Way back in 1902, a French manufacturer released a set of trading cards designed by artist Albert Bergeret that imagined the "women of the future." The cards envisioned women stepping into roles that would have seemed fantastical to most ladies at the time: doctor, lawyer, politician, firefighter, even members of the military.
Although there's a pin-up quality to many of the images—they're showing an awful lot of arm, after all—there's something charming about this retrofuturistic attempt to expand the role of women in society, even if it was nothing but fantasy at the time. Indeed, fantasy and science fiction can often help us open our minds behind the limitations of the world we live in and imagine a better one instead. In the small and fashionable world of these cards, at least, women were given a more equal role in society, not to mention some spectacular hats.
Here are some of my favorites:
(Master of Arms)
Check out the full series of cards here. Read the rest
Stassa Edwards' "History of Female Anger" is something more than that: a history of how society deals with and neutralizes a recurring challenge.
Women's anger is a powerful force; coded as a dangerous and destabilizing, it wreaks havoc on blissful homes and placid communities. Stereotypes about female anger ubiquitous: the shrill wife, the crazy ex-girlfriend, feminazis, and the angry black woman. These phrases are familiar haunts, easily conjured when women's anger threatens to sabotage a certain sense of social order.
Here's an excerpt from Protection for Women by Jane Anger, published in 1589.
The desire that every man hath to shewe his true vaine in writing is unspeakable, and their mindes are so caried away with the manner, as no care at all is had of the matter: they run so into Rethorick, as often times they overrun the boundes of their own wits, and goe they knowe not whether. If they have stretched their invention so hard on a last, as it is at a stand, there remaines but one help, which is, to write of us women: If they may once encroch so far into our presence, as they may but see the lyning of our outermost garment, they straight think that Apollo honours them, in yeelding so good a supply to refresh their sore overburdened heads, through studying for matters to indite off.
More than 400 years later, "they run into rhetoric as they overrun the bounds of their own wits" is a perfect description of men on twitter. Read the rest
Canadian historian turned webcomics god Kate Beaton is back with her second Hark! A Vagrant! collection: Step Aside, Pops
. Never before has history been so bitterly funny.
After Engineer Isis Wenger at OneLogin appeared in a recruiting ad, sexist comments about her appearance (e.g., "you don't look like an engineer") inspired the hashtag #iLookLikeAnEngineer. Read the rest
Back then, the women themselves were sometimes called “computers.” They used these machines to compute.
You've come a long way, baby.
Read the rest
Enjoy ogling these broads' gams, and get a load of those ginormous mainframes.
Elly writes, "We're running a Kickstarter to try to give the feminist-bicycle-scifi-about-zombies genre a big leg up."
Read the rest
“I have just endured one of the largest trolling attacks in history,” writes Reddit's recently-departed interim CEO Ellen Pao in a Washington Post op-ed today. “And I have just been blessed with the most astonishing human responses to that attack.” Read the rest
The Tumblr Feminist Mad Max combines the feminist charms of the Ryan Gosling “Hey Girl” meme with the feminist charms of Mad Max: Fury Road. Read the rest
In the great tradition of Tumblr mash-up memes, Feminist Lisa Frank juxtaposes neon animals and quotes by Gloria Steinem, Shonda Rhimes, and more. Read the rest
Chief Technology Officer of the United States, Megan Smith, stopped by the Charlie Rose show recently and revealed a starting fact Read the rest
When Joss Whedon took down his Twitter account, speculation ranged widely: was it because of feminists attacking him over Avengers 2's portrayal of Black Widow? Nope, reports Adam B. Vary.
“That is horseshit,” he told BuzzFeed News by phone on Tuesday. “Believe me, I have been attacked by militant feminists since I got on Twitter. That’s something I’m used to. Every breed of feminism is attacking every other breed, and every subsection of liberalism is always busy attacking another subsection of liberalism, because god forbid they should all band together and actually fight for the cause.
“I saw a lot of people say, ‘Well, the social justice warriors destroyed one of their own!’ It’s like, Nope. That didn’t happen,” he continued. “I saw someone tweet it’s because Feminist Frequency pissed on Avengers 2, which for all I know they may have. But literally the second person to write me to ask if I was OK when I dropped out was [Feminist Frequency founder] Anita [Sarkeesian].”
He's just sick of Twitter, "the least quiet place I’ve ever been in my life." He praises feminists for standing up to bullshit on Twitter—and admits to frustration at being accused of misogyny for not living up to feminist 'litmus tests' judging his own commitment to the cause.
Joss Whedon Calls “Horsesh*t” On Reports He Left Twitter Because Of Militant Feminists Read the rest
Thank god for the dudes of Portlandia: "I just wish there was a way for us to be validated for being such great feminists." Read the rest
BitchTapes curates woman-centric mixtapes. The most recent, Female Drummers Who Rock, is a worthy list. Who would you add? Tell us! Read the rest
Bravo, Intel! The chipmaker, after being spooked by adolescent misogynists into dropping ads at websites critical of gamer culture, is atoning in style: a $300m drive to support women and minorities in tech
. Nick Wingfield:
Intel, which was caught off guard by the ensuing controversy over its actions, eventually resumed advertising on the site. Mr. Krzanich said he used the incident as an opportunity to think more deeply about the broader issue of diversity in the tech industry. The issue resonated with him personally. “I have two daughters of my own coming up on college age,” he said. “I want them to have a world that’s got equal opportunity for them.” Read the rest
Back in the mid-90s, late game maker Theresa Duncan made some unconventional, ground-breaking CD games based on the everyday experiences of young girls. There's now a Kickstarter campaign to bring them back and ensure her seminal work isn't lost to history:
This project, by the NYC-based digital art nonprofit Rhizome, will fund the process of putting three games directed by Duncan—Chop Suey (1995, co-created with Monica Gesue), Smarty (1996), and Zero Zero (1997)—online, for the first time ever. With your help, they will be playable in any modern browser via emulation and available for free, for a minimum of one year.
Throughout my career as a video game critic, and in recent years a feminist one, I've noticed we tend to treat the advent of girls and women's stories as novel. To lots of us, they are -- for example I'd never read a syllabus on feminist games
, or seen work like my friend Nina Freeman's vignette games
(Nina just successfully defended her thesis and got a Masters of Science in Integrated Digital Media from NYU, congrats Nina), til my adulthood.
But the games business' particular fixation on newness and "innovation" mustn't divorce us from our obligation to history -- that's what makes Rhizome's work with Duncan's oeuvre more important now than ever.
Read Jenn Frank on Theresa Duncan's memory here, or her piece about Duncan's Chop Suey here. For more on girlhood and the early days of games, here I am in the Guardian on Rachel Weil's feminist art. Read the rest