Saturday, July 21, 2018

New York Museum Sorts Through Its Collections to Highlight 15 "Rebel Women" of the 1800s

According to Abigail Weinberg of AM New York, the show features 15 women who rejected ideals of Victorian propriety. Individuals are grouped into three categories—political, working and professional—and include a mixture of famous and lesser-known figures.

Amongst the better-known honorees are Anthony, fellow suffragette leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton and investigative reporter Elizabeth Cochrane, better known by the pen name Nellie Bly. These women stand alongside relatively obscure contemporaries, from Susan Smith McKinney-Steward, one of the first African-American doctors, to pickpocket Sophie Lyons (who stole from wealthy men in Robin Hood-esque escapades). Other women who made the cut include Ann Trow Lohman, a female physician who provided abortion services under the name Madame Restell, and Elizabeth Jennings Graham, an African-American woman who challenged segregation on public streetcars.

Charlotte Yonge: A woman of some importance

Charlotte Mary Yonge (1823-1901) was immensely well-known in Victorian England. The young Virginia Woolf was a fan, and, indeed, took a copy of The Heir of Redclyffe with her on her honeymoon to Italy — rather a pessimistic choice, given that its hero dies of fever on his honeymoon, in a spa in the Valtellina.

Yonge’s writings — more than 80 works of fiction and countless textbooks, histories, and devotional works — were staples of the literary experience of adolescents between the 1840s and the First World War. 

In the heyday of her reputation, in the 1850s and ’60s, Yonge’s novels for adults were widely admired; but, by the end of her life, she had outlived many of her readers, and was remembered only as a writer of children’s books. In the 20th century, Victorian culture went, on the whole, out of fashion, and, along with others, Yonge’s works almost disappeared from view.

read more here @ Church Times and @ Project Gutenburg


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Could these be the faces of the murdered wife and son of China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huang?

Chinese researchers have reconstructed the faces of a young man and woman who could be one of the many sons and consorts of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China – and who may also have been victims of one of the most notorious and gruesome purges in Chinese history.

The dismembered body of the young woman, who was about 20 years old, was found in a group of around 100 tombs in the emperor’s mausoleum in Xian – home to the famed terracotta army.
Image result for facial reconstruction Qin Shi Huang
All the bodies in the tomb are young females and the archaeologists believe these women could be the emperor’s consorts and their servants, judging from the class of the graves and burial items found there.

read more here @ South China Morning Post

Was This Powerful Chinese Empress a Feminist Trailblazer?

She entered the world of an ancient empire as a teenage concubine, chosen by the emperor to share his bed for her good looks, immaculate comportment and, above all, her ability to sing.
Image result for cixi
The male-dominated court was a swirl of intrigue, forced suicides and poisonings. Eunuchs assigned to the emperor prepared her for sex with the ruler, undressing her and carrying her to his bed. After the Emperor Xianfeng’s death, she governed in the name of young male heirs — from behind a screen.

Strong women in China are often portrayed as power-hungry, and sometimes irrational, and are notably absent from the highest ranks of government. There is no Hillary Clinton figure in contemporary China (the real Mrs. Clinton is vilified by the government for talking about human rights in the country), or an Angela Merkel, who has stood up to China on trade.


read more here @ New York Times

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Monday, July 9, 2018

How Bad Was Jezebel?

For more than two thousand years, Jezebel has been saddled with a reputation as the bad girl of the Bible, the wickedest of women. This ancient queen has been denounced as a murderer, prostitute and enemy of God, and her name has been adopted for lingerie lines and World War II missiles alike. But just how depraved was Jezebel?

In recent years, scholars have tried to reclaim the shadowy female figures whose tales are often only partially told in the Bible. Rehabilitating Jezebel’s stained reputation is an arduous task, however, for she is a difficult woman to like. She is not a heroic fighter like Deborah, a devoted sister like Miriam or a cherished wife like Ruth. Jezebel cannot even be compared with the Bible’s other bad girls—Potiphar’s wife and Delilah—for no good comes from Jezebel’s deeds. These other women may be bad, but Jezebel is the worst.

