Women Being Awesome

There was an explosion from Tonker, but it was an explosion of tears. They came out accompanied by a long, mournful wail, as she threw herself onto the floor.
“We walked so-oo far! We lay in ditches to hide from soldiers! There’s no food! We want to work! You called us boys! Why are you so-oo cruel?”
Polly knelt down and half picked her up, patting her on the back as Tonker’s shoulders heaved with the force of her sobs.
“It’s been very hard for all of us,” she said to the red-faced captain.
“If you can take him down I can garrotte the other one with my apron string,” whispered Tonker in her ear, between howls.
— 

Monstrous Regiment - Terry Pratchett

TONKER

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I challenge anyone to watch this powerhouse of a female Irish dance routine and NOT face-grin all over the place! 

A welder at a boat-and-sub-building yard adjusts her goggles before resuming work, October, 1943.

By 1945, women comprised well over a third of the civilian labor force (in 1940, it was closer to a quarter) and millions of those jobs were filled in factories: building bombers, manufacturing munitions, welding, drilling and riveting for the war effort.

GO WATCH this Female-Centered Badass Beautiful Anime

I don’t even care if you watch anime or not, but if you’re craving a funny and smart series that puts women front and center WITHOUT overwhelming misogyny, sexism, or fanservice, then Bodacious Space Pirates is on your freaking list.

Yeah the title is bad (apparently the original novel was worse “Miniskirt Pirates”?!). That and the overload of pink, moe, and high school girls had me avoiding this series for a while. Well, I dunno who’s in charge of their marketing, but this anime blows those assumptions out of the water!! (pardon the pun) Here are some (mostly spoiler-free) reasons you should be watching:

Female Relationships are at the core of the story:

Teen Girls being competent AND diverse:

Badass Mom who works, nurtures her daughter, and cooks homemade meals:

Did I mention the mom/daughter duo usurped a male-dominated coming of age ritual via the shooting range? (PS- she teaches her kid about practicalities like recoil and does NOT phrase it as self-defense but as responsible power).

Male teacher does NOT perv on his all-girl students, but sighs at their horseplay:

A Canon Queer Relationship is the only visible romance (though there is plenty of soft subtext between many of the girls)

Clever use of Historical Realism by organizing pirates through Letters of Marque.

 

Actual goddamn science-fiction with FTL drives, electronic warfare, and propulsion systems.

TL;DR- YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING BODACIOUS SPACE PIRATES.

(link to streaming episodes: http://www.crunchyroll.com/bodacious-space-pirates)

Okay, HEADCANON

Darcy speaks Sokovian.

Maybe her grandfather used to tell her stories in his native tongue when she went over to his house after school. Maybe her mother’s family fled eastern Europe right before the fighting started and her parents were progressive and intelligent enough to realize the benefits of raising their child(ren) bilingual. Maybe *she* escaped with her family after the war had been going on for a year or so, and on her college applications she doesn’t write “English” for “What is the language most commonly spoken in your home?”.

So when she crosses paths with Wanda one day, the first thing she says is “I’m sorry for your loss” in their shared language. And Scarlet Witch, homesick and heartsick, finds it easier to fall into a friendship with someone in this strange new land than she was expecting. Darcy bakes Wanda Sokovian cakes and Wanda helps Darcy brush up on her Russian and Serbian (required classes in Sokovian schools).

And the rest of the Avengers have no idea that Wanda is making friends. They assume she’s moving on from her brother’s death in her own way, on her own time, so they’re all surprised to find a strange girl in her PJs running out to meet the quintet after one hellish mission who’s worried about their newest team member. Clint barely remembers the scientist’s assistant from the New Mexico project, and nobody else has ever taken notice of her before. But she offers them all some of the Sokovian shortbread she’s made for Wanda–and when they refuse, suspicious of her motives, she shrugs and walks her best friend back to her apartment for hot cocoa, talking softly in Sokovian all the while.

(This drives Natasha nuts.)

WACs at Camp Shanks, New York in Feb 1945 shortly before being shipped out to Europe. They would be the first all-black WAC unit to go overseas to aid in the war effort.


