I’m INFP and I’ve always despised my lack of practicality and always idealized myself as someone strong living in the moment. I’m tired of living in the fake world of fantasies, I want to venture into the now and adapt my body and let my mind focused on the now. Do you guys know of some kind of type change?
Dude, if you could change your type, I’d be an NTJ by now.
First, there is nothing wrong with being an INFP.
INFPs have special gifts that no other type has: they have the ability to see the best in other people, to set a strong moral example, they often have astounding levels of sheer imagination, creativity, and talent in a wide variety of areas. Fi channels Ne into amazing bouts of self-expression and clarity few other types have.
Some of the most innovative, creative individuals on the planet are INFPs. Offhand, three famous INFP filmmakers are George Lucas (Star Wars), Tim Burton (literally my idol and maker of many of my favorite films), and Woody Allen (think what you will of his personal choices, his films are award-winning). You might also be able to include Neil Gaiman (he’s NFP, I’m just not such which leads with him – Ne or Fi).
Being impractical simply means you need better Te development. Focus on actualizing your ideas and goals, and staying in touch with what is possible. You can read plenty of books on organizational skills, rational debating, and a wide variety of topics that will ground you in psychology and ‘real life.’
As a Ne, you are living in the moment, it’s just that you are also looking ahead and behind, so you are more focused on the potentials than the objects around you. You can develop lower Si and learn to be more ‘present’ and engaged with the object, in order to enjoy the moment more. Focus on learning what you like / do not like in the sensory world. Explore. It can be as simple as taking the time to really look at the outside world, in detail. How many stars does a flower have in its center? What color is the under-wing on a butterfly?
You can become more rational, grounded, or present, by making an effort to both be more rational, grounded, and present, and thinking in grounded, rational, and present terms. Act like you are present. You will become present. Not in the way an ISFP would be, but you don’t need to become an ISFP to be present, rational, grounded, or connected to the outer world.
So I study film in school and the department is like 70% boys and in my Casevettes class specifically there are only two girls including me. Today in that class we watched a movie called Rosetta by the Dardenne brothers (which is 10/10 would recommend) and it’s about a 17 year old poverty level girl and how she takes care of her mom and her relationship with this dude and throughout the whole thing she has these “mysterious” stomach pains which she takes pain meds for and is always grabbing her power stomach in pain and uses a blow dryer as a sort of heating pad.
Now pretty much every girl on the planet would know exactly what those symptoms are without ever seeing any of the movie. That being said this one kid in my class, Zach was all “What was that stomach pain about???” and my teacher Paul (who is a total silver fox btw) starts going on this long rant about how it’s a reference to another super famous filmmaker named Robert Bresson who has a character in one of his films get “mysterious” stomach pain and how it’s supposed to be an ambiguous nod to him and his career/movie.
At this point the girl and I both just start laughing because boys can be so stupid and we couldn’t help it. So Paul goes “What’s so funny about that?” and I reply “Paul, she was on her period. She had cramps.” and so all the boys go Dead Silent and Paul says “What? How could you possibly know that?” and the other girl goes “It’s just obvious!” and Zach butts in and is all “How?!” and so we look at each other and start trying to explain to a room full of men (who have apparently never experience even a singular woman on their period) what it’s like and they all got SO uncomfortable and SO red in the face like they wanted to be anywhere but there so we just kept going to prolong their pain.
THEN Paul tries to argue with us some more like “You can’t possibly know that for sure, they don’t talk about it so you can’t know.” And at the same exact time we just go “Oh, we know.” And then out of nowhere this foreign exchange student from Belgium in the back who has never uttered a single sound in the entire 13 weeks of class just starts CRACKING up, tears streaming down in face any everything, he just gets up with all his stuff and leaves the room laughing hysterically and muttering in french under his breath.
Moral of the story, foreign exchange students will always surprise you.
So I just got out of watching Kingsman: The Secret Service and I was reminded of a problem in Hollywood that I’ve had for a long time and I’m going to say it now:
Action films fucking SUCK.
Remember the days of like Transporter? Where the name “Jason Statham” could get you in theaters just like that (imagine I just snapped my fingers)? Nowadays, you see that Statham has a new film and you sort of roll your eyes because Parker looks so incredibly…average.
The Hollywood scene has saturated the action film market and action films along the veins of Transporter that would have ordinarily bombarded the market, just wind up going straight to DVD or on Netflix. SERIOUSLY, go to the action section in Netflix and you will see a TON of action films released in the past 5 years that you’ve NEVER heard of before with famous actors.
So when filmmakers or actors/actresses receive critical appraise or wide positive response, it’s usually because they’re pushing not just the boundaries of Hollywood filmmaking of shitty shakycam and editing, but also the boundaries of choreography.
This is a list of examples of people who have excelled the traditional Hollywood style action scenes. Mind you, this is not a list about action heroes or heroines but only those who have really showcased some crazy innovative work. We’re also keeping this to Hollywood productions as opposed to international hits like The Raid. Since there’s a lot of examples I’ll try to keep descriptions brief (unless I’m super passionate about a particular example).
1. Antje Traue as Faora Ul in Man of Steel (2013)
Many people have mixed feelings towards Man of Steel. But regardless of whatever side of the coin they’re on, everyone walked out of that theater talking about the scene where Faora took on the military soldiers. It’s perhaps the most talked about scene in the film, and a lot of Superman fans or comic book fans in general talk about how this was the scene where they FINALLY nailed not just Kryptonian/Superman’s powers, but the problem with super strength and speed in general (the problem being, how do you make a fight entertaining when someone can move really fast and beat everyone with one punch). The answer? Faora’s fight scene. Yes, in a film about Superman, neither he nor the main villain is attributed to having the coolest scene. She’s evil, wants to kill all humans–but man it’s hard to not like her in that sequence. And it’s quite tragic that her scenes are better CGI than the very obviously fake Superman and Zodd.
2. Emily Blunt as Rita Vrataski in Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
You’ve probably seen Edge of Tomorrow aka Live Die Repeat aka All You Need Is Kill on every “2014’s most underrated movies” list. And you best believe those lists are right because aside from the film being a truly awesome piece of sci-fi action (I call it the Starcraft film we always wanted), Emily Blunt shines as the war hero Rita Vrataski. During the extended montage sequence of the looping battles she endures, there are quite some incredible action sequences, specifically one of her lunging at an alien with her giant sword. Though the focus is Tom Cruise’s character and his evolution, he just goes around shooting things while she LUNGES AT ALIENS WITH A SWORD.
3. Sharni Vinson as Erin in You’re Next (2011/2013)
I feel like I’m getting more obscure but things will pick up, I promise. But this is a very crucial addition to the list as Sharni Vinson stars in You’re Next, a horror thriller film that’s not really a horror thriller film. DO NOT READ FURTHER, PLOT SPOILERS AHEAD.
Instead, the film takes the typical “home invasion” thriller genre and turns it on its head. Instead of a woman scared and constantly cowering in fear, Erin surprisingly, and very easily fights off and kills the many intruders. The innovation is not so much in the choreography here but in the execution of the idea. There are a few horror films where they have the protagonists “fight back” but never this way.
4. Zoe Saldana in Literally Everything
This one is interesting, because Zoe has not exactly starred in any innovative choreography, or innovative storytelling for action. In fact, Zoe’s fight scenes tend to be “very Hollywood” and the plot of her films range from “stale” to “alright this is entertaining enough” and yet she’s on this list because she’s probably the only lady doing this. The action film genre has long been a boy’s club and while some women have done a few action films, Zoe Saldana is probably the only woman who is a genuine action star known for her action fight work, and is very famous for it. Colombiana didn’t do much to help her career since the film itself was not a cult or critical hit. It just sort of came and went. But with the massive success of Guardians of the Galaxy (despite having few action scenes even though she’s one of the most dangerous assassins) hopefully this will pave the path for more Saldana-led action films.
5. Most of the main cast in Sucker Punch (2011)
First off, this film was absolutely terrible. The ratings for it skirt around 20 ~ 30% and rightfully so. Sucker Punch was a terrible film but it was visually stunning and the action choreography was out of this world cool.
In fact, this film was directed by Zack Snyder, who also directed Man of Steel, which means he was responsible for that awesome Faora fight mentioned earlier. So Sucker Punch is a terrible film, so why is it here? Because it’s probably got some of the best action sequences I’ve seen in cinema to date. My favorite is the train robot scene. If you watch closely, there is not a single cut. Obviously, filmmakers cheat thanks to CGI, but from a narrative and viewer standpoint, there is not a single cut, making this a long one shot, which is PRETTY god damn cool. The entire film is like this, with cool innovative, non-Hollwood esque choreography, and a lot of stylized work. Honestly, it was probably just one long sizzle reel to get Man of Steel.
6. Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit Girl in Kick-Ass (2010)
You, or someone you knew, did not shut up about this fucking film when it first came out. Rightfully so. Director Matthew Vaughn’s work in Kick-Ass was amazing, making even Nicolas Cage seem really cool again even though he was wearing a knock-off Batman mask. But it’s star? Hit Girl. The foul mouthed little child concept, and the unbelievable speed, precision and hyper violent brutality of her fighting style…this character made this film a rousing success and by itself launched Chloe Grace Moretz’s career. The action choreography in this film has still been unmatched until very recently…
7. Keanu Reeves as John Wick in John Wick (2014)
Keanu hasn’t really had a big hit since the Matrix films. That was until John Wick came along. Now I’m not saying it launched him back into that same A-List celebrity status, but he had produced a lot of flops since the Matrix, 47 Ronin being a notable recent failure, but John Wick was accepted and beloved by many. Why? The action.
John Wick pushed the innovation on action to a whole new level: Precision, tight, and clean. People lost their minds watching this film because of its use of gun-fu/gunkata, a form of gunplay that is so artfully and masterfully used that it is compared to that kungfu or japanese swordsmanship. The shots were unbelievably clean, no shakycam, and you knew what the hell was going on. It ditched the Hollywood premise of a massive shootout and instead, nearly 99% of all shots fired by John hit or killed his target. Up until now if you haven’t yet understood what I mean by “innovative action sequences” watch the infamous“nightclub scene” that sums up the brutality and precision of his skills throughout the entire film and how it separates itself from “Hollywood shootouts”. By the way? KEANU REEVES IS FUCKING FIFTY. AND HE DID A MAJORITY OF THAT PHYSICAL STUNT WORK HIMSELF.
8. Colin Firth as Galahad in Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)
Church scene. That is all. (*Fun fact: They did the entire scene in ONE take. No camera or CGI tricks.)
9. Sofia Boutella as Gazelle in Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)
I’ll be brief about Kingsman since the film is incredibly fresh and new and I want people to actually go and experience this at the cinemas: Gazelle is the “right hand”/“lieutenant” character of the main villain of the film (Samuel L Jackson). Similar to Faora, Gazelle left a big impression on viewers as she is a killer with two prosthetic (metal I think?) legs that also can bring out a long sharp thing that pretty much turns her legs into dual swords. And she is fucking GRACEFUL with her murder. Because her weapon of choice involves her feet, there’s a lot of fancy footwork and gymnast/ballet like movement to her fight choreography. Of course, Matthew Vaughn from Kick-Ass was also behind this film and is responsible for her and Colin Firth’s Galahad’s amazing fight sequences. I really want to talk more about her but she is absolutely amazing and if you ever want to see a woman kick some real ass, this film is right on the money.
10. Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in All Marvel Films She’s In
Since her appearance in Iron Man 2, Scarlett Johansson has been wow'ing us as Black Widow with her acrobatics, truly assassin like take downs. Marvel has always pushed the envelope on its action sequences, and Winter Soldier definitely stepped it up for Cap and Widow. Though she had considerably less fight scenes since it is CAP’s film. But anyone who’s seen her fight will tell you, she definitely brings something new and fresh to the table when it comes to hand to hand combat and she could really pave the way for studios to entrust more women with high octane action films, as opposed to just young adult dystopian future action films like The Hunger Games. If only Marvel would consider doing that solo or Hawkeye teamup film…
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So what was the point of this whole list? Well, honestly, you have to watch all these films and these scenes (in the context of the films) to truly appreciate and understand what I’m trying to get at. These actors, directors and unnamed stunt coordinators are doing something truly different with the genre of the action film and I think we really need to be pursuing this route as filmmakers.
I really think those who managed to get through this long ass post should truly go check out Kingsman: The Secret Service as it is not just an homage to fun spy films but also a great look into what could be the very next step in high octane action fight scenes.
International Women’s Day: My List of Iconic Women Throughout History
Anne Boleyn (c. 1501-19 May 1536) - Queen of England, second wife of King Henry the VII, Marquess of Pembroke
To us she appears inconsistent—religious yet aggressive, calculating yet emotional, with the light touch of the courtier yet the strong grip of the politician—but is this what she was, or merely what we strain to see through the opacity of the evidence? As for her inner life, short of a miraculous cache of new material, we shall never really know. Yet what does come to us across the centuries is the impression of a person who is strangely appealing to the early 21st century: A woman in her own right—taken on her own terms in a man’s world; a woman who mobilised her education, her style and her presence to outweigh the disadvantages of her sex; of only moderate good looks, but taking a court and a king by storm. Perhaps, in the end, it is Thomas Cromwell’s assessment that comes nearest: intelligence, spirit and courage. -Biographer Eric Ives
Was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of King Henry VIII, and Marquess of Pembroke in her own right. Henry’s marriage to Anne, and her subsequent execution by beheading, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the start of the English Reformation. Anne was the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard, and was educated in the Netherlands and France, largely as a maid of honour to Claude of France. She returned to England in early 1522, to marry her Irish cousin James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond; the marriage plans were broken up by Cardinal Wolsey, and instead she secured a post at court as maid of honour to Henry VIII’s wife, Catherine of Aragon.
Early in 1523 Anne was secretly betrothed to Henry Percy, son of the 5th Earl of Northumberland. In January 1524, Cardinal Wolsey broke the betrothal, Anne was sent back home to Hever Castle, and Percy was married to Lady Mary Talbot, to whom he had been betrothed since adolescence. In February/March 1526, Henry VIII began his pursuit of Anne. She resisted his attempts to seduce her, refusing to become his mistress – which her sister Mary had been. It soon became the one absorbing object of Henry’s desires to annul his marriage to Queen Catherine so he would be free to marry Anne. When it became clear that Pope Clement VII would not annul the marriage, the breaking of the power of the Catholic Church in England began. In 1532, Henry granted Anne the Marquessate of Pembroke.
Henry and Anne married on 25 January 1533, after a secret marriage November 14, 1532. On 23 May 1533, Thomas Cranmer declared Henry and Catherine’s marriage null and void; five days later, he declared Henry and Anne’s marriage valid. Shortly afterwards, the Pope decreed sentences of excommunication against Henry and Cranmer. As a result of this marriage and these excommunications, the first break between the Church of England and Rome took place and the Church of England was brought under the King’s control. Anne was crowned Queen of England on 1 June 1533. On 7 September, she gave birth to the future Queen Elizabeth I. Henry was disappointed to have a daughter rather than a son but hoped a son would follow and professed to love Elizabeth. Anne subsequently had three miscarriages, and by March 1536, Henry was courting Jane Seymour.
Henry had Anne investigated for high treason in April 1536. On 2 May she was arrested and sent to the Tower of London, where she was tried before a jury of peers – which included Henry Percy, her former betrothed, and her own uncle, Thomas Howard – and found guilty on 15 May. She was beheaded four days later. Modern historians view the charges against her, which included adultery,incest, and plotting to kill the king, as unconvincing. Some say that Anne was accused of witchcraft but the indictments make no mention of this charge. Following the coronation of her daughter Elizabeth as queen, Anne was venerated as a martyr and heroine of the English Reformation, particularly through the works of John Foxe. Over the centuries, she has inspired or been mentioned in numerous artistic and cultural works. As a result, she has retained her hold on the popular imagination. Anne has been called “the most influential and important queen consort England has ever had”, since she provided the occasion for Henry VIII to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, and declare his independence from Rome.
Joan of Arc (6 January 1412-30 May 1431)
Considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years’ War, and was canonized as a Roman Catholic saint. Joan of Arc was born to Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle, a peasant family, at Domrémy in north-east France. Joan said she received visions of the Archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years’ War. The uncrowned King Charles VII sent Joan to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence after the siege was lifted only nine days later. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII’s coronation at Reims. This long-awaited event boosted French morale and paved the way for the final French victory.
On 23 May 1430, she was captured at Compiègne by the Burgundian faction which was allied with the English. She was later handed over to the English, and then put on trial by the pro-English Bishop of Beauvais Pierre Cauchon on a variety of charges. After Cauchon declared her guilty she was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431, dying at about nineteen years of age.
Twenty-five years after her execution, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, debunked the charges against her, pronounced her innocent, and declared her a martyr. In the 16th century she became a symbol of the Catholic League, and in 1803 she was declared a national symbol of France by the decision of Napoleon Bonaparte. She was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. Joan of Arc is one of the nine secondary patron saints of France, along with St. Denis, St. Martin of Tours, St. Louis, St. Michael, St. Remi, St. Petronilla, St. Radegund and St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
Joan of Arc has remained a popular figure in literature, painting, sculpture, and other cultural works since the time of her death, and many famous writers, filmmakers and composers have created works about her. Cultural depictions of her have continued in films, theater, television, video games, music, and performances to this day.
