Saturday, May 18, 2019

Gentleman Jack | the real history behind BBC1's drama about Anne Lister

From Radio Times
Gentleman Jack
The real history behind BBC1's Gentleman Jack about Anne Lister's coded diaries starring Suranne Jones and Sophie Rundle.

“Anne Lister is unique and fascinating,” Sally Wainwright begins in the foreword to Anne Choma’s biography, Gentleman Jack. “She is known primarily as a diarist, and as a great lesbian lover who recorded her adventures with other women in secret code, but there are a myriad other things to know about this extraordinary woman.”

The screenwriter’s new BBC1 drama Gentleman Jack gives us a window into a crucial moment in Anne Lister’s life, introducing us to Suranne Jones as the 19th century English landowner. But in case that leaves you hungry for more, we’ve answered some of the big questions about the true story behind the drama…

read more @ Radio Times

Ancient, Pregnant Native American Woman Who Was Shot and Killed by Arrows Discovered by Archaeologists

From Newsweek
An archaeologist in Pennsylvania is starting to unravel the mysterious burial of an ancient, pregnant Native American woman who appears to have met a violent end.

Bioarchaeologist Robyn Wakefield-Murphy found four arrowheads in the torso of a woman who hailed from Pennsylvania's Monongahela archaeological tradition. Wakefield-Murphy described her research in a poster at a meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in March.

The young woman’s bones were originally uncovered in the 1950s excavation of a site in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The Monongahela, who lived from about 1050 C.E. to 1635 C.E., according to Ohio History Central, built relatively large villages featuring dome-shaped houses. They cultivated crops like maize and would have traded with other Native American groups. Beyond western Pennsylvania, the Monongahela tradition spread to parts of eastern Ohio, western Maryland and West Virginia. The group is named for the Monongahela River that cuts through West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania.
Image result for Monongahela native people
read more here @ Newsweek

Bones unidentified for centuries may belong to one of England’s most historically important queens

Image result for emma of normandy
Early England’s forgotten monarchs are set for a high-profile comeback – more than 1,000 years after they died. Scientists are investigating the remains of up to 18 Anglo-Saxon kings and queens to try to determine their identities, potentially including the pivotal figure of Queen Emma. Emma of Normandy was the wife of two kings and the mother of two others, and one of the most significant figures of late Anglo-Saxon England.

The trove is believed to be the largest assemblage of medieval royal skeletal material ever scientifically analysed anywhere in the world. The detailed scientific investigation into the bones will take several years to complete and should enable scientists to determine, in some cases, which bones belonged to which kings.

read more here @ The Independent

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Minnette de Silva: Sri Lanka’s first woman architect built a lasting legacy in a man’s world

From Scroll.in

Dismissed for being a woman, Minnette de Silva still paved the way for modern Sri Lankan architecture.

A woman of many firsts, her single biggest feat is also one that has been largely forgotten: she was Sri Lanka’s very first female architect.


De Silva was also the first Asian woman to become an associate of the prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects, and liked to refer to herself as “Asian Woman Architect”, for its defiant ring in a male-dominated profession.

Despite being a visionary architect, de Silva’s career was stymied by her reputation as difficult and unreliable. According to those who knew her working style, de Silva had a creative temperament but struggled with time management. Her projects would often take a lot of time to complete, making it difficult for her to retain clients.

read more here @ Scroll.in


A brief history of vaginal douching, and why women used disinfectants as a contraceptive

From Inews

According to a market research report published by Technavio, the ‘vaginal odour’ business is expected to increase by five per cent every year for the next five years, which will translate to an annual incremental growth of $1,000,000 [£764,000].

Business may be booming, but it stinks. Have you ever wondered why the vulva requires a multi-billion-dollar industry and a range of specialist cleaning equipment to stay match fit when the penis can make do with a swill in the sink? Supermarkets do not stock peen clean, bollock balm, or scrotal soap, and yet ‘feminine hygiene’ products can fill an aisle.

Dr Jennifer Gunter, gynaecologist and author of ‘The Vagina Bible’, campaigns tirelessly to dismantle myths around vulval health. When she’s not shining a light on jade love eggs, she’s calling out the quacks who believe the vagina needs steam cleaning. “The myth of the dirty vagina or rogue uterus has been around since the time of Hippocrates,” she explains. “Medicine knows the vagina does not need cleaning or steaming, but patriarchal tropes are effective. As is scaring women about their normal, healthy vulvas and vaginas.” Sadly, there is a lot of money to be made by convincing women they stink, and the ‘vaginal odour business’ has a very long history indeed.


read more here @ Inews and @ Daily Mail

Japan's shrinking royal family reignites debate on women's role

From Nikkei Asian Review:
The ascension of the new emperor has left Japan with just three eligible heirs to the throne, raising serious concerns about stable Imperial succession and likely rekindling a debate about expanding the role of royal women, including allowing female emperors.

But such a change is firmly opposed by traditionalists within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe remains reluctant to embrace the idea, making an immediate change unlikely.



The 2017 legislation that permitted now-Emperor Emeritus Akihito to abdicate called for the government to consider ways to address the succession issue "speedily" after the law's implementation and report its findings to parliament. The legislation specifically mentions the possibility of allowing women to remain in the Imperial family after marriage and form their own houses.



read more here @ Nikkei Asian Review and @ Citizen Digital

The Royal Mistress: Often the Most Powerful Person in a King’s Court

From HISTORY
It was pretty common for kings to have a mistress in those days, in part because marriages were arranged for political gain and not personal companionship. “They would often be paired with someone who they may not have known very well or they may not have liked,” says Danièle Cybulskie, author of the forthcoming book Life in Medieval Europe: Fact and Fictions. Adultery was still frowned upon, and kings could be deposed if they appeared to act too immorally, but people mostly tolerated a king having one mistress at a time.

Diane de Poitiers visiting sculptor Jean Goujon. 

read more here @ HISTORY

Examining Claims that Bring Into Question Amelia Earhart's Piloting Skills

One of the most enduring mysteries of the 20th century and beyond: What happened to Amelia Earhart?

81 years after her disappearance during a flight over the massive Pacific Ocean, while attempting to circumnavigate the globe, the legend endures. Yet many historians believe that not only was the American icon an overrated pilot, but she wasn’t in the same class as some of the other female pilots in the early days of aviation.


Simply put, Earhart’s actual skill at 10,000 feet couldn’t quite match her sheer courage and talent for creating headlines. Early on, Earhart showed an alarming propensity for wrecks, though twisted metal and bruised ego aside, the mishaps weren’t serious.

read more @ The Vintage News

Monday, April 22, 2019

How Women Are Leading the Sudanese Revolution

From Common Dreams
Since December 2018, protests in Sudan that sparked over the tripled price of bread have turned into nationwide protests against the nearly three-decade rule regime of Omar Al Bashir. 

Bashir’s government has used repressive tactics and measures to quell the protests. More than 40 protesters have been killed, hundreds detained and tortured.

The brutal response did not stop women from placing themselves firmly at the heart of the protests.
They lead the march chanting a Zagrouda, an ululation commonly used by women in the Arab world to express celebration.

During the month of March, women wore the traditional white thobe in support of the protests and women’s rights. Social media platforms filled with pictures of female protesters wearing the white robe, using the hashtag #whitemarch  (#مارس_الابيض)

Women who protest regularly face police brutality. Authorities have fired tear gas and live ammunition and have even threatened with rape. Women have also reportedly been beaten, their faces have been branded and their hair cut off inside detention centers. Every day new footage of Sudanese women getting beaten and humiliated circulates on social media.

read more here @ Common Dreams