyclopedias to politics, this busy lady had her fingers in just about everything at Versailles and beyond. You'll just swoon for this fascinating seductress!
Susanna Moodie is well known to English lit majors from Cape Breton to Vancouver Island, but her full life story is even more interesting than the years depicted in her famous book Roughing It in the Bush suggest. Abolitionist, successful writer, independent lady, Ontario brush clearer, and now Canadian icon: Susanna Moodie probably didn't mean to help define the Canadian identity, but she's right up there with Sir John and Gordon Lightfoot!
We're making a sexy splash with our fall premiere, because haven't you always wanted to know just what ladies have been wearing under their street clothes throughout the ages? Linen strips, breast bags, knickerbockers, and girdles, we've got you covered! (Wink.)
Yesterladies is going on hiatus, but we have a really, really good reason... (You'll have to listen to the audio to find out what it is...) In the meantime, keep in touch, let's grab drinks by the pool, and then we'll see you in September, ready to jump back in with some fresh and awesome Yesterladies! Happy summer!!
WHAT was going on in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692?? A pretty fair question! In the span of just a few months, a small colonist community went a little nuts and condemned and executed 20 people, mostly women, for witchcraft. At a time in Western history when witch hunts and trials had been winding down, they made a sudden big, if brief, comeback in New England. This week we give you the who, what, where, and when, as well as some pretty interesting theories on why, exactly, the whole mess happened. Frustrated teens? Mental illness? Could funky rye have played a part?? Historians are still divided!
- A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials (Smithsonian)
- Salem Witch Museum
- Salem: Witchcraft Hysteria (National Geographic)
- Famous American Trials: The Salem Witchcraft Trials (UMKC School of Law)
- Conversion Disorder and Mass Hysteria (Huffington Post)
- Were The American Colonists Drugged During the Salem Witchcraft Trial (How Stuff Works)
What do ancient Egyptian kohl, nail polish in imperial China, and red lipstick during World War II have in common? They're three of the many ways makeup has been used in human history for practical and social purposes! There might just be more meaning behind the history of makeup than you would notice at first blush...
- A History of Cosmetics from Ancient Times (Cosmetics Info)
- How Makeup Works (How Stuff Works)
- Lisa Eldridge makeup history video (Teen Vogue)
- Vintage Looks, Icons, & Make-up History (Lisa Eldridge - video playlist)
- Mascara For the Gods: A History of Make-up - The Ancient World (Culture Shock)
- Mascara For the Gods: A History of Make-up - The Modern World (Culture Shock)
You've probably heard at least a little something about this intrepid interpreter who trekked with Lewis and Clark on their famous "Corps of Discovery" expedition in 1805, but there's a lot of myth and mystique surrounding the actual details of her life. This week we give you just the facts, ma'am, along with a look at the mystery and contentious debate around Sacagawea's death. This daughter of a Shoshone chief certainly made her mark on the history and national narrative of the storied American west. And she kept a remarkably cool head while doing it!
In 1985 cartoonist Alison Bechdel wrote a comic titled, "The Rule." And after a 20-year incubation period, the internet discovered it and went nuts! Much to Bechdel's surprise, her comic took on a life of its own as a female representation litmus test for movies, and all sorts of other media. This week Heather and Dayna trace the path of what has become known as the Bechdel Test, and discover some surprising movie passes and fails!
- "The Rule" (Dykes To Watch Out For - this is the original comic)
- Bechdel Test Movie List (BechdelTest.com)
- The Bechdel Test for Women in Movies (Feminist Frequency - video)
- The Bechdel Test Sets the Bar Too Low. Let's Write a New One. (Slate)
- What Really Makes a Film Feminist? (The Atlantic)
- Why The Bechdel Test Is More Important Than You Realize (io9)
We're pretty sure you'd be hard-pressed to find someone as brave, accomplished, well-traveled, selfless, business savvy, boundary-pushing, and just generally awesome as Mary Seacole, a Jamaican nurse best-known for pushing her way onto the battlefields of the Crimean War. She fought Cholera with scientific rigour, and refused to let racism stand in the way of her passions. We think you'll end up loving her as much as we do!
- Great Jamaicans: Mary Seacole 1805-1881 (Jamaicans.com)
- Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands (A Celebration of Women Writers)
- Another Florence Nightingale? The Rediscovery of Mary Seacole (The Victorian Web)
- What can Florence and Mary teach us about nursing today? (Nursing Standard - video)
- Mary Seacole and Florence Nightingale (Hark! A Vagrant - cartoon)
Iris Apfel is a 94-year-old "geriatric starlet" who has been turning heads and minds for decades. With indomitable style and grace this rare bird proves the truth of the phrase "you do you" and inspires everyone who crosses her path in the worlds of design, fashion, and culture, from presidents to students to people on the street. Business maven, style icon, teacher, designer, irrepressible old dame: Iris is one of a kind!
- Style Icon Iris Apfel on Her Starring Role in a New Documentary (Vogue)
- 11 Inspiring Quotes from Fashion Icon Iris Apfel (Harper's Bazaar)
- Iris Apfel, Rare Bird (Interview Magazine)
- Iris Apfel, Fashion Darling. Aged 88. (The Guardian)
- Old World Weavers (The Peak of Chic)
- Iris, the documentary by Albert Maysles, can be found on Netflix Canada, as of this posting
It turns out that the bikini has a surprisingly long and atomic history; to trace the roots of this iconic bit of swimwear Heather and Dayna head back to ancient Rome and watch women's bathing costumes shrink through the 19th and 20th centuries. Just in time for beach season!
- The History of the Bikini (Elle)
- A Brief History of the Bikini (Slate)
- Beautiful, But (Sometimes) Horrible - A History of Women's Swimwear (Refinery29)
- The Bikini's Inventor Guessed How Much it would Horrify the Public (Smithsonian)
- The Fraught History of Princess Leia's Infamous Bikini (Washington Post)
- Jessica Rey: The Evolution of the Swimsuit (Q Ideas - video)