Sunday, 19 August 2018

My Top 5 Most Badass Women in History

The amount of respect I have for this incredible young lady is immense. When I heard a bit of her story in the news, I was gobsmacked and so inspired that she was only a couple of years older than me and yet had so much power and intelligence. Malala is a 21 year old woman from Palestine who has been a political activist for girl's educational rights since she was only 11. She wrote for the BBC about her experiences of being ruled by the Taliban where she was banned from getting an education. In protest to this, Malala bravely continued attending school and taking exams, only to be shot in the head on the way home from school by a masked man, as the Taliban were threatened by her courage and refusal to back down. She miracuously survived this major trauma, and has since went on to become one of the most well known political activists in the world, and has set up a charity to help other young girls get an education. Oh, and did I mention that she became the youngest person ever to win a Nobel Prize, and that she now studies Politics at Oxford? Malala is truly an inspiration to every young girl.

Having only recently become interested in artists and paintings, Frida's work was the first I came across that really drew me in, that evoked something in me. Frida was a Mexican, Mestiza woman who painted self-portraits. Frida was an individual in the purest sense of the word. Her art work often depicted her inner turmoil and most honest feelings, which was very new for the early 20th century. In a patriarchal society, women's feelings weren't often taken seriously and as a result women felt they had to keep their feelings to themselves - Frida turned this idea on its head, instead making the theme of her paintings represent her pain, her natural form, her political views and so much more. For someone who went through a lot of pain in her short lifetime, she was able to channel her emotions into beautiful, thought provoking art. She unapologetically showed the female form in its natural state, and portrayed it as beautiful rather than something shameful that should be changed. I admire how she challenged social and political ideas through her creative mind.

Maud Wagner isn't necessarily a household name, but it's someone you should definitely know about. Born in 1877, Maud started out as a perfomer in the Circus, and while touring, she met tattoo artist Gus Wagner, her future husband, who taught her the stick and poke tattoo technique. What I think is really cool is that shes the first known female tattoo artist in the United States. Although females in Native American culture since the 1500's which is important to note, it seems that through her travelling and unique displays of her body artwork during peromances, Maud helped normalize the idea of women having tattoos and in turn, control of their own body and the freedom to express themselves how they want. She was an extremely colourful human being, adorned with illustrations of trees, birds, snakes and women.

Mary is one of many Irish heroines, and she certainly rocked the boat. Educated at both Trinity in Dublin and Harvard in the US, she became a laywer who was extremely passionate about equality and human rights. In 1990, she became the first female President of Ireland and showed women across the nation that gender equality was becoming possible in Ireland, 'I was elected by the women of Ireland, who instead of rocking the cradle, rocked the system.' She began a revolution of women who no longer felt inclined to stick to traditional catholic values and be stay-at-home mother's while their husbands earned the money. She empowered many women to become independent, through legalising contraception and fighting for women's rights to sit on juries. Mary didn't do what was expected of her. She married a protestant; something extremely controversial at the time, as well as signing bills to help decriminalise the LGBT community. I admire Mary because she marched to the beat of her own drum and helped a lot of people in the process.

Hedy Lemarr is quite possibly one of the most underrated and underestimated women in history. Many may know her as the beautiful, hollywood starlet, but what a lot of people don't know is that she was also an innovator and inventor. Behind the scenes of her acting career, she was fascinated by science and often created experiments in her movie trailers. She invented something revolutionary - a radio communications system that helped guide underwater missiles in the US Navy so that they would be undetected by the enemy. This invention is in fact one of the biggest parts of our generation today - would you have ever thought that the basis of modern WiFi was created by an actress in the 40's? Unfortunately at the time, Hedy didn't really get credit for her incredible work as men thought she was better suited for the screen than for science, but she is really inspiring to look back at now as she shows how woman can be comfortable with their sexuality and express intelligence - something that's apparently mind-boggling to some men.


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