Was the wife of John Adams and the mother of John Quincy Adams. She is now designated the first Second Lady and second First Lady of the United States, although these titles were not in use at the time.
Adams’s life is one of the most documented of the first ladies: she is remembered for the many letters she wrote to her husband while he stayed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during the Continental Congresses. John frequently sought the advice of Abigail on many matters, and their letters are filled with intellectual discussions on government and politics. The letters serve as eyewitness accounts of the American Revolutionary War home front.
When John was elected President of the United States, Abigail continued a formal pattern of entertaining. With the removal of the capital to Washington in 1800, she became the first First Lady to reside at the White House, or President’s House as it was then known. The city was wilderness, the President’s House far from completion. She found the unfinished mansion in Washington “habitable” and the location “beautiful”; but she complained that, despite the thick woods nearby, she could find no one willing to chop and haul firewood for the First Family. Adams’ health, never robust, suffered in Washington. She took an active role in politics and policy, unlike the quiet presence of Martha Washington. She was so politically active, her political opponents came to refer to her as “Mrs. President”.
After John’s defeat in his presidential re-election campaign, the family retired to Quincy in 1800. Abigail followed her son’s political career earnestly, as her letters to her contemporaries show. In later years, she renewed correspondence with Thomas Jefferson, whose political opposition to her husband had hurt her deeply.
Abigail and John’s marriage is well documented through their correspondence and other writings. Letters exchanged throughout John’s political obligations indicate his trust in Abigail’s knowledge was sincere. “She could quote poetry more readily than could John Adams,” states McCullogh. Their correspondence illuminated their mutual emotional and intellectual respect. John often excused himself to Abigail for his “vanity”, exposing his need for her approval.
Abigail Adams wrote about the troubles and concerns she had as an eighteenth-century woman and she was an advocate of married women’s property rights, more opportunities for women, particularly in the field of education. Women, she believed, should not submit to laws not made in their interest, nor should they be content with the simple role of being companions to their husbands. They should educate themselves and thus be recognized for their intellectual capabilities, so they could guide and influence the lives of their children and husbands. She is known for her March, 1776 letter to John and the Continental Congress, requesting that they, “…remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”
Adams believed that slavery was evil and a threat to the American democratic experiment. A letter written by her on March 31, 1776, explained that she doubted most of the Virginians had such "passion for Liberty” as they claimed they did, since they “deprive[d] their fellow Creatures” of freedom.
A notable incident regarding this happened in Philadelphia in 1791, where a free black youth came to her house asking to be taught how to write. Subsequently, she placed the boy in a local evening school, though not without objections from a neighbor. Adams responded that he was “a Freeman as much as any of the young Men and merely because his Face is Black, is he to be denied instruction? How is he to be qualified to procure a livelihood? … I have not thought it any disgrace to my self to take him into my parlor and teach him both to read and write.”
Sacagawea (May 1788-December 20 1812)
Was a Lemhi Shoshone woman who helped the Lewis and Clark Expedition achieve each of its chartered mission objectives exploring the Louisiana Purchase. With the expedition, between 1804 and 1806, she traveled thousands of miles from North Dakota to the Pacific Ocean, established cultural contacts with Native American populations, and researched natural history.
Sacagawea was pregnant with her first child when the Corps of Discovery arrived near the Hidatsa villages to spend the winter of 1804–05. Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark built Fort Mandan. They interviewed several trappers who might be able to interpret or guide the expedition up the Missouri River in the springtime. They agreed to hire Charbonneau as an interpreter because they discovered his wife spoke Shoshone, and they knew they would need the help of Shoshone tribes at the headwatersof the Missouri.
Charbonneau and Sacagawea moved into the expedition’s fort a week later. Clark nicknamed her “Janey”. Lewis recorded the birth of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau on February 11, 1805, noting that another of the party’s interpreters administered crushed rattlesnake rattles to speed the delivery. Clark and other European Americans nicknamed the boy “Little Pomp” or “Pompy”.
In April, the expedition left Fort Mandan and headed up the Missouri River in pirogues. They had to be poled against the current and sometimes pulled from the riverbanks. On May 14, 1805, Sacagawea rescued items that had fallen out of a capsized boat, including the journals and records of Lewis and Clark. The corps commanders, who praised her quick action, named the Sacagawea River in her honor on May 20.
By August 1805, the corps had located a Shoshone tribe and was attempting to trade for horses to cross the Rocky Mountains. They used Sacagawea to interpret and discovered that the tribe’s chief, Cameahwait, was her brother.
The Shoshone agreed to barter horses to the group, and to provide guides to lead them over the cold and barren Rocky Mountains. The trip was so hard that they were reduced to eating tallow candles to survive. When they descended into the more temperate regions on the other side, Sacagawea helped to find and cook camas roots to help them regain their strength.
As the expedition approached the mouth of the Columbia River on the Pacific Coast, Sacagawea gave up her beaded belt to enable the captains to trade for a fur robe they wished to give to President Thomas Jefferson.
When the corps reached the Pacific Ocean, all members of the expedition—including Sacagawea and Clark’s black manservant York— voted on November 24 on the location for building their winter fort. In January, when a whale’s carcass washed up onto the beach south of Fort Clatsop, Sacagawea insisted on her right to go see this “monstrous fish”.
On the return trip, they approached the Rocky Mountains in July 1806. On July 6, Clark recorded “The Indian woman informed me that she had been in this plain frequently and knew it well… She said we would discover a gap in the mountains in our direction…” which is now Gibbons Pass. A week later, on July 13, Sacagawea advised Clark to cross into the Yellowstone River basin at what is now known as Bozeman Pass. Later, this was chosen as the optimal route for the Northern Pacific Railway to cross the continental divide.
While Sacagawea has been depicted as a guide for the expedition, she is recorded as providing direction in only a few instances. Her work as an interpreter certainly helped the party to negotiate with the Shoshone, however, her greatest value to the mission may have been simply her presence during the arduous journey, which demonstrated the peaceful intent of the expedition. While traveling through what is now Franklin County, Washington, Clark noted, “The Indian woman confirmed those people of our friendly intentions, as no woman ever accompanies a war party of Indians in this quarter,” and, “the wife of Shabono our interpeter we find reconsiles all the Indians, as to our friendly intentions a woman with a party of men is a token of peace.”
As he traveled downriver from Fort Mandan at the end of the journey, Clark wrote to Charbonneau:
“You have been a long time with me and conducted your Self in Such a manner as to gain my friendship, your woman who accompanied you that long dangerous and fatigueing rout to the Pacific Ocian and back diserved a greater reward for her attention and services on that rout than we had in our power to give her at the Mandans. As to your little Son (my boy Pomp) you well know my fondness of him and my anxiety to take him and raise him as my own child …If you are desposed to accept either of my offers to you and will bring down you Son your famn [femme, woman] Janey had best come along with you to take care of the boy untill I get him …Wishing you and your family great success & with anxious expectations of seeing my little danceing boy Baptiest I shall remain your Friend, William Clark”
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (November 12, 1815-October 2, 1902)
Was an American suffragist, social activist, abolitionist, and leading figure of the early women’s rights movement. Her Declaration of Sentiments, presented at the Seneca Falls Convention held in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York, is often credited with initiating the first organized women’s rights and women’s suffrage movements in the United States. Stanton was president of the National Woman Suffrage Association from 1892 until 1900.
Before Stanton narrowed her political focus almost exclusively to women’s rights, she was an active abolitionist with her husband, Henry Brewster Stanton and cousin, Gerrit Smith. Unlike many of those involved in the women’s rights movement, Stanton addressed various issues pertaining to women beyond voting rights. Her concerns included women’s parental and custody rights,property rights, employment and income rights, divorce, the economic health of the family, and birth control. She was also an outspoken supporter of the 19th-century temperance movement.
After the American Civil War, Stanton’s commitment to female suffrage caused a schism in the women’s rights movement when she, together with Susan B. Anthony, declined to support passage of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. She opposed giving added legal protection and voting rights to African American men while women, black and white, were denied those same rights. Her position on this issue, together with her thoughts on organized Christianity and women’s issues beyond voting rights, led to the formation of two separate women’s rights organizations that were finally rejoined, with Stanton as president of the joint organization, approximately twenty years after her break from the original women’s suffrage movement. Stanton died in 1902 having authored both The Woman’s Bible and her autobiography Eighty Years and More, along with many articles and pamphlets concerning female suffrage and women’s rights.
Florence Nightingale (12 May 1820-13 August 1910)
Was a celebrated English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing.
