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


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.

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.

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.


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


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

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.

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


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 quinjet 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.)