Beauty Pageants: A History of Poise, Charm, and Spray Adhesive

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!

Amelia Earhart: Feminism Flies High!

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: Irish Firebrand!!

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: A Real Warrior Queen!

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!

"Big Bertha" Heyman: Queen of the Con

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! 

The Sultanate of Women: A Harem Like Never Before!

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! 

Beatrix Potter: Of Mice and Mushrooms

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? 

Henrietta Lacks and Her Posthumous Gift to Us All

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: About as Inspirational as You Can Get!!

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! 

Interrupted Service...But We'll be Back Soon! (Plus bonus shameless plug!)

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! 

Halloween Special: Lady Killers!!!

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!

Madame de Pompadour: A Mistress to Top Them All!!

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: Iconic Canadian Chronicler!

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!

The Secret History of Underwear!!

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.)

The Salem Witch Trials: Still Insane, After All These Years!

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!

Makeup: A COLOURFUL History!!

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...

Sacagawea: Teenage Adventurer!!

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!