Just a little announcement this week, cause we're saving our energy for a CANADA DAY SPECTACULAR next Friday!! Celebrate the 150th anniversary of Dominion Day with us in true Yesterladies style on June 30th, and then we'll bid you adieu until the fall, when we'll return with brand new episodes. (We just feel we need to put all our energies into patriotic activities this summer...) See you next week!. . .
Wonder Woman, aka Diana Prince, is having a bit of a moment right now, but she's been on the scene for a lot longer than you might think, fighting for the feminist cause since the day she sprang forth from the pen of noted psychologist, lie detector inventor, polygamist, and women's rights enthusiast William Moulton Marston. Originally hired by the head of DC Comics to make sure the new medium of comic books was psychologically healthy for America's kids, Marston ended up creating the most popular and well-known female superhero of all time, who in her storied career has run for president, launched Ms. Magazine, been a United Nations icon, and of course saved the world countless times. Great Hera! Further Reading:The Surprising Origin Story of Wonder Woman (Smithsonian)The Freaky, Fabulous, Feminist 'Secret History' Of Wonder Woman (NPR)The Last Amazon (New Yorker)Wonder Woman Designation as Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls (DC Comics). . .
Polyandry, the practice of one woman taking multiple husbands, has not been very common throughout human history, but anthropologists have recently discovered that it might be a little more common than previously thought! OK, that doesn't sound super exciting, we know, BUT the whys and wherefores of polyandry are actually pretty fascinating, and it turns out this particular style of marriage has cropped up throughout history, from ancient to modern times, around the world. Sometimes it just makes sense to marry more than one dude! Further Reading:Polyandry (Encyclopedia Britannica)When Taking Multiple Husbands Makes Sense (The Atlantic)A Survey of Non-Classical Polyandry (Human Nature). . .
Nefertiti is one of Ancient Egypt's most famous queens, ruling beside the Pharaoh with unprecedented equality. She and her husband turned the country on its head by instituting a new, controversial religion, and literally uprooting the capitol city, while redefining art and culture. But her death and burial are shrouded in mystery, and not even 21st century science and tech have been able to solve the riddle of just where, exactly, her notorious mummy ended up... Further Reading:Nefertiti (Biography.com)Nefertiti As Sensual Goddess (Harvard Gazette)Bust of Queen Nefertiti (Egyptian Museum Berlin). . .
The Filles du Roi ("Daughters of the King") were 800 intrepid young women, between the ages of 16 and 30, who left everything they knew behind in France to start a new life populating the colony of New France (Quebec), arriving in Canada between 1663 and 1673. They speed-dated their way to new husbands, and quickly got down to business, popping out enough babies to increase the colony's population by more than 150% in just a few years. Millions of North Americans now owe DNA to them, and we think they deserve more than a little applause for their bravery and strength of character. Bien joué, ladies! Further Reading:Immigration of the Filles du roi to New France (Government of Canada)The filles du roi (Canada: A People's History - CBC)Filles du Roi (Canadian Encyclopedia)"Filles du Roi": Come Visit Scenic New France in the 17th Century (The Toast). . .
The ancient Greeks might have come up with beauty contests (naturally), but modern America perfected them! An awful lot of stuff is crammed in to the history of the beauty pageant as we know it today: Atlantic City tourism,scholarships,segregation, Klingons, and yes, bikini glue. It's a controversial topic, but it's also awfully hard to resist the allure of a pageant queen! Further Reading:A Look Back at the Sexist, Racist History of Beauty Pageants (Racked)What's the History of Child Pageants? (Bustle)10 Bizarre Beauty Pageants from the Past (Listverse)I Went to the Miss America Pageant and Had a Full-On Existential Crisis (Bustle)Miss America Pageant (John Oliver, Last Week Tonight) VIDEO. . .
Amelia Earhart is certainly a well-known name, but you might not know as much as you think you do about this famous aviatrix! Did you know she nursed WWI soldiers in Toronto? That she was a social worker?A fashion designer? The aviation editor for Cosmopolitan magazine? There's so much to learn about this spunky role model for the liberated early 20th century woman, including the mysterious circumstances of her famous last flight and disappearance, and the ongoing search for the truth of what REALLY happened to Amelia on that fateful July day in 1937... Further Reading:Amelia Earhart (official website)Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum (official website)Missing Woman (The New Yorker)Amelia Earhart Didn't Die in a Plane Crash, Investigators Say (Washington Post)The Earhart Project (TIGHAR). . .