She came to prominence while serving as a manager of nurses trained by her during the Crimean War, where she organised the tending to wounded soldiers. She gave nursing a highly favourable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture, especially in the persona of “The Lady with the Lamp” making rounds of wounded soldiers at night.
Some recent commentators have asserted Nightingale’s achievements in the Crimean War were exaggerated by the media at the time, to satisfy the public’s need for a hero. Nevertheless, critics agree on the decisive importance of her follow-up achievements in professionalising nursing roles for women. In 1860, Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. It was the first secular nursing school in the world, now part of King’s College London. The Nightingale Pledge taken by new nurses was named in her honour, and the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on her birthday. Her social reforms include improving healthcare for all sections of British society, advocating better hunger relief in India, helping to abolish prostitution laws that were over-harsh to women, and expanding the acceptable forms of female participation in the workforce.
Nightingale was a prodigious and versatile writer. In her lifetime, much of her published work was concerned with spreading medical knowledge. Some of her tracts were written in simple English so that they could easily be understood by those with poor literary skills. She also helped popularise the graphical presentation of statistical data. Much of her writing, including her extensive work on religion and mysticism, has only been published posthumously.
Harriet Tubman (c. 1822-March 10 1913)
Was an African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and, during the American Civil War, a Union spy. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some thirteen missions to rescue approximately seventy enslaved families and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. She later helped abolitionist John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harpers Ferry, and in the post-war era was an active participant in the struggle for women’s suffrage.
Born a slave in Dorchester County, Maryland, Tubman was beaten and whipped by her various masters as a child. Early in life, she suffered a traumatic head wound when an irate slave owner threw a heavy metal weight intending to hit another slave and hit her instead. The injury caused dizziness, pain, and spells of hypersomnia, which occurred throughout her life. She was a devout Christian and experienced strange visions and vivid dreams, which she ascribed to premonitions from God.
In 1849, Tubman escaped to Philadelphia, then immediately returned to Maryland to rescue her family. Slowly, one group at a time, she brought relatives with her out of the state, and eventually guided dozens of other slaves to freedom. Traveling by night and in extreme secrecy, Tubman (or “Moses”, as she was called) “never lost a passenger”. Her actions made slave owners anxious and angry, and they posted rewards for her capture. When a far-reaching United States Fugitive Slave Law was passed in 1850, she helped guide fugitives further north into Canada, and helped newly freed slaves find work.
When the US Civil War began, Tubman worked for the Union Army, first as a cook and nurse, and then as an armed scout and spy. The first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war, she guided the raid at Combahee Ferry, which liberated more than seven hundred slaves. After the war, she retired to the family home on property she had purchased in 1859 in Auburn, New York, where she cared for her aging parents. She was active in the women’s suffrage movement until illness overtook her and she had to be admitted to a home for elderly African-Americans that she had helped to establish years earlier. After she died in 1913, she became an icon of American courage and freedom.
Emily Dickinson (December 10, 1830-May 15, 1886)
Was an American poet. Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts. Although part of a prominent family with strong ties to its community, Dickinson lived much of her life highly introverted. After studying at the Amherst Academy for seven years in her youth, she briefly attended the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary before returning to her family’s house in Amherst. Considered an eccentric by locals, she developed a noted penchant for white clothing and became known for her reluctance to greet guests or, later in life, to even leave her bedroom. Dickinson never married, and most friendships between her and others depended entirely upon correspondence.
While Dickinson was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her nearly 1,800 poems were published during her lifetime. The work that was published during her lifetime was usually altered significantly by the publishers to fit the conventional poetic rules of the time. Dickinson’s poems are unique for the era in which she wrote; they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation. Many of her poems deal with themes of death and immortality, two recurring topics in letters to her friends.
Although Dickinson’s acquaintances were most likely aware of her writing, it was not until after her death in 1886 — when Lavinia, Dickinson’s younger sister, discovered her cache of poems — that the breadth of her work became apparent to the public. Her first collection of poetry was published in 1890 by personal acquaintances Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Mabel Loomis Todd, though both heavily edited the content. A complete, and mostly unaltered, collection of her poetry became available for the first time when scholar Thomas H. Johnson published The Poems of Emily Dickinson in 1955. Despite some unfavorable reception and skepticism over the late 19th and early 20th centuries regarding her literary prowess, Dickinson is now almost universally considered to be one of the most significant of all American poets.
Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832-March 6, 1888)
Was an American novelist and poet best known as the author of the novel Little Women (1868) and its sequels Little Men (1871) and Jo’s Boys (1886). Raised by her transcendentalist parents, Abigail May and Amos Bronson Alcott in New England, she grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau.
Nevertheless, her family suffered severe financial difficulties and Alcott worked to help support the family from an early age. She began to receive critical success for her writing in the 1860s. Early in her career, she sometimes used the pen name A. M. Barnard and under it wrote novels for young adults.
Published in 1868, Little Women is set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts and is loosely based on Alcott’s childhood experiences with her three sisters. The novel was very well received and is still a popular children’s novel today, filmed several times. Alcott was an abolitionist and a feminist and remained unmarried throughout her life. She died in Boston on March 6, 1888. Henry James called her “The novelist of children… the Thackeray, the Trollope, of the nursery and the schoolroom.”
Jane Austen (16 December 1775-18 July 1817)
Was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry , earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature . Her realism, biting irony and social commentary as well as her acclaimed plots have gained her historical importance among scholars and critics. Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry. She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers as well as through her own reading. The steadfast support of her family was critical to her development as a professional writer. From her teenage years into her thirties she experimented with various literary forms, including an epistolary novel which she then abandoned, wrote and extensively revised three major novels and began a fourth. From 1811 until 1816, with the publication of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began a third, which was eventually titledmSanditon, but died before completing it. Austen’s works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century realism. Her plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. Her works, though usually popular, were first published anonymously and brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew's A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940s she had become widely accepted in academia as a great English writer. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture.
Was an American artist. She is best known for her paintings of enlarged flowers, New York skyscrapers, and New Mexico landscapes. O'Keeffe has been recognized as the “Mother of American modernism”.
O'Keeffe had made some charcoal drawings in late 1915 which she had mailed from South Carolina to Anita Pollitzer. Pollitzer took them to Alfred Stieglitz at his 291 gallery early in 1916. Stieglitz told Pollitzer that the drawings were the “purest, finest, sincerest things that had entered 291 in a long while”, and that he would like to show them. O'Keeffe had first visited 291 in 1908, but did not speak with Stieglitz then, although she came to have high regard for him and to know him in early 1916, when she was in New York at Teachers College. In April 1916, he exhibited ten of her drawings at 291. O'Keeffe knew that Stieglitz was planning to exhibit her work but he had not told her when, and she was surprised to learn that her work was on view; she confronted Stieglitz over the drawings but agreed to let them remain on exhibit. Stieglitz organized O'Keeffe’s first solo show at 291 in April 1917, which included oil paintings and watercolors completed in Texas.
Stieglitz and O'Keeffe corresponded frequently beginning in 1916 and, in June 1918, she accepted his invitation to move to New York to devote all of her time to her work. The two were deeply in love and, shortly after her arrival, they began living together, even though Stieglitz was married and 23 years her senior. That year, Stieglitz first took O'Keeffe to his family home at the village of Lake George in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, and they spent part of every year there until 1929, when O'Keeffe spent the first of many summers painting in New Mexico. In 1924, Stieglitz’s divorce was approved by a judge and, within four months, he and O'Keeffe married. It was a small, private ceremony at John Marin’s house, and afterward the couple went back home. There was no reception, festivities, or honeymoon. O'Keeffe said later that they married in order to help soothe the troubles of Stieglitz’s daughter Kitty who was being treated in a sanatorium for depression and hallucinations at that time. The marriage did not seem to have any immediate effect on either Stieglitz or O'Keeffe; they both continued working on their individual projects as they had before. For the rest of their lives together, their relationship was, as biographer Benita Eisler characterized it,
a collusion … a system of deals and trade-offs, tacitly agreed to and carried out, for the most part, without the exchange of a word. Preferring avoidance to confrontation on most issues, O'Keeffe was the principal agent of collusion in their union.
Stieglitz started photographing O'Keeffe when she visited him in New York City to see her 1917 exhibition. By 1937, when he retired from photography, he had made more than 350 portraits of her. Most of the more erotic photographs were made in the 1910s and early 1920s. In February 1921, forty-five of Stieglitz’s photographs were exhibited in a retrospective exhibition at the Anderson Galleries, including many of O'Keeffe, some of which depicted her in the nude. It created a public sensation. She once made a remark to Pollitzer about the nude photographs which may be the best indication of O'Keeffe’s ultimate reaction to being their subject: “I felt somehow that the photographs had nothing to do with me personally.” In 1978, she wrote about how distant from them she had become: “When I look over the photographs Stieglitz took of me-some of them more than sixty years ago—I wonder who that person is. It is as if in my one life I have lived many lives. If the person in the photographs were living in this world today, she would be quite a different person—but it doesn’t matter—Stieglitz photographed her then.”
