Greetings fellow ComixBawses!
As many of you may know International Women’s Day (IWD) recently passed on March 8, 2018 and it was a pretty big day. Even though the day passed it’s still March, which is Women’s History Month. So, even if you didn’t do something to specifically celebrate the day you at least have the rest of the month (all year really) to show your love for women. IWD was a day that made millions of women—including myself—feel valued, heard, and supported. IWD has been observed in some form beginning in the 1900s. Initially, it was recognized only in the United States and it was called National Women’s Day (NWD). This was in the year 1909. In 1910 a major conference called The International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen, Denmark and a woman by the name of Clara Zetkin threw out the idea: hey, why don’t we make this women’s day a global thang? Long story short, everyone agreed and IWD was born! Yay! The purpose of IWD according to their website is:
International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
Just so you know, gender parity is a way for people to measure just how unequal women and men are. For example, women make about 80 cents for every dollar that a man makes. Or, there’s a greater number of men who are hired for tech jobs versus the number of women that are hired for those same jobs. This is a really simplified definition, but that’s the gist I got from what I read about it. Of course there are other factors that go into this measurement like age, ethnicity, educational background etc. So, there’s no one number than can tell us everything about inequality, but it can tell us when have an issue that needs to be checked out.
Now, about this awesome book called Bygone Badass Broads: 52 Women Who Changed the World. It was absolutely positutely FAB!!!! I will say that this book is more like an encyclopedia so you can kind of jump around in it if you’d like. I chose to go in order because I didn’t want to use track of what I read. This book consists of short stories on each of the 52 women it honors and if you do choose to skip around, it’s not like you’ll be lost because it isn’t a cohesive story. It does go in order by years (or approximate years) in which each woman lived. So, basically this book is a huge badass timeline!
MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BADASS BOOK!
I was working a shift in Barnes and Noble and this book happened to catch my eye . . . because of all the pretty colors and the awesome title. (I love anything with the word badass in it). This book was laying on the Women’s History Month table and I couldn’t keep my hands from snatching it up. I honestly would have bought the book even if I thought the content was shitty, just so I could look at it forever. I really liked the girly, feminine colors that were used on the cover and they blended together seamlessly—it really grabbed my attention! It’s written by a woman named Mackenzi Lee (illustrated by Petra Erickson) who wanted to highlight many women that seem to get excluded from most history lessons. Prior to reading this book, I had only heard of two of the names from this book—Hatshepsut and Sarah Breedlove (aka Madam C.J. Walker) and in my opinion . . . 2 out of 52 ain’t good! So, I’m happy that I’m in the process of learning about these commonly unheard of women of all races and ages that left marks on the world.
Anyway, moving away from my obsession with book covers, let me tell you a little about the setup of the book. The book begins with a preface by the author herself and then dives right in to the first #BygoneBadassBroad. Hmm . . . why did I use a hashtag you ask? Great question! This book is based off of the Twitter series of the same name! Lee realized that so many people loved her series that she decided to turn it into a book. Many thanks to her. Each broad has around two to three pages that provide details about her contributions to society and details about what makes her so badass. Each little snippet also has a wonderful illustration to accompany it. The illustrations are truly wonderful and everything in this book just honestly works so well together. Lastly, the last few pages are a bibliography. This may not sound so important, but it is because this is nonfiction. I’m glad to know that the author used reputable sources to get the most accurate information possible. Thumbs up!
WHO ARE THE 52 BADASS BROADS INCLUDED IN THIS BOOK?
(Yes. I’m going to include them all)
- Empress Xi Ling Shi: the inventor of silk
- Hatshepsut: the first female pharaoh of Egypt
- Agnodice: a woman who disguised herself as man so she could practice gynecology
- Trưng Trắc & Trưng Nhị: helped to liberate Vietnam
- Queen Arawelo: a queen who fought for gender equality
- Fatima Al-Fihri: established the University of Al Qaraouyine
- Murasaki Shikibu: wrote The Tale of Genji which is regarded as the first modern novel
- Khutulun: a Mongolian wrestling champion
- Sayyida Al-Hurra: a Mediterranean pirate
- Mochizuki Chiyome: a ninja trainer
- Dona Ana Lezama de Urinza & Dona Eustaquia de Sonza: vigilante duo
- Lady Margaret Cavendish: a sci-fi writer
- King Christina of Sweden: ruler of Sweden who didn’t conform to gender roles
- Julie d’Aubigny: a bisexual swordswoman who sang opera
- Sybilla Masters: until 1793 she was the only woman who had a patented invention
- Sybil Ludington: she assembled a militia during the Revolutionary War
- Anne Lister: one of the first lesbians to detail her exploits in numerous diaries in a code language that she invented
- Ching Shih: one of the most successful Chinese pirates in history
- Mary Anning: a fossil collector who contributed to the field of paleontology
- Mary Seacole: a Jamaican nurse on the Crimean War battlefield
- Friederike “Marm” Mandelbaum: She created a school for aspiring criminals. She liked helping woman the most so they wouldn’t have to suffer as housewives.