Constance Markievicz might have been born into aristocracy and privilege (and then married a Polish aristocrat...), but she had an unexpected burning passion for the plight of the Irish working class and the cause of Irish Nationalism. And that passion led her to load herself down with as many guns as she could find and take to the streets with her Republican comrades! It also led her to British Parliament, via a prison cell... Further Reading:Constance Markievicz Facts (YourDictionary.com)Constance Markievicz: A Self-Portrait? (Huffington Post)Constance Markievicz (Rejected Princesses)Countess Constance Markievicz (Easter 1916)Y.B. Yeats poem (Poetry Foundation). . .
Rani Abbakka Chowta was a small-time feudal queen in 16th century India, which is already kind of cool, but she became a folklore hero for her incredible success resisting Portuguese colonial domination. Abbakka led troops to battle herself and fought at their side, built up her small port kingdom into an increasingly valuable spice trade hot spot, and inspired people of various religions and castes to come together to stand up for Indian independence and nationalism. And she irritated the heck out of the Portuguese! Further Reading:The Intrepid Queen Rani Abbakka Devi of Ullal (Boloji.com)Abbakka Rani: The Unsung Warrior Queen (Sanskriti Magazine)The Admiral Queen (Swarajya Magazine)Abbakka Chowta (Revolvy). . .
Bertha Heyman loved to con people, and the more challenging the con, the more she loved it. She immigrated from Prussia in 1878, and then proceeded to take America (and Canada) by storm with a string of elaborate cons from coast to coast throughout the 1880s. She spent time in expensive hotels, draped in finery, and in prisons, where she plotted schemes from her cell. She might not have been strong in ethics, but she had moxie! Further Reading:Rogue's Corner: Bertha Heyman (The National Night Stick)'Big' Bertha Heyman, the Confidence Queen (San Francisco Examiner)"A Smart Female Swindler" (New York Times, 1881)"Bertha Heyman's Pride" (New York Times, 1883)"The Confidence Queen" (Daily Alta California, 1888). . .
What comes to mind when you picture a Harem in the Ottoman Empire? Gyration? Debauchery? Grapes? We're here to tell you that the reality was a lot more complicated, a lot less sexy, and a lot more interesting. And things really got cool in the Harem during the 16th and 17th centuries when the women of the court had more power and influence than ever before, and played the political game with panache. It was the Sultanate of Women, and they were kicking ass and building infrastructure! Further Reading:Sultanate of Women: Various Dimensions of Ottoman Harem (The Independent)The Sultanate of Women (Saints, Sisters, and Sluts)Feminine Power in the Ottoman Harem (Phillip Emeritz)The woman who oversaw 3 generations of the Ottoman Empire (Daily Sabah). . .
What's up with Viking shield maidens? Did they really exist, or were mythical beings like Valkyries all we really have? From Brunhilda to modern archeology, we're plunging into the historical battle over these hearty and terrifying women! Further Reading:Viking Women, Warriors, and Valkyries (British Museum)Viking Warrior Women: Did 'Shieldmaidens' Like Lagertha Really Exist? (Tor.com)Raining on Your Parade About Those Women Viking Warriors (Stuff You Missed in History Class)"May Thor Strike You Dead" Shield Maidens in History & Fiction (The Powder Room)Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries - video (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra). . .
Join us for some delightful Christmas lady tidbits! What do Irish women do on January 6th? What's the deal with "Baby It's Cold Outside"? What would feminist carols sound like? Enjoy a little women's history mixed in with your festive celebrations!Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all, from Heather and Dayna! Further Reading:Little Women's Christmas (Ireland Fun Facts)'Baby It's Cold Outside' was once an anthem for progressive women. What happened? (Washington Post)Baby It's Cold Outside - Neptune's Daughter (video)Baby It's Cold Outside - Gap commercial (video)Baby It's Cold Outside - The Muppets (video)Songs From a Christmas Album in Which More Than a Few Aims of Feminism Have Been Achieved (The Toast). . .