Beginning in 1918, O'Keeffe came to know the many early American modernists who were part of Stieglitz’s circle of artists, including Charles Demuth, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Paul Strand, and Edward Steichen. Strand’s photography, as well as that of Stieglitz and his many photographer friends, inspired O'Keeffe’s work. Also around this time, O'Keeffe became sick during the 1918 flu pandemic, like so many others. Soon after 1918, she began working primarily in oil, a shift away from having worked primarily in watercolor in the earlier 1910s. By the mid-1920s, O'Keeffe began making large-scale paintings of natural forms at close range, as if seen through a magnifying lens. In 1924, she painted her first large-scale flower painting Petunia, No. 2, which was first exhibited in 1925. She also completed a significant body of paintings of New York buildings, such as City Night and New York—Night (1926) and Radiator Bldg—Night, New York (1927).
O'Keeffe turned to working more representationally in the 1920s in an effort to move her critics away from Freudian interpretations. Her earlier work had been mostly abstract, but works such as Black Iris III (1926) evoke a veiled representation of female genitalia while also accurately depicting the center of an iris. O'Keeffe consistently denied the validity of Freudian interpretations of her art, but fifty years after it had first been interpreted in that way, many prominent feminist artists assessed her work similarly; Judy Chicago, for example, gave O'Keeffe a prominent place in her The Dinner Party. Although 1970s feminists celebrated O'Keeffe as the originator of “female iconography”, O'Keeffe rejected their celebration of her work and refused to cooperate with any of their projects.
In 1922, the New York Sun published an article quoting O'Keeffe: “It is only by selection, by elimination, and by emphasis that we get at the real meaning of things." Inspired by Precisionism, The Green Apple, completed in 1922, depicts her notion of simple, meaningful life.
Beginning in 1923, Stieglitz organized annual exhibitions of O'Keeffe’s work. By the mid-1920s, O'Keeffe had become known as one of the most important American artists. Her work commanded high prices; in 1928, Stieglitz masterminded a sale of six of her calla lily paintings for US$25,000, which would have been the largest sum ever paid for a group of paintings by a living American artist. Although the sale fell through, Stieglitz’s promotion of it drew extensive media attention.
Rosa Parks (February 4, 1913-October 24, 2005)
Was an African American civil rights activist, whom the United States Congress called "the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement”. Her birthday, February 4, and the day she was arrested, December 1, have both become Rosa Parks Day, commemorated in California and Missouri (February 4), and Ohio and Oregon (December 1).
On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake’s order to give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. Parks was not the first person to resist bus segregation. Others had taken similar steps, including Bayard Rustin in 1942, Irene Morgan in 1946, Sarah Louise Keys in 1952, and the members of the ultimately successful Browder v. Gayle lawsuit (Claudette Colvin, Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald, and Mary Louise Smith) who were arrested in Montgomery for not giving up their bus seats months before Parks. NAACP organizers believed that Parks was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience in violating Alabama segregation laws, although eventually her case became bogged down in the state courts while the Browder v. Gayle case succeeded.
Parks’ act of defiance and the Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP; and Martin Luther King, Jr., a new minister in town who gained national prominence in the civil rights movement.
At the time, Parks was secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP. She had recently attended the Highlander Folk School, a Tennessee center for training activists for workers’ rights and racial equality. She acted as a private citizen “tired of giving in”. Although widely honored in later years, she also suffered for her act; she was fired from her job as a seamstress in a local department store, and received death threats for years afterwards. Her situation also opened doors.
Shortly after the boycott, she moved to Detroit, where she briefly found similar work. From 1965 to 1988 she served as secretary and receptionist to John Conyers, an African-American U.S. Representative. She was also active in the Black Power movement and the support of political prisoners in the US.
After retirement, Parks wrote her autobiography and lived a largely private life in Detroit. In her final years, she suffered from dementia. Parks received national recognition, including the NAACP’s 1979 Spingarn Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and a posthumous statue in the United States Capitol’s National Statuary Hall. Upon her death in 2005, she was the first woman and third non-U.S. government official to lie in honor at the Capitol Rotunda.
Jane Goodall (3 April 1934- )
Is a British primatologist, ethologist,anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace. Considered to be the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, Goodall is best known for her 55-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania. She is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and the Roots & Shoots program, and she has worked extensively on conservation and animal welfare issues. She has served on the board of the Nonhuman Rights Project since its founding in 1996.
Goodall is the former president of Advocates for Animals, an organisation based in Edinburgh, Scotland, that campaigns against the use of animals in medical research, zoos, farming and sport.
Goodall is a vegetarian and advocates the diet for ethical, environmental, and health reasons. In The Inner World of Farm Animals, Goodall writes that farm animals are “far more aware and intelligent than we ever imagined and, despite having been bred as domestic slaves, they are individual beings in their own right. As such, they deserve our respect. And our help. Who will plead for them if we are silent?" Goodall has also said: "Thousands of people who say they ‘love’ animals sit down once or twice a day to enjoy the flesh of creatures who have been treated so with little respect and kindness just to make more meat.”
In April 2008, Goodall gave a lecture entitled “Reason for Hope” at the University of San Diego’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Distinguished Lecture Series.
In May 2008, Goodall controversially described Edinburgh Zoo’s new primate enclosure as a “wonderful facility” where monkeys “are probably better off [than those] living in the wild in an area like Budongo, where one in six gets caught in a wire snare, and countries like Congo, where chimpanzees, monkeys and gorillas are shot for food commercially." This was in conflict with Advocates for Animals’ position on captive animals. In June 2008 Goodall confirmed that she had resigned the presidency of the organisation which she had held since 1998, citing her busy schedule and explaining, "I just don’t have time for them.”
Goodall is a patron of population concern charity Population Matters, and is currently an ambassador for Disneynature.
In 2011, Goodall became a patron of Australian animal protection group Voiceless, the animal protection institute. “I have for decades been concerned about factory farming, in part because of the tremendous harm inflicted on the environment, but also because of the shocking ongoing cruelty perpetuated on millions of sentient beings.”
In 2012 Goodall took on the role of challenger for the Engage in Conservation Challenge with the DO School, formerly known as the D&F Academy. She worked with a group of aspiring social entrepreneurs to create a workshop to engage young people in conserving biodiversity, and to tackle a perceived global lack of awareness of the issue.
In 2014 Goodall wrote to Air France executives criticizing the airline’s continued transport of monkeys to laboratories. Goodall called the practice “cruel” and “traumatic” for the monkeys involved. The same year Goodall also wrote to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to criticize maternal deprivation experiments on baby monkeys in NIH laboratories.
Prior to the 2015 UK general election, she was one of several celebrities who endorsed the parliamentary candidacy of the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas.
Goodall is a critic of fox hunting and was among more than 20 high-profile people who signed a letter to Members of Parliament in 2015 to oppose Conservative prime minister David Cameron’s plan to amend the Hunting Act 2004.
Gloria Steinem (March 25, 1934- )
Is an American feminist, journalist, and social and political activist who became nationally recognized as a leader and spokeswoman for the feminist movement in the late 1960s and early 70s.
She was a columnist for New York magazine and a founder of Ms. magazine. In 1969, she published an article, “After Black Power, Women’s Liberation," which brought her to national fame as a feminist leader.
In 2005, Steinem, Jane Fonda, and Robin Morgan co-founded the Women’s Media Center, an organization that works "to make women visible and powerful in the media.”
Steinem currently travels internationally as an organizer and lecturer and is a media spokeswoman on issues of equality.
In 1959, Steinem led a group of activists in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to organise the Independent Service for Information on the Vienna festival, to advocate for American participation in the World Youth Festival, a Soviet-sponsored youth event.
In 1968, Steinem signed the “War Tax Protest” pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.
In 1969, she published an article, “After Black Power, Women’s Liberation" which brought her to national fame as a feminist leader. As such she campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in its favor in 1970. That same year she published her essay on a utopia of gender equality, "What It Would Be Like If Women Win”, in Time magazine.
On July 10, 1971, Steinem was one of over 300 women who founded the National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC), including such notables as Bella Abzug, Betty Friedan,Shirley Chisholm, and Myrlie Evers-Williams. As a co-convener of the Caucus, she delivered the speech “Address to the Women of America”, stating in part:
This is no simple reform. It really is a revolution. Sex and race because they are easy and visible differences have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior and inferior groups and into the cheap labor on which this system still depends. We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned. We are really talking about humanism.
