Just a little announcement this week, cause we're saving our energy for a CANADA DAY SPECTACULAR next Friday!! Celebrate the 150th anniversary of Dominion Day with us in true Yesterladies style on June 30th, and then we'll bid you adieu until the fall, when we'll return with brand new episodes. (We just feel we need to put all our energies into patriotic activities this summer...) See you next week!
Wonder Woman, aka Diana Prince, is having a bit of a moment right now, but she's been on the scene for a lot longer than you might think, fighting for the feminist cause since the day she sprang forth from the pen of noted psychologist, lie detector inventor, polygamist, and women's rights enthusiast William Moulton Marston. Originally hired by the head of DC Comics to make sure the new medium of comic books was psychologically healthy for America's kids, Marston ended up creating the most popular and well-known female superhero of all time, who in her storied career has run for president, launched Ms. Magazine, been a United Nations icon, and of course saved the world countless times. Great Hera!
Polyandry, the practice of one woman taking multiple husbands, has not been very common throughout human history, but anthropologists have recently discovered that it might be a little more common than previously thought! OK, that doesn't sound super exciting, we know, BUT the whys and wherefores of polyandry are actually pretty fascinating, and it turns out this particular style of marriage has cropped up throughout history, from ancient to modern times, around the world. Sometimes it just makes sense to marry more than one dude!
Nefertiti is one of Ancient Egypt's most famous queens, ruling beside the Pharaoh with unprecedented equality. She and her husband turned the country on its head by instituting a new, controversial religion, and literally uprooting the capitol city, while redefining art and culture. But her death and burial are shrouded in mystery, and not even 21st century science and tech have been able to solve the riddle of just where, exactly, her notorious mummy ended up...
The Filles du Roi ("Daughters of the King") were 800 intrepid young women, between the ages of 16 and 30, who left everything they knew behind in France to start a new life populating the colony of New France (Quebec), arriving in Canada between 1663 and 1673. They speed-dated their way to new husbands, and quickly got down to business, popping out enough babies to increase the colony's population by more than 150% in just a few years. Millions of North Americans now owe DNA to them, and we think they deserve more than a little applause for their bravery and strength of character. Bien joué, ladies!
The ancient Greeks might have come up with beauty contests (naturally), but modern America perfected them! An awful lot of stuff is crammed in to the history of the beauty pageant as we know it today: Atlantic City tourism, scholarships, segregation, Klingons, and yes, bikini glue. It's a controversial topic, but it's also awfully hard to resist the allure of a pageant queen!
- A Look Back at the Sexist, Racist History of Beauty Pageants (Racked)
- What's the History of Child Pageants? (Bustle)
- 10 Bizarre Beauty Pageants from the Past (Listverse)
- I Went to the Miss America Pageant and Had a Full-On Existential Crisis (Bustle)
- Miss America Pageant (John Oliver, Last Week Tonight) VIDEO
Amelia Earhart is certainly a well-known name, but you might not know as much as you think you do about this famous aviatrix! Did you know she nursed WWI soldiers in Toronto? That she was a social worker? A fashion designer? The aviation editor for Cosmopolitan magazine? There's so much to learn about this spunky role model for the liberated early 20th century woman, including the mysterious circumstances of her famous last flight and disappearance, and the ongoing search for the truth of what REALLY happened to Amelia on that fateful July day in 1937...
Constance Markievicz might have been born into aristocracy and privilege (and then married a Polish aristocrat...), but she had an unexpected burning passion for the plight of the Irish working class and the cause of Irish Nationalism. And that passion led her to load herself down with as many guns as she could find and take to the streets with her Republican comrades! It also led her to British Parliament, via a prison cell...
Rani Abbakka Chowta was a small-time feudal queen in 16th century India, which is already kind of cool, but she became a folklore hero for her incredible success resisting Portuguese colonial domination. Abbakka led troops to battle herself and fought at their side, built up her small port kingdom into an increasingly valuable spice trade hot spot, and inspired people of various religions and castes to come together to stand up for Indian independence and nationalism. And she irritated the heck out of the Portuguese!
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!