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Liz Shaw was one of my favorite companions. For whatever reason, I remember being fascinated by her red hair (I was a very small girl when I first watched Doctor Who). Growing up she ranked among my top 5 favorite companions on Doctor Who. She was smart. She was a scientist. She was not afraid to speak her mind, regardless of whether the recipient was the Doctor or Brigadier. She was a good role model for a little girl to look up to.

Another actor portraying a great companion from the Pertwee Era is gone. Part of the magic behind a character is the talent of the actress who portrays her. Caroline John did a fine job of bringing her to life. Rest in peace.
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Right now in the United States, women's rights are under heavy attack. We need everyone we can to speak out on the issue. And Lisa Brown did just that.

During a debate about the passage of a bill that would restrict all abortions after 20 weeks in Michigan, Brown took the floor saying: "I have not asked you to adopt and adhere to my religious beliefs. Why are you asking me to adopt yours? And finally, Mr. Speaker, I'm flattered that you're all so interested in my vagina, but 'no' means 'no.'"

Eloquent and to the point. And for her bravery, the house Republicans decided to silence her for her use of the word "vagina." Tell me how this is not misogynist bullshit?

While the Republicans have barred her from speaking on the floor, they have not silenced her. She is speaking out against their decision. She has accurately defended her use of "vagina" as a valid medical term. And she continues to use the scandalous v-word. And in response to her use of the word, she had quipped, "If they are going to legislate my anatomy, I see no reason why I cannot mention it."

In other words, she is not staying silent.

This is a very serious issue. For years women have been made to feel ashamed of their body parts and functions. In the western world, girls would grow up not knowing what their periods were and would find themselves scared shitless one day to find themselves bleeding from the genitals, only to be smacked when they told their mother what was happening. Rather than feeling free to use an anatomically correct name for their vaginas like they would abdomen or tongue, they would refer to their vaginas as "down there." The vagina is still associated with being dirty, and some women are afraid to touch it or think about it.

This is not good for women's health. Women who aren't comfortable touching their genitals to keep them clean end up with infections. Fear of talking about private parts keeps them from seeing a doctor when they suspect something might be wrong. That male legislatures are censoring a woman for speaking about this is extremely alarming.

Which is why I am glad that Lisa Brown is not staying silent. She's giving interviews and she's not backing down from her words. She's fighting, and I hope that the people of Michigan stand behind her. Right now we need more Lisa Browns in the house and senate in all states. I wish her luck and wish her well.
alexeia_drae: (river eye patch)
I was probably six or seven when Ann Richards was elected as Governor of Texas. I remember the air of excitement in my house. My parents were thrilled that for the first time since they started voting, their preferred candidate had won. At the time, I really didn't understand the difference between Democrat or Republican. I was just glad that the woman my parents supported had won. Now, some twenty years later and stuck with Governor Good Hair for the last century or so, I am able to appreciate Gov. Richards better and wish to have her back.

There's a lot of things about Texas that makes me rant and rave with anger. Our strong, feisty, intelligent women ain't one of them. Gov. Richards was a trailblazing feminist in a land where people still clung to antiquated notions that women should stay home and wait on their husbands. Though she was not the first female governor of Texas, she was the first one to win it in her own right. It was a hard fought election, but Gov. Richard's experience and ability to turn a phrase combined with Jim Mattox's toxic and sexist campaign against her, enabled her to win the state.

Ann Richards said: I've been tested by fire and the fire lost. )
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I've written about Anthy a few times before, so I was a little reluctant to write about her as my first fictional woman. The thing is, she embraces so many of the themes surrounding women, both real and fictional, that I realized that she HAD to be the fictional woman I started out with.

Revolutionary Girl Utena is a very layered series that I could write an 800 page book deconstructing. So I'm going to strip it down to this. In Utena, you can be a prince, a princess, or a witch. Only men are princes, and princes act. Princes rescue princesses. Women can only be princesses or witches. Princesses don't act. That prince has to do things for them. The witch is the woman who acts. In Anthy's case, she acted by saving a prince's life. And she was horrifically punished for it.

And this mirrors real life. To this day, in politics it is viewed as more acceptable for a woman to go into it because her husband did. And the media is more favorable to president's wives who spend their time decorating the White House and out of the Oval Office. Hilary Clinton was given hell for being active in politics.

MAJOR SPOILERS for Revolutionary Girl Utena. If you haven't seen it, go do it now! And this is one of the few series where I will insist you watch it in the original Japanese with subtitles. Watch it! Watch it! )
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The archetypal Cinderella is the woman who is impoverished and lifted into a life of ease and leisure by a handsome prince. Not J.K. Rowling. Using her talents, her creativity, and her gift for storytelling she lifted herself from living on social security to living life as a multi-millionaire! Who says you need a man to climb the economic ladder?

Having a lot of money is not necessarily a mark of character. What you do with that money is. And Ms. Rowling has done wonderful things with hers. She gives money to many charities and advocated on the behalf of children in Romanian orphanages.

She has attained great wealth and status, yet in her interviews she seems so down to earth. She is generous to her fans and encouraging to them.

Of course, the reason she's famous is not because she's a good person or a philanthropist, but because she is a good writer. Harry Potter is so absorbing, and I look forward to reading the new book she is releasing.

Reading Harry Potter actually helped me through a trying time. When I was pregnant I was very sick. I was constantly nauseous and I could only hold down water and a bit of mashed potatoes. I lost 30 lbs in one month. Throughout my third month the nausea was constantly churning in my stomach, making me miserable. I think it would be an exaggeration to say that the only way I got through it was by re-reading Harry Potter, but it certainly made one week out of that month of hell more pleasant. Yes. In one week I sat and read all seven novels. It was the only thing that kept my mind off how sick and miserable I felt. Watching tv did nothing. Playing The Sims was not distracting. Reading Harry Potter was the only thing that was absorbent enough to distract me from my misery. That is some good writing.

When a story transports you to another world, makes you forget your own and your troubles, compels you to care about the characters as though they are real people, and leaves you wanting more even when everything is wrapped up, you know you have found a jewel. Some people think Ms. Rowling is really a witch and knows real spells. It's easy to see how people could get so confused, because her writing is truly magical.
alexeia_drae: (Default)
When deciding who to start with, there was little question that it would by Hypatia of Alexandria. I first read about her life when I was in my early teens and quickly adopted her as a favored role model. A martyr to rational and free inquiry, even though she was a pagan and a Neoplatonist philosopher.

She lived during the late 4th century, early 5th, so what records we do have about her life are sketchy and sometimes conflicting. What we do know is she was one of the first female astronomers and mathematicians. She taught astronomy and philosophy in Alexandria. She was also influential with the Imperial Roman Prefect, Orestes.

This is long. )
alexeia_drae: (Default)
First, glad to know I wasn't the only one who thought LJ seems rather dead.

{Take the 100 Things challenge!}

Mine will be 100 Awesome Real Life, Historical, and Fictional Women


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