In 1972, she ran as a delegate for Shirley Chisholm in New York, but lost.
In March 1973, she addressed the first national conference of Stewardesses for Women’s Rights, which she continued to support throughout its existence. Stewardesses for Women’s Rights folded in the spring of 1976.
Steinem, who grew up reading Wonder Woman comics, was also a key player in the restoration of Wonder Woman’s powers and traditional costume, which were restored in issue #204 (January–February 1973). Steinem, offended that the most famous female superhero had been depowered, had placed Wonder Woman (in costume) on the cover of the first issue of Ms. (1972) – Warner Communications, DC Comics’ owner, was an investor – which also contained an appreciative essay about the character.
In 1984 Steinem was arrested along with a number of members of Congress and civil rights activists for disorderly conduct outside the South African embassy while protesting against the South African apartheid system.
At the outset of the Gulf War in 1991, Steinem, along with prominent feminists Robin Morgan and Kate Millett, publicly opposed an incursion into the Middle East and asserted that ostensible goal of “defending democracy” was a pretense.
During the Clarence Thomas sexual harassment scandal in 1991, Steinem voiced strong support for Anita Hill and suggested that one day Hill herself would sit on the Supreme Court.
In 1992, Steinem co-founded Choice USA, a non-profit organization that mobilizes and provides ongoing support to a younger generation that lobbies for reproductive choice.
In 1993 Steinem co-produced and narrated an Emmy Award winning TV documentary for HBO about child abuse, called, “Multiple Personalities: The Search for Deadly Memories." Also in 1993, she and Rosilyn Heller co-produced an original TV movie for Lifetime, "Better Off Dead,” which examined the parallel forces that both oppose abortion and support the death penalty.
She contributed the piece “The Media and the Movement: A User’s Guide” to the 2003 anthology Sisterhood Is Forever: The Women’s Anthology for a New Millennium, edited by Robin Morgan.
On June 1, 2013 Steinem performed on stage at the “Chime For Change: The Sound Of Change Live” Concert at Twickenham Stadium in London, England. Later in 2014, UN Women began its commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, and as part of that campaign Steinem (and others) spoke at the Apollo Theater in New York City. Chime For Change funded by Gucci, focusing on using innovative approaches to raise funds and awareness especially regarding girls and women.
Steinem has stated, “I think the fact that I’ve become a symbol for the women’s movement is somewhat accidental. A woman member of Congress, for example, might be identified as a member of Congress; it doesn’t mean she’s any less of a feminist but she’s identified by her nearest male analog. Well, I don’t have a male analog so the press has to identify me with the movement. I suppose I could be referred to as a journalist, but because Ms. is part of a movement and not just a typical magazine, I’m more likely to be identified with the movement. There’s no other slot to put me in.”
Contrary to popular belief, Steinem did not coin the feminist slogan “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” Although she helped popularize it, the phrase is actually attributable to Irina Dunn. When Time magazine published an article attributing the saying to Steinem, Steinem wrote a letter saying the phrase had been coined by Dunn.
Another phrase sometimes wrongly attributed to Steinem is, “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.” Steinem herself attributed it to “an old Irish woman taxi driver in Boston,” who she said she and Florynce Kennedy met.
As for 2015, she joined the thirty leading international women peacemakers and became an honorary co-chairwoman of 2015 Women’s Walk For Peace In Korea with Mairead Maguire. The group’s main goal is to advocate disarmament and seek Korea’s reunification. It will be holding international peace symposiums both in Pyongyang and Seoul in which women from both North Korea and South Korea can share experiences and ideas of mobilizing women to stop the Korean crisis. The group’s specific hope is to walk cross the 2-mile wide Korean Demilitarized Zone that separates North Korea and South Korea which is meant to be a symbolic action taken for peace in the Korean peninsular suffering for 70 years after its division at the end of World War II. It is especially believed that the role of women in this act would help and support the reunification of family members divided by the split prolonged for 70 years.
Alice Walker (February 9, 1944- )
Is an American novelist, short story writer, poet, and activist. She wrote the critically acclaimed novel The Color Purple (1982) for which she won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. She also wrote Meridian and The Third Life of Grange Copeland, among other works.
Walker’s first book of poetry was written while she was a senior at Sarah Lawrence. She took a brief sabbatical from writing while working in Mississippi in the civil rights movement. Walker resumed her writing career when she joined Ms. magazine as an editor before moving to northern California in the late 1970s. Her 1975 article “In Search of Zora Neale Hurston”, published in Ms. magazine, helped revive interest in the work of Zora Neale Hurston. Hurston inspired Walker’s writing and influenced her subject matter. In 1973, Walker and fellow Hurston scholar Charlotte D. Hunt discovered Hurston’s unmarked grave in Ft. Pierce, Florida. The women chipped in to buy a modest headstone for the gravesite.
In addition to her collected short stories and poetry, Walker’s first novel, The Third Life of Grange Copeland– which follows the life of Grange Copeland, an abusive, irresponsible sharecropper, father, and husband– was published in 1970. In 1976, Walker’s second novel, Meridian, was published. Meridian is a “semiautobiographical narrative based upon Walker’s experience in the 1960s… [it] is her retrospective on the social, racial, and sexual upheavals that the Civil Rights and Black Power eras produced.” The novel dealt with activist workers in the South during the civil rights movement, and closely paralleled some of Walker’s own experiences.
In 1982, Walker published what has become her best-known work, The Color Purple. The novel follows a young troubled black woman fighting her way through not just racist white culture but patriarchal black culture as well. The book became a bestseller and was subsequently adapted into a critically acclaimed 1985 movie directed by Steven Spielberg featuring Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg, as well as a 2005 Broadway musical totaling 910 performances.
Walker is the co-founder of Wild Tree Press, a feminist publishing company in Anderson Valley, California. She and fellow writer Robert L. Allen founded it in 1984.
Walker has written several other novels, including The Temple of My Familiar and Possessing the Secret of Joy (which featured several characters and descendants of characters from The Color Purple). She has published a number of collections of short stories, poetry, and other writings. Her work is focused on the struggles of black people, particularly women, and their lives in a racist, sexist, and violent society. Walker is a leading figure in liberal politics.
In 2007, Walker donated her papers, consisting of 122 boxes of manuscripts and archive material, to Emory University’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library. In addition to drafts of novels such as The Color Purple, unpublished poems and manuscripts, and correspondence with editors, the collection includes extensive correspondence with family members, friends and colleagues, an early treatment of the film script for The Color Purple, syllabi from courses she taught, and fan mail. The collection also contains a scrapbook of poetry compiled when Walker was 15, entitled “Poems of a Childhood Poetess.”
In 2013, Alice Walker released two new books, one of them entitled The Cushion in the Road: Meditation and Wandering as the Whole World Awakens to Being in Harm’s Way. The other was a book of poems entitled The World Will Follow Joy Turning Madness into Flowers (New Poems).
Oprah Winfrey (January 29, 1954- )
Is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, andphilanthropist. She is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011. Dubbed the “Queen of All Media”, she has been ranked the richest African-American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and is now North America’s first and only multi-billionaire Black. Several assessments regard her as the most influential woman in the world. In 2013, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama and honorary doctorate degrees from Duke and Harvard.
Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in an inner-city Milwaukee neighborhood. She has stated that she was molested during her childhood and early teens and became pregnant at 14; her son died in infancy. Sent to live with the man she calls her father, a barber in Tennessee, Winfrey landed a job in radio while still in high school and began co-anchoring the local evening news at the age of 19. Her emotional ad-lib delivery eventually got her transferred to the daytime-talk-show arena, and after boosting a third-rated local Chicago talk show to first place, she launched her own production company and became internationally syndicated.
Credited with creating a more intimate confessional form of media communication, she is thought to have popularized and revolutionized the tabloid talk show genre pioneered by Phil Donahue, which a Yale study says broke 20th-century taboos and allowed LGBT people to enter the mainstream. By the mid-1990s she had reinvented her show with a focus on literature, self-improvement, and spirituality. Though criticized for unleashing a confession culture, promoting controversial self-help ideas, and an emotion-centered approach, she is often praised for overcoming adversity to become a benefactor to others. From 2006 to 2008, Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of Barack Obama, by one estimate, delivered over a million votes in the close 2008 Democratic primary race.
Billie Jean King (November 22, 1943- )
Is an American former World No. 1 professional tennis player. King won 39 Grand Slam titles, including 12 singles, 16 women’s doubles, and 11 mixed doubles titles. King won the singles title at the inaugural WTA Tour Championships. King often represented the United States in the Federation Cup and the Wightman Cup. She was a member of the victorious United States team in seven Federation Cups and nine Wightman Cups. For three years, King was the United States’ captain in the Federation Cup.