Beatrix Potter is most famous as the creator of a certain blue-jacketed bunny, but her life was so much bigger than Mr. Mcgregor's garden. She defied her parents and upper class British convention to marry well and settle down to a life of tea and drawing rooms - instead she became a shrewd merchandizer of her own work, and ultimately became a huge force for land conservation in the well-worth preserving Lake District. And she was an expert on mushrooms! What more could you ask for in life? Further Reading:About Beatrix Potter (PeterRabbit.com)Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature (bpotter.com)Beatrix Potter and the Lake District (Lake District National Park)Beatrix Potter: The Picture Letters (Morgan Library and Museum)Beatrix Potter, Mycologist (Brain Pickings)Emma Thompson Has Peter Rabbit's Jacket (Tonight Show video). . .
Henrietta Lacks didn't live nearly as long as she should have, yet in a way she clings to life to this day. Her cells live on as the famous and ubiquitous HeLa cells in labs and hospitals around the world, and have enabled a huge number of major medical breakthroughs over the past 60 years, while at the same time stirring up a lot of debate and controversy over the ethics of research consent. In death, as in life, Henrietta Lacks is a complicated lady, and one we all need to thank. Further Reading:The Lacks Family (official site)Henrietta Lacks' 'Immortal' Cells (Smithsonian)A Family Consents to a Medical Gift, 62 Years Later (New York Times)Henrietta Lacks: the mother of modern medicine (The Guardian). . .
Sojourner Truth walked to freedom and to a life of passionate and outspoken travelling activism, at a time when women, especially Black women, were supposed to stay quiet and stay at home. She found inspiration in her faith in God and we find inspiration in her refusal to be cowed by anyone! We're pretty sure you'll love her as much as we do; let Sojourner Truth help you find the courage of your convictions! Further Reading:Sojourner Truth: A Life and Legacy of Faith (SojournerTruth.org)Sojourner Truth (National Women's History Museum)This Far By Faith (PBS)The Narrative of Sojourner Truth (University of Pennsylvania). . .
Dear listener, we must gently break the news that we're taking a short break. Life events, and all that. But to ease your pain we're plugging a wonderful musical comedy event you might be interested in! Come see Dayna in Disney's Beauty and the Beast at Windsor's Chrysler Theatre November 18th-27th! (Tickets at windsorlight.com.)And then join us again in December for more Yesterladies, rested and fresher than ever!Au revoir!. . .
We're bringing you a Halloween treat this week:six horrifying murderesses from days of yore. A blood-thirsty countess, a maniacal nurse, a cruel midwife,and even a diabolical wrestler: these ladies prove that dudes don't have the serial killer market cornered!Happy Halloween! Further Reading:9 Notorious Female Serial Killers (The Lineup). . .
Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, better known as Madame de Pompadour, was probably the most successful and influential "official mistress" in western history. She captured Louis XV's attention, along with everybody else's, with her wit, style, charm, and boundless energy. From theatre to architecture, gardening to philosophy, encyclopedias to politics, this busy lady had her fingers in just about everything at Versailles and beyond. You'll just swoon for this fascinating seductress! Further Reading:Madame de Pompadour (biography.com)Madame de Pompadour (Chateau de Versailles)Portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour (Louvre)Jeanne Antoinette Marquise de Pompadour - Woman of Influence (The Culture Concept). . .
Susanna Moodie is well known to English lit majors from Cape Breton to Vancouver Island, but her full life story is even more interesting than the years depicted in her famous book Roughing It in the Bushsuggest. Abolitionist, successful writer, independent lady, Ontario brush clearer, and now Canadian icon: Susanna Moodie probably didn't mean to help define the Canadian identity, but she's right up there with Sir John and Gordon Lightfoot! Further Reading:Susanna Strickland Moodie (Dictionary of Canadian Biography)Roughing It in the Bush full text (Project Gutenberg)Susanna Moodie biography and poetry (Poetry Foundation). . .