- Lakshmibai, The Rani of Jhansi: she fought to stop colonialism in India. In battle she always went with her son strapped to her back
- Stagecoach Mary Fields: a woman with a love for guns who fought off anyone who stood in her way, but also had a restaurant and gave free meals for those in need.
- Isabella Stewart Gardner: she collected numerous artworks from her travels and displayed them in a large palace like museum . . . which was also her house
- Emily Warren Roebling: the main engineer in the creation of the Brooklyn bridge
- Buffalo Calf Road Woman: A Native American woman who was a hero in the Battle of the Big Horn
- Mary Bowser & Bet Van Lew: a duo who acted as spies in the Civil War
- Marie Duval: created one of England’s most popular cartoons Ally Sloper, which her husband was given credit for at the time *eye roll*
- Fannie Farmer: wrote the first cookbook that used standardized measurements
- Juliette Gordon Low: founder of the Girl Scouts
- Annie Jump Cannon: she studied physics and the constellations and came up with a better way to classify stars
- Clelia Duel Mosher: a doctor who crushed stereotypes about the physical inferiority of men. She believed that women were frailer because of those darn corsets!
- Sarah Breedlove (aka Madam C.J. Walker): African-American hairstylist who created an empire
- Edith Garrod: she opened a jiujitsu school for suffragettes so they could fight off men who were violent towards them
- Emmy Noether: an important woman in physics who developed Noether’s Theorem
- Alice Ball: a black chemist who found the cure for leprosy
- Dorothy Arzner: a female director who made numerous feminist films
- Nwanyeruwa: led the Igbo Women’s War in order to protest taxation
- Rukmini Devi Trundle: she helped to revive classical Indian dance styles
- Mariya Oktyabrskaya: a Russian woman who built a tank and went to battle on the frontline against the Germans who invaded her homeland
- Irena Sendler: she worked for the Social Welfare Department and saved Jewish children and their families from forced relocation into Jewish ghettos
- Ursula Nordstrom: she was a successful children’s book editor who published books such as: Where The Wild Things Are and Charlotte’s Web
- Elvira de la Fuente Chaudoir: a hot bisexual Peruvian woman who became a spy in the British secret service
- Jackie Mitchell: a left-handed baseball pitcher
- Noor Inayat Khan: an Indian princess spy who acted as a link between the British and the French
- Fanny Blankers-Koen: an Olympic gold-medalist runner
- Kumander Liwayway: a woman who joined the military to fight against Japan. Before her battles she always dolled up and wore red lipstick!
- Azucena Villaflor: she protested the Argentinian government. Her goal was to bring back those that were being kidnapped/killed during Argentina’s Dirty War.
- Angela Morley: a transwoman composer who created some of the most well-known musical scores. She worked on films like: The Karate Kid, Superman, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame II
- Maria Tallchief: America’s first prima ballerina. Most ballerina’s couldn’t make it unless they had a Russian last name, but she stayed true to her Native American heritage by keeping her own name
- The Mirabal Sisters: four sisters who condemned dictatorship in the Dominican Republic
- Lorraine Hansberry: African American playwright who penned A Raisin in the Sun. She was the first Black playwright and youngest American to win a New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award
Overall, I give this book a rating of:
I really enjoyed this book because it was so inspiring. It was a true page-turner and it left me breathless. I would get emotional reading about the bravery and intellect of these women. It made me prouder than ever to be a woman!
I certainly recommend this read!
Featured Image: Courtesy of Abrams Image | Top Row [Left to Right]: Sarah Breedlove, Kumander Liwayway, Isabella Stewart Gardner, Murasaki Shikibu, Juliette Gordon Low, Angela Morley | Bottom Row [Left to Right]: Empress Xi Ling Shi, Sybilla Masters, Lorraine Hansberry, Stagecoach Mary Fields, King Christina of Sweden, Anne Lister