King is an advocate for sexual equality. In 1973, at age 29, she won the so-called Battle of the Sexes tennis match against the 55-year-old Bobby Riggs, and was the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association, World TeamTennis (with former husband Larry King), and the Women’s Sports Foundation.
King was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987. The Fed Cup Award of Excellence was bestowed on King in 2010. In 1972, King was the joint winner, with John Wooden, of the Sports IllustratedSportsman of the Year award and was one of the Time Persons of the Year in 1975. King has also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year lifetime achievement award. King was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1990, and in 2006, the USTA National Tennis Center in New York City was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (March 15, 1933- )
Is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Ginsburg was appointed by President Bill Clinton and took the oath of office on August 10, 1993. She is the second female justice (afte rSandra Day O'Connor) and one of three female justices currently serving on the Supreme Court (along with Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan).
She is generally viewed as belonging to the liberal wing of the Court. Before becoming a judge, Ginsburg spent a considerable portion of her legal career as an advocate for the advancement of women’s rights as a constitutional principle. She advocated as a volunteer lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union and was a member of its board of directors and one of its general counsel in the 1970s. She was a professor at Rutgers School of Law–Newark and Columbia Law School. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Ginsburg characterizes her performance on the Court as a cautious approach to adjudication. She argued in a speech shortly before her nomination to the Court that “[m]easured motions seem to me right, in the main, for constitutional as well as common law adjudication. Doctrinal limbs too swiftly shaped, experience teaches, may prove unstable.”
Although Ginsburg has consistently supported abortion rights and joined in the Court’s opinion striking down Nebraska’s partial-birth abortion law in Stenberg v. Carhart 530 U.S. 914 (2000), on the fortieth anniversary of the Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade 410 U.S. 113(1973), she criticized the decision as terminating a nascent democratic movement to liberalize abortion laws which might have built a more durable consensus in support of abortion rights.
She discussed her views on abortion rights and sexual equality in a 2009 New York Times interview, in which she said regarding abortion that “[t]he basic thing is that the government has no business making that choice for a woman." One statement she made during the interview ("Frankly, I had thought at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”) was criticized by conservative commentator Michael Gerson as reflecting an “attitude…that abortion is economically important to a 'woman of means’ and useful in reducing the number of social undesirables.”
Ginsburg has also been an advocate for using foreign law and norms to shape U.S. law in judicial opinions,in contrast to the textualist views of her colleagues Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas, and Justice Samuel Alito. Despite their fundamental differences, Ginsburg considered Scalia her closest colleague on the Court. The two justices had often dined and attended the opera together.
Malala Yousafzai (12 July 1997- )
Is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. She is known mainly for human rights advocacy for education and for women in her native Swat Valley in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. Yousafzai’s advocacy has since grown into an international movement.
Her family runs a chain of schools in the region. In early 2009, when she was 11–12, Yousafzai wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban occupation, their attempts to take control of the valley, and her views on promoting education for girls in the Swat Valley. The following summer, journalist Adam B. Ellick made a New York Times documentary about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region. Yousafzai rose in prominence, giving interviews in print and on television, and she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by South African activist Desmond Tutu.
On the afternoon of October 9, 2012, Yousafzai boarded her school bus in the northwest Pakistani district of Swat. A gunman asked for her by name, then pointed a pistol at her and fired three shots. One bullet hit the left side of Yousafzai’s forehead, travelled under her skin through the length of her face, and then went into her shoulder. In the days immediately following the attack, she remained unconscious and in critical condition, but later her condition improved enough for her to be sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, for intensive rehabilitation. On 12 October, a group of 50 Muslim clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwā against those who tried to kill her, but the Taliban reiterated their intent to kill Yousafzai and her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai. The assassination attempt sparked a national and international outpouring of support for Yousafzai. Deutsche Welle wrote in January 2013 that Yousafzai may have become “the most famous teenager in the world." United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown launched a UN petition in Yousafzai’s name, demanding that all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2015; it helped lead to the ratification of Pakistan’s first Right to Education Bill.
The 2013, 2014 and 2015 issues of Time magazine featured Yousafzai as one of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World”. She was the winner of Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize, and the recipient of the 2013 Sakharov Prize. In July that year, she spoke at the headquarters of the United Nations to call for worldwide access to education, and in October the Government of Canada announced its intention that its parliament confer Honorary Canadian citizenship upon Yousafzai. In February 2014, she was nominated for the World Children’s Prize in Sweden. Even though she was fighting for women’s rights as well as children’s rights, she did not describe herself as feminist when asked on Forbes Under 30 Summit in 2014. In 2015, however, Yousafzai told Emma Watson she decided to call herself a feminist after hearing Watson’s speech at the UN launching the HeForShecampaign. In May 2014, Yousafzai was granted an honorary doctorate by the University of King’s College in Halifax. Later in 2014, Yousafzai was announced as the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Kailash Satyarthi, for her struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education. Aged 17 at the time, Yousafzai became the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. She was the subject of Oscar-shortlisted 2015 documentary He Named Me Malala.
Since March 2013, she has been a pupil at the all-girls’ Edgbaston High School in Birmingham, England. On 20 August 2015, she achieved a string of A’s and A*s in her GCSE exams.
Fair warning: I made myself bawl while writing this. I went through a box full of tissues. Sorry…
Magnus Bane is done. He knew it was time to move when the city first came with the bright idea to build a hover road right next to his living room windows, but now that the traffic
after the underground railroad was flooded yet again, and new neon signs were
installed, blinking pink and green all day long, he’s done. Gremlins on the builders and the city councilors, too!
But this time, he will not be taking the whole apartment with him. Oh no! The junk that has accumulated in the corners in the last few decades is not worth schlepping around. And no, he’s not saying that just because Tessa accused him of living like a crazy old hoarder with nine cats. He has two, cats that is. The hoarding… yes, that might have become a bit of a problem.
Two years ago, I was in Cannes covering the film festival when my phone rang. I was surprised to hear the voice of Wong Kar Wai, whom I hadn’t spoken to since his last visit to Los Angeles in 2013 promoting his film The Grandmaster. He was calling from Hong Kong, he said, and wanted to ask me a question. He was thinking of putting together a book on his career with Rizzoli, but he needed the proper person to write it. Who would I recommend?
Knowing Wong’s gift for indirection, I wondered if he was asking me. Taking the plunge, I offered to do it, and he instantly agreed. “We have known each other,” he said, “a long time.”
This was true. We’d first met at a dinner thrown by Quentin Tarantino to celebrate the distribution of Wong’s 1994 romantic comedy Chungking Express, which did for Hong Kong what the Nouvelle Vague did for Paris. I spent the evening across from Wong, who was then a formidably hip young man who, for some reason, wore sunglasses indoors at night. I didn’t yet realize that these shades were an artistic trademark: When Wong puts them on, he’s on duty as WKW, Director.
We spent most of the dinner joshing, talking movies, and trying to hide our bored amusement at Tarantino’s boundless capacity for Quentining on—yakkety, yak, yak, yak. When the meal ended, Wong said to one of his colleagues, “Doesn’t he,” meaning me, “look just like a white Patrick Tam?”—a well-known Hong Kong director whose work I knew but whose face I didn’t. (For the record, I actually do look a bit like Tam.)
Now, Wong is a man who likes familiarity, and my resemblance to his onetime collaborator somehow made me stand out to him. A few months later at a film festival, I heard a voice call, “Patrick Tam.” Wong and I went off to have a drink, and ever since, we’ve been what I’d describe as friendly acquaintances.
Every couple of years—in Hong Kong or Busan, Beverly Hills or Toronto—we’d go to dinner and spend a few hours chatting about everything from Martin Scorsese to Chinese celebrity gossip to the shockingly early closing hours of L.A. restaurants, which offend Wong’s night-owl sensibilities. Along the way, he began taking off his sunglasses.
If he had a new film, he would always ask what I thought of it, and I’d honestly say what I thought. I vividly remember being in Cannes and naming all the flaws I’d found in his unhappy gay love story Happy Together—the editing was too fast, the style overshadowed the actors, et cetera. I remember, even more vividly, how calm and un-defensive he was listening to my criticisms. What made his equanimity all the more remarkable was that my complaints were utterly misguided. The film won him Best Director at Cannes, and when I saw the film again back in the U.S., I wondered what movie I thought I’d been seeing.
Our distant comradeship went on for 20 years, all of them blessedly unconstrained by the inhibiting, red-eyed presence of a tape recorder. We never did a proper interview, much less anything so large as a book.