We're making a sexy splash with our fall premiere, because haven't you always wanted to know just what ladies have been wearing under their street clothes throughout the ages? Linen strips, breast bags, knickerbockers, and girdles, we've got you covered! (Wink.) Further Reading:A History of Lingerie (Random History)Medieval Underwear (HistoryExtra)A Brief History of Underwear (Stylist)How to Undress a Victorian Lady in Your Next Historical Romance (Wall Street Journal). . .
Yesterladies is going on hiatus, but we have a really, really good reason... (You'll have to listen to the audio to find out what it is...)In the meantime, keep in touch, let's grab drinks by the pool, and then we'll see you in September, ready to jump back in with some fresh and awesome Yesterladies! Happy summer!!. . .
WHAT was going on in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692?? A pretty fair question! In the span of just a few months, a small colonist community went a little nuts and condemned and executed 20 people, mostly women, for witchcraft. At a time in Western history when witch hunts and trials had been winding down, they made a sudden big, if brief, comeback in New England. This week we give you the who, what, where, and when, as well as some pretty interesting theories on why, exactly, the whole mess happened. Frustrated teens? Mental illness?Could funky rye have played a part?? Historians are still divided! Further Reading:A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials (Smithsonian)Salem Witch MuseumSalem: Witchcraft Hysteria (National Geographic)Famous American Trials: The Salem Witchcraft Trials (UMKC School of Law)Conversion Disorder and Mass Hysteria (Huffington Post)Were The American Colonists Drugged During the Salem Witchcraft Trial (How Stuff Works). . .
What do ancient Egyptian kohl, nail polish in imperial China, and red lipstick during World War II have in common? They're three of the many ways makeup has been used in human history for practical and social purposes! There might just be more meaning behind the history of makeup than you would notice at first blush... Further Reading:A History of Cosmetics from Ancient Times (Cosmetics Info)How Makeup Works (How Stuff Works)Lisa Eldridge makeup history video (Teen Vogue)Vintage Looks, Icons, & Make-up History (Lisa Eldridge - video playlist)Mascara For the Gods: A History of Make-up - The Ancient World (Culture Shock)Mascara For the Gods: A History of Make-up - The Modern World (Culture Shock). . .
You've probably heard at least a little something about this intrepid interpreter who trekked with Lewis and Clark on their famous "Corps of Discovery" expedition in 1805, but there's a lot of myth and mystique surrounding the actual details of her life. This week we give you just the facts, ma'am, along with a look at the mystery and contentious debate around Sacagawea's death. This daughter of a Shoshone chief certainly made her mark on the history and national narrative of the storied American west. And she kept a remarkably cool head while doing it! Further Reading:Sacagawea biography (Biography.com)Inside the Corps: Sacagawea (PBS)Searching for Sacagawea (National Geographic)A Bittersweet Homecoming (Smithsonian)How the West Was Wrong: The Mystery of Sacagawea (BuzzFeed). . .
In 1985 cartoonist Alison Bechdel wrote a comic titled, "The Rule." And after a 20-year incubation period, the internet discovered it and went nuts! Much to Bechdel's surprise, her comic took on a life of its own as a female representation litmus test for movies, and all sorts of other media. This week Heather and Dayna trace the path of what has become known as the Bechdel Test, and discover some surprising movie passes and fails! Further Reading:"The Rule" (Dykes To Watch Out For - this is the original comic)Bechdel Test Movie List (BechdelTest.com)The Bechdel Test for Women in Movies (Feminist Frequency - video)The Bechdel Test Sets the Bar Too Low. Let's Write a New One. (Slate)What Really Makes a Film Feminist? (The Atlantic)Why The Bechdel Test Is More Important Than You Realize (io9). . .
We're pretty sure you'd be hard-pressed to find someone as brave, accomplished, well-traveled, selfless, business savvy,boundary-pushing, and just generally awesome as Mary Seacole, a Jamaican nurse best-known for pushing her way onto the battlefields of the Crimean War. She fought Cholera with scientific rigour, and refused to let racism stand in the way of her passions. We think you'll end up loving her as much as we do! Further Reading:Great Jamaicans: Mary Seacole 1805-1881 (Jamaicans.com)Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands (A Celebration of Women Writers)Another Florence Nightingale? The Rediscovery of Mary Seacole (The Victorian Web)What can Florence and Mary teach us about nursing today? (Nursing Standard - video)Mary Seacole and Florence Nightingale (Hark! A Vagrant - cartoon). . .