Yet there is more to this complex ruler than the standard interpretation would allow. To attain a more positive assessment of Jezebel’s troubled reign and a deeper understanding of her role, we must evaluate the motives of the Biblical authors who condemn the queen. Furthermore, we must reread the narrative from the queen’s vantage point. As we piece together the world in which Jezebel lived, a fuller picture of this fascinating woman begins to emerge. The story is not a pretty one, and some—perhaps most—readers will remain disturbed by Jezebel’s actions. But her character might not be as dark as we are accustomed to thinking. Her evilness is not always as obvious, undisputed and unrivaled as the Biblical writer wants it to appear.

read more here 

Grave of Medieval Bulgarian Princess 'Built Into' Foundations of Stone Church

Article (June 2016) from Archaeology in Bulgaria:
The grave of a female aristocrat from the Shishman Dynasty which ruled the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396) in its last few decades before it was conquered by the Ottoman Turks has been discovered during the excavations of the old church St. George near the town of Trudovets, Botevgrad Municipality, in Northwest Bulgaria.

The now defunct St. George stone church near Trudovets is believed to have been part of a medieval monastery, and still has fragments of medieval frescoes. On the archaeological site of the stone church, locals have found a marble pillar and EarlyByzantine coins from the 5th-6th century, leading scholars to hypothesize that the monastery which existed there may have dated back to Early Christian times.
The St. George Church near Trudovets, Botevgrad Municipality, is in a dire need of restoration. Photo: National Museum of History
The newly discovered grave of a young princess proves that the Botevgrad Valley was also part of their estates because a ring found together with the other female adornments in the funeral inventory features a monogram of the Shishman family.

read more about this amazing discovery here @ Archaeology in Bulgaria

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Dearth of female Nigerian leaders

The only condition necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”, so says the great Irish philosopher, Edmund Burke (1729-1797). Looking at this enduring aphorism in reverse, one might entertain the thought that, perhaps, the only condition necessary for the perpetuation of misrule by men in Nigeria is for good women to do nothing. How did we arrive at a junction where the minority (i.e. male) are perpetuating misrule and violence on the majority (i.e. female) for so long and with such reckless abandon? How come men in this country (as elsewhere) assume that positions of leadership and dominance are their birth-right, while the female folk clasp their palms in resignation? How come our religious leaders in this country continue to preach the virtue of “submissiveness” to the female gender in acquiescence to the perpetrators of violence and oppression against them; the maniac male in their midst?

read more here @ Punch Newspapers

Church reproposes Order of Virgins 50 years after its restoration

In 2020 it will be 50 years since Pope Paul VI revived the ancient Order of Virgins. Consecrated virgins now number approximately 5,000 and live in every part of the world. The Prefect for the Dicastery for Consecrated Life, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, says that the new Instruction Ecclesiae Sponsae imago is the first Document to address the make-up and discipline of this form of consecration. It is also a response to the interest shown in this revived vocation. It focuses specifically on its place in the Church’s life, and the necessary discernment and formation required, he says.

read more here @ Vatican News

An increasing number Catholic women are taking life-long chastity vows in order to “dedicate themselves” to God, according to the Vatican.

The Holy See has issued new guidance on consecrated virginity in response to growing interest across the world in the little-known spiritual “vocation”.

Consecrated virgins are unmarried women who pledge to remain celibate for their entire lives, eschewing romantic or sexual relationships to devote themselves exclusively to being mystical “brides of Christ”.

Space Coast women aviators honor memory of those who flew before

Women fly.      They pilot large and small, old and new, private and commercial, military and civilian aircraft. The likes of Amelia Earhart, Jackie Cochran, Bessie Coleman, Eileen Collins and Tammie Jo Shults are but a few notables who share this heritage. 
Image result for female wasp pilots
No surprise, then, that a group of women aviators like the Spaceport 99s should have become local custodians of the memory of the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots, the WASP.

The WASP, 1,074 women attached to the United States Army Air Forces as civilians from 1942 to late 1944, flew more than 60 million miles during World War II, transporting every type of military aircraft. They towed targets for anti-aircraft gunnery practice, simulated strafing missions and transported cargo, and before their time in service ended, 38 WASP members lost their lives and one was missing. 

They did it to free male pilots for military combat, but were not themselves formally military pilots; they were granted veteran status 32 years after the war’s end. Fifty-four years after it was over, they finally were formally recognized, when President Obama awarded members the Congressional Gold Medal.

read more 
@ 99s