But now we were planning a volume, WKW: The Cinema of Wong Kar Wai, that didn’t merely sound dauntingly definitive but had to be done quickly, to boot. Our goal was to finish it in time to release it for the May 4, 2015 opening of the Met’s huge “China: Through the Looking Glass” show, for which Wong was serving as artistic director. This meant we had to race against the clock. This gave us … months.
The clock ticking, I flew to Hong Kong in August 2014 to start interviewing him. I had failed to reckon with one thing: Wong is the Usain Bolt of delay. His films are notorious for their seemingly endless shooting schedules and their constantly postponed release dates. Wong himself freely admits that he finds it hard to get cracking on a project until he feels under the gun. Only then can he truly concentrate; only then will his best self emerge. Until that point, well … We spent my first two days in town hanging around his company, Jet Tone, whose Causeway Bay offices were in the process of being dismantled. Wong’s own office was still pretty much intact, with its library shelves crammed with Chinese and English books of all kinds—he’s a voracious reader—and its huge cupboards fastidiously layered with scripts for projects both made and unmade.
As ever, Wong was excellent company—friendly, solicitous, good-humored. He’s one of those hyper-observant people who has the quality of seeming to be in on some secret that you’d like to know. We’d vaguely discuss what should be in the book, then head up Tung Lo Wan Road for lunch at Classified, a Western restaurant he likes and that offered the good coffee I craved. I’d drink it, fretting that we weren’t getting any actual work done. When I’d suggest we do an interview, he would smile and say, “Later.”
But Wong has his methods, and on the third day, we hopped into a car with his wife, Esther, and he began showing me his world.
We started at Knutsford Terrace in Tsim Sha Tsui on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong. Wong grew up here when it was a bustling melting pot, filled with arrivals from Shanghai (like his parents), movie stars, writers, ladies of the night, tailors, kung fu masters, Indian shopkeepers, and Filipino musicians. These days it’s home to gentrified nightlife, and Wong’s old address, #2, now belongs to an Italian restaurant named Papa Razzi, an unconsciously ironic nod to the world-famous filmmaker who once lived there. Still, for him, it’s a place buzzing with the Fellini-esque memories that have shaped nearly all his films. His eyes light up when he talks about them.
From there, we moved to the Chungking Mansions, the teeming, multistoried, multicultural bazaar immortalized in Chungking Express. Over samosas from a hole-in-the-wall shop, he told me that his father—who is usually described as a sailor—had managed the biggest nightclub in Hong Kong in that very building. And from there he led me across the way to check out the basement café where he’d written most of his early scripts. But to his chagrin, it, like so much of the Hong Kong he loved, was gone—replaced by a cut-rate jewelry outlet.
We wound up having dinner at the Café de Goldfinch, a venerable restaurant stronger on ambience than food, where he shot part of his most beloved film, In the Mood for Love, and later a brilliant scene with Zhang Ziyi in 2046. Wong had hoped to order me one of its specialties: borscht with shark’s fin, a dish that mingled (or is that mangled?) white Russian and Chinese cuisines. To my vast relief, they had run out.
I pulled out my tape recorder, and when Wong again demurred (“later”), I wound up talking to Esther, who’d never done an interview before. Although Wong is famous for his stories of romantic disappointment, he and Esther have been together since they first met selling jeans as teenagers nearly four decades ago. Intensely loyal to her, he worries that, in making his films, he had spent too much time away from both her and their son, Qing, a Berkeley student whose privacy Wong guards so fiercely he won’t do big public events in the Bay Area.
It wasn’t until the night of my last day in Hong Kong that we finally did an interview. He and I sat down over drinks at Juliette’s, a wine bar near his office where he and his cohort like to hang out at the corner table. I asked about his first movie, As Tears Go By, and he began talking about Hong Kong, gangster movies, and working with Chinese superstars like Andy Lau and Maggie Cheung. We went on recording until we were both talked out. Although Wong is as cautious in his life as he is daring in his art, he spoke about things he’d never talked about before. If we’d been doing a magazine article, it would’ve been enough. As it was, we still had 10 movies to talk about, not to mention much of his life. How could we possibly get all this done?
As I flew home to L.A., I was experiencing what I’d long heard about working on one of Wong’s long-gestating films: You spend your time waiting and waiting, dependent on his decisions, wondering if there’s any end in sight.
I returned to Hong Kong in late October, staying at a hotel near Wong’s new offices in Cyberport, a futuristic complex off Telegraph Bay remarkable for its high-tech soullessness and iffy Wi-Fi. This time Wong also heard the ticking clock, and he concentrated splendidly, doing 30 hours of interviews on everything—his childhood, his family’s history in China, the calamitous opening night of his dazzling film Days of Being Wild, when after the screening nobody would talk to him.
Along the way, he had me eat that Cantonese specialty pig lung soup—Wong relishes testing my foodist claims of liking authentic Chinese food—and arranged interviews with his jaunty female producer, Jacky Pang, and his most important collaborator, William Chang Suk-ping, a flat-out genius who does the production design, costumes, and hair and makeup for Wong’s films, as well as editing them.
Flying back home this time, I thought it possible that we would actually make our deadline. This only goes to show how foolish I am. When I called the Jet Tone offices on D-Day, December 10, to learn if Wong and his people had turned in all the finished text, his unofficial “little brother,” Norman Wang, told me that there was a small problem.
“Kar Wai isn’t sure why he’s doing the book.”
Although I shouldn’t have been surprised, I was flabbergasted.
“Shouldn’t he have thought about that before we started?”
Norman laughed. “Don’t worry. He does this with his films, too. It’s part of how he works.”
There could be no arguing with that—especially when the book was about Wong, not me. Besides, how can you take it personally when a legendary procrastinator is running late on a project that you entered knowing full well that legend? We pushed back the release date indefinitely, and I began to wonder if it might never get done. After all, Wong is a man whose mind is forever teeming with endless possibilities. He re-edited—and rereleased—his martial arts film Ashes of Time more than a decade after its original 1994 release.
As with his films, Wong began tinkering and tinkering with the text of his interview, periodically sending me his latest revisions to make sure they flowed properly. From time to time, I’d restore a juicy tidbit that his Chinese reticence led him to cut and that my crass American garrulity couldn’t imagine losing; sometimes he’d take it out again, telling me that a line I found interesting could cause someone big problems in China.
He was still tinkering six months later, in early May 2015, when we met up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. I spent the evening following him and William Chang as they fussed over every last detail of the blockbuster show “China: Through the Looking Glass.” They went around adjusting screen projections ever so slightly, shifting display lighting by an eighth of an inch, micromanaging the decibel levels of the different music in each room. Watching this in action, I understood better how it would have been impossible for Wong to have let our book go out on the original schedule. There’s always room for perfection.
Eventually, Wong did declare himself finished, if not completely satisfied, with WKW: The Cinema of Wong Kar Wai. As Norman had predicted, he even found a satisfactory reason for telling the world things he’d never talked about publicly before: He wanted his son to understand his life and what he’d been up to all those years.
As for me, when I first agreed to work on WKW, a dear friend who admires Wong quipped, “I hope you don’t wind up hating him.” She wasn’t being cynical. She was reminding me that it’s axiomatic that when critics get close to filmmakers, especially major ones, they all too often wind up disillusioned—or worse.
I’m happy to say that didn’t happen. The last time I saw Wong Kar Wai was at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, where he’d come to discuss some American TV and movie projects he’s been working on. With the book in the rearview mirror and the recorder’s red light off, we had a relaxed time. He asked about Scorsese (when was Silence coming out?), I asked about the great actress Zhang Ziyi with whom I’d once gone to the Olympic torch-lighting ceremony in Greece, and we agreed that the next time he was in town we should maybe have dinner in Koreatown. Like Hong Kong, places there stay open until all hours of the morning.
Despite the initial idea being that the film would be animated (because it is about the intergalactic adventures of a humanoid duck), Lucas insisted that the movie could be done live action, with dazzling special effects and creature construction from the same group of people who handled Star Wars and Indiana Jones. This normally would’ve been music to a producer’s ears, but the film in question was about a perpetually horny giant duck from space.
You see, despite its PG rating, Howard the Duck is weirdly sexual, with Lea Thompson being forced to make innuendo-laced conversation with a 2-foot-tall duck who is so stammeringly awkward about her obvious interest in him that I assume his fully erect duck penis must be an antlered, bone-crushing homunculus of arcane magic, and he dare not awaken it from its slumber. The movie also features Tim Robbins as a hang-gliding bumblefudge and Jeffrey Jones as an odious, horrifying alien, which must have been the most powerful challenge of his acting career. It’s like someone deliberately set out to make the worst George Lucas movie they could possibly think of as a goof, only George Lucas actually made it.