Iris Apfel is a 94-year-old "geriatric starlet" who has been turning heads and minds for decades. With indomitable style and grace this rare bird proves the truth of the phrase "you do you" and inspires everyone who crosses her path in the worlds of design, fashion, and culture, from presidents to students to people on the street. Business maven, style icon, teacher, designer, irrepressible old dame: Iris is one of a kind! Further Reading:Style Icon Iris Apfel on Her Starring Role in a New Documentary (Vogue)11 Inspiring Quotes from Fashion Icon Iris Apfel (Harper's Bazaar)Iris Apfel, Rare Bird (Interview Magazine)Iris Apfel, Fashion Darling. Aged 88. (The Guardian)Old World Weavers (The Peak of Chic)Iris, the documentary by Albert Maysles,can be found on Netflix Canada, as of this posting. . .
It turns out that the bikini has a surprisingly long and atomic history; to trace the roots of this iconic bit of swimwear Heather and Dayna head back to ancient Rome and watch women's bathing costumes shrink through the 19th and 20th centuries. Just in time for beach season! Further Reading:The History of the Bikini (Elle)A Brief History of the Bikini (Slate)Beautiful, But (Sometimes) Horrible - A History of Women's Swimwear (Refinery29)The Bikini's Inventor Guessed How Much it would Horrify the Public (Smithsonian)The Fraught History of Princess Leia's Infamous Bikini (Washington Post)Jessica Rey: The Evolution of the Swimsuit (Q Ideas - video). . .
In a special Mother's Day-themed episode Dayna and Heather give you the low-down on their own beloved grandmothers. Nurses! Wars! Guns! Priests! Nasty mothers-in-law! We often don't have to look past our own family histories to find spectacular yesterladies. Happy Mother's Day!. . .
Prince Edward Island is well-known for its red dirt, its potatoes, and for being the birth-place of a certain polite commonwealth nation. But Anne of Green Gablesis what draws in thousands of tourists from around the world every year. This week we look at Anne's witty, intrepid, and complicated creator, Lucy Maud Montgomery, one of Canada's best-known and most beloved literary heroes. Further Reading:L.M. Montgomery Institute (University of Prince Edward Island)Jane of Green Gables (Jane Austen Society of North America)Suicide secret of Anne of Green Gables author (The Guardian)Revisiting Anne of Green Gables and Her Creator (The Looking Glass). . .
Was there really an ancient society of brutal female warriors? Or was it all a scary-sexy invention of the Greek imagination, much like our modern obsession with vampires? Like a lot of history, the truth may be somewhere in between...and the modern postscript to the Amazon story is pretty intriguing! Further Reading:Amazons (The New International Encyclopedia)Amazon Warrior Women (Secrets of the Dead - documentary)The Amazon Women: Is There Any Truth Behind the Myth? (Smithsonian Magazine). . .
Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, and Diana Ross were school pals who went on to change the face of pop music in the US. From crazy hit streaks to diva behaviour, these ladies and their successors packed an awful lot of excitement into just a few short years. OooooOOOoooo baby love, the Supremes are a force to be reckoned with! Further Reading:The Supremes Biography (Rock & Roll Hall of Fame)Diana Ross and the Supremes (Rolling Stone)Supremes (Motown Museum)The Supremes: how we made Baby Love (The Guardian)The Best of The Supremes on the Ed Sullivan Show(YouTube)Motown 40: Diana Ross & The Supremes (YouTube). . .
Ching Shih is arguably the most successful pirate ever, and you've (probably) never heard of her. From humble beginnings in a floating brothel in Qing Dynasty China, she went on to masterfully command a massive fleet of ships, with the Empire and its allies at her mercy. We think she's a little scary, and a lot impressive! Further Reading:Ching Shih - from Prostitute to Pirate Lord (Ancient Origins)The Female Prostitute That Rose to Become One of the Most Powerful Pirates in History and Whose Armada Took on the Chinese, British, and Portuguese Navies... And Won (Today I Found Out)Ching Shih (1775-1844): Princess of the Chinese Seas (Rejected Princesses). . .
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