From left to right are, kneeling: Pvt. Rose Stone; Pvt. Virginia Blake; and Pfc. Marie B. Gillisspie. Second row: Pvt. Genevieve Marshall; T/5 Fanny L. Talbert; and Cpl. Callie K. Smith. Third row: Pvt. Gladys Schuster Carter; T/4 Evelyn C. Martin; and Pfc. Theodora Palmer.

holocaust-history.org
Gisella Perl: Angel and Abortionist in the Auschwitz Death Camp

“Gisella Perl was Romanian and Jewish. She was a gynaecologist at a time and place where very few women went into the medical professions. In 1944, she and her entire family were shipped off to Auschwitz, where Perl was instructed to provide medical care for her fellow inmates — medical care that was supposed to happen without even the most basic medical supplies.

In this position, she was officially employed by Josef Mengele, and she saw what happened to women who entered Auschwitz while pregnant. The short answer was death. The long answer was that those deaths were often horrifying and drawn-out. So Gisella Perl gave herself a new job — protecting women by helping them hide evidence of pregnancy and by performing abortions with her bare hands.

I’d never heard Perl’s story before. It’s heartbreaking. And it’s riveting. The Holocaust History Project has a long and well-cited version.” - Maggie Koerth-Baker, via BoingBoing

Vera Atkins (real name Vera-May Rosenberg) was recruited by the spymaster known as Intrepid—Canadian business man William Stephesen—at the age of twenty-three and before the outbreak of World War II found herself fighting along side American, Canadian and British civilians to derail the dangers of the Third Reich. By the mid-1930s she was already an experienced spy, currying and sending information to both President Roosevelt and Churchill.

When the Second World War finally broke out in Europe, Atkins had secured herself a high ranking position in Churchill’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) and became Great Britain’s greatest female agent of the war. However, despite her position of power she remained a civilian, not becoming commissioned officer until 1944 in WAAF.

Atkins’ job was to select and train the female field agents to jump into enemy occupied countries. She trained her agents who in turn jumped deep into enemy territory to aid Resistance, destroy vital targets, help Allied pilots evade capture and radio information back to London. Her agents were said to be the most prepared and dedicated of those trained by the SOE and were “prepared to die to liberate Europe from the Nazis”; in many cases her agents did.

Although decommissioned in 1947, her work didn’t stop. She went to Germany on her own to try and discover the fates of her agents that had disappeared behind enemy lines. She investigated all 118 losses of the F section successfully, save for one, whose fate she could never find.

She largely shied away from speaking about her wartime efforts; “Vera chose obscurity…Men didn’t like the idea of a spymisstress.” In fact, she was noted for ‘outfoxing’ many about her service who would later lead extensive careers from the OSS to CIA, and SOE to MI5. Many would not know of her work until she spoke of it herself, a skill that came in common when she began working during the Cold War. She was known for disappearing and reappearing months at a time without a word.

Ian Fleming, the man who would create James Bond, hailed Atkins as “the boss [in the real world of spies]” and purportedly based the character of Miss Moneypenny off her. On countless occasions, he cited Atkins for reminding him that “Bond and blunt instruments were the weapons of the weak.”

Vera Atkins died at the age of 92 in a nursing home located in Hasting on 24 June 2000.

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Independent Woman Part I: Rosie the Riveter

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During WWII, millions of “independent women” contributed to the war effort in many different ways. In 1940, about 12 million women were in the workforce. By 1945, over 19 million were employed. In addition to the new women entering the workforce, there was a shift in the type of work being performed by those women who had already been in the workforce prior to the war. Women left lower paying jobs such as waitressing or domestic work for higher paying factory jobs, which could mean an average increase of up to 40% in salary. In addition to all of the women working in defense jobs, over 350,000 American women served in uniform, paving the way on a totally different front.

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One of the most recognizable representations of a woman from WWII is J. Howard Miller’s poster girl, known popularly as Rosie the Riveter. During WWII, Rosie the Riveter was joined by her sisters, Wendy the Welder, Bertha the Burner, Jenny on the Job and Ronnie the Bren Gun Girl. But Rosie, conceived as a propaganda pin-up, has crossed generations to stand as a sometimes contested symbol for female empowerment. The concept and icon of “Rosie the Riveter,” continues to be adapted and used as a symbol for power and a testament to the spirit of the American woman.

