women’s history



There are very few instances when I get to write about women, feminism (sssshhhhh, don’t tell anyone), history, and cycling all at once. When I get to do those on a day when I also get to go on a bike ride, I’m pretty much living the life.

This week I profiled four women cyclists in history who were good, and not just good for a girl.

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Readers-

It’s women’s history month and while I am busy concocting an unbelievable original piece that will knock your nylons down, I’m recycling a piece I wrote for GreatHistory.com a couple of years ago. (Hey, at least I’m up front about it.)

Stay tuned for my masterpiece, but in the meantime, why not read up on the F word?


Badass female protagonists are the new black when it comes to television shows.  A trend which had its roots in TNT’s The Closer and Fox’s Bonessmart, capable female crimestoppers are ruling the airwaves both on network and cable television.

With premiere week upon us, one can see more powerful women in CW’s Nikita, a remake of the cult classic starring Bridget Fonda so many years ago.  Other fresh female faces of force make themselves known through Annie Frost (nice name), the badass US Marshal who, in the opening scenes of the pilot episode of Chase, single-handedly takes down and cuffs a fugitive.  Returning to us this fall is Castle’s homocide cop Kate Beckett, the ice queen who’s followed around longingly by the boyish Nathan Fillion, a playful foil to the serious Beckett.

Chase joins TNT’s Rizzoli and Isles, another chick-cops are cool babefest, which is brought to you by the ghosts of Cagney and Lacey past and Annie Walker, the below-the-radar hottie CIA spy who sometimes unwittingly outsmarts and outmuscles the bad guys in USA’s Covert Affairs.

Smart, policey-gals are everywhere, sometimes following protocol, sometimes breaking the rules, always winning the fight against evil, and always looking good while doing so. I’m delighted and dismayed (dambivalent) at these heroines: glad cuz they’re always on the right side, trying to do the right thing; unglad cuz they’re perfect size fours who can run in heels.

Then there’s Holly Hunter. You might remember her from such films as Raising Arizona, O Brother Where Art Thou, Home for the Holidays, and The Incredibles.  But for three years, TNT did a brave thing: it cast Holly Hunter in the role of Oklahoma City Detective Grace Hanadarko, a crimestopper with all the serious flaws her name suggests.  Where she excels in her professional life she fails in her personal life.  She’s got a guardian angel to guide her, but episode after episode she continues on the same destructive pattern of drinking too much, smoking too much, hating too much, and sleeping with a married man.  The show has explicit sexual content and can be very violent, which is a nice change from the can’t-get-a-date (too-busy-too-cold-too-emotionally-unavailable) stereotype of television female crimestoppers who leap tall buildings in a single bound without breaking a heel.

Detective Hanadarko is a woman in crisis, constant crisis, and needs the protection and guidance of her guardian angel. And yet she’s still very good at her job.

Alas, after four seasons TNT has pulled the drama, and we’re left with crimestopping females (cool!) with perfect hair, perfect nails, perfect bodies, and a strict moral code (uncool…).  We need imperfects like Hanadarko around to remind us it’s ok to be a mess.

Just as long as you’re trying.


Let’s face it. Pirates are cool. And historical women are cool.

So female pirates from history are the coolest, like icy cool. My next installment for the folks over at HistoryNet.com features three women, from ancient time to the Elizabethan Era, whose nautical prowess brought them infamy.

Without eye patches, even.

Read about these historical female pirates.


Maybe it’s just the places I frequent, but the collaborators in getting the word out about Women’s History Month is doing the viral thing on the interwebs.

The folks over at Alexander Street, who maintain a scholarly database of all things female and social movements from the years 1600-2000 are tossing their hat in by offering free access to the likes of you and me.

If you’re doing a school project or are just plain interested, they’ve got archives, documents, biographies, and for the visual learners, graphics and tables. And lessons for teachers! Yay!

Check out Alexander Street


Readers-

To commemorate Women’s History Month I wrote a mini-series for the connoisseurs of history over at HistoryNet.com.

You can find all articles on Women’s History under Magazines/All history topics, then scroll down to Topics Sorted by Subject Matter. Click on Women’s History and poof! there the miniseries be.

Today’s installment includes the resume, as I imagined it, of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France, and then, when it suited her, Queen of England.

Read the entire Women’s History series.

Read about Heroines of Women’s History, including my beloved Eleanor.


A couple of days in March are famous: the Ides of March (thanks for the warning, Teiresias!) and St. Patrick’s Day (the Irish snake guy).

But the entire month of March is devoted to celebrating the women in history who made in impact – whether on their country, their cause, or maybe even just their family. The National Women’s History Project’s theme this year for Women’s History Month is Writing Women Back Into History.

I attempt to do just that for the fine folks over there at HistoryNet.com. Please, go check me out and if you feel inclined, leave a comment.

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