The evolution of the Rosie icon is complex. There are several iterations of what is known popularly as “Rosie the Riveter.” Technically, the icon stems from the 1942 hit song by the same name written by Evans and Loeb. This inspired artist Norman Rockwell’s painting, Rosie the Riveter, debuted on the cover of the 1943 Memorial Day issue of the Saturday Evening Post. Rockwell’s Rosie means business and is a true multi-tasker, balancing a rivet gun in her lap, eating a sandwich, and nonchalantly stepping on a copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. The “Rosie” cover was one of Rockwell’s most popular and the original painting sold at Sotheby’s in 2002 for nearly $5 million.

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J. Howard Miller’s depiction of a female worker from February 1943 presents a more glamorized image than Rockwell’s. She wears a red bandana, denim work shirt, flexes a bicep and is quoted, “We Can Do It!” Her message emphasizes the collective (“We”) rather than the individual (“I”) necessary for achieving victory. The poster was commissioned by the Westinghouse Corporation for a campaign to spur production among women workers. Miller’s poster, and the campaign, was designed to run for two weeks throughout Westinghouse factories.

Miller’s image has outlived its two weeks by more than seventy years. It has endured and evolved with cultural shifts. Like other iconic propaganda works—the British “Keep Calm and Carry On,” and Uncle Sam’s “I Want You,” “Rosie” has been adapted and adopted by many disparate causes and campaigns. See the tremendous popularity of any of these posters by a simple search on the internet; anyone can make their own version of it, even on our own site! Rosie’s message serves as a blank canvas which is often employed to convey rallying cries of all stripes. Rosie’s red bandana has been sported by Marge Simpson, Sarah Palin, Princess Leia, Wonder Woman, Kelly Rowland, and most recently by Beyoncé during a visit to The National WWII Museum.

The photo-op captured by the famous “independent woman” at the Museum (which so far has received 1.15 million likes on Instagram) is an activity that any visitor to the Museum can engage in. “Become a Propaganda Poster” features not only the “We Can Do It!” poster, but also the rationing campaign poster “Do with Less so They’ll Have Enough” for which visitors can don a steel-pot helmet and raise a canteen cup. Beyond the dress-up, the Museum has extensive artifacts and oral histories from “real” Rosies and we are committed to telling their stories.

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We collected one such story as an oral history last month. In 1942, Mildred Aupied was a twenty-year-old secretary for the phone company when she heard a call for women welders. She jumped at the chance to attend welding school and within two months, she and 24 other women immediately began welding Liberty Ships at Delta Shipbuilding Company in New Orleans. In her interview, she stressed her pride at having learned and mastered a new and challenging trade. The women at Delta Shipbuilding relished the opportunity, the pay, and the camaraderie. In addition, all of this hard work was to benefit their country during a time of tremendous labor shortage and need.

Women played important roles in WWII, motivated by both patriotism and paychecks. The fight for equality was one that would continue postwar into the present day. Learn more about American Women in WWII on the Home Front and Beyond. See other Museum posts tagged with Rosie.

Post by Curator Kim Guise and Virtual Classroom Coordinator Chrissy Gregg

Now that our Top 10 fandoms list is up, some insight from the Daily Dot newsroom
  • Rae:new Daily Dot rule, Feminism is now #1 on every list
  • Aja:Best cats of 2014: 1. Feminism
  • Taylor:Best smartphones of 2014: 1. Feminism
  • Rae:I could probably work it in to a gift guide too.
  • Rae:Things to buy an aspiring YouTuber: 1. Feminism
  • Rae:IT ACTUALLY WORKS
  • Taylor:Best YouTubers of 2014 1. Feminism
  • Aja:Best E-sport tournaments of 2014: 1. Feminism
  • Selena:Best tweets of 2014: 1. Feminism
  • Aja:Best feminists of 2014: 1. Feminism
  • Rae:Best sex toy of 2014: 1. Feminism
  • Selena:Best iOS app of 2014: 1. Feminism
  • Selena:i like this plan
  • Gavia:let's do this, and then a list of lists: top ten feminisms of 2014.
  • Ramon:If anyone has BBQ in Austin over the next 6-8 months I can tell you that Central Texas has a new no. 1 overall after two trips and it's La Barbecue and it exists in this beautiful moment where lines are manageable on weekdays. It's better than Franklin, anything in Lockhart, anything in Taylor, and Snow's in Lexington.
  • Aja:i think you mean the #1 barbecue in Austin is Feminism
  • Ramon:oh you're right sorry for the oversight
  • Aja:very good