Category: Feminism

Sister Rosetta Tharpe


Living in Cleveland means hearing all the coverage every year surrounding the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees and winners (I’ve yet to actually go to the museum, but fear not, it’s on my Cleveland bucket list). This year’s nominees included regular occupiers of my playlists Radiohead and Rage Against the Machine, but it also finally included Sister Rosetta Tharpe, whose absence until this year was one of the biggest reoccurring snubs.

“The Original Soul-Sister” and “The Godmother of Rock and Roll”, popular in the 30’s and 40’s, was known for her masterful blend of Gospel, Blues, and Rock. Her 1944 “Down by the Riverside” was selected for the National Recording Registry of the U.S. Library of Congress in 2004 and shows Rosetta absolutely shredding it at around the 1min30s mark. Here’s to hoping that she gets in this year, she certainly deserves it!

Claudia Rankine



When I received an email with that as the header from my Alma Mater The University of Dayton, I was instantly keyed in. Currently (October 4-7), UD is hosting the 2017 Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference. It’s FemRhet’s 20th anniversary and this is the first time that it has taken place on a Catholic university campus. Over 400 scholars, activists, and advocates for feminism will descend on campus, with Claudia Rankine giving the Keynote on Friday, October 6th.

Claudia Rankine is a Professor of Poetry at Yale University and author of five collections of poetry, two plays, and several edited anthologies. She has received multiple awards for her works including the 2016 MacArthur “Genius” Award and the NAACP Image Award. Cool fact, her book Citizen: An American Lyric is the ONLY book to be doubly nominated for the National Book Award in cultural criticism and poetry. It was also selected by NPR as a Best Book of 2014: “This collection examines everyday encounters with racism in the second person, forcing the reader—regardless of identity—to engage a narrative haunted by the deaths of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Renisha McBride.” I’ve already added it to my Goodreads list =)

Angela Merkel


Angela Merkel was recently voted in for her forth term as Chancellor of Germany. Regarded the current Leader of the Western world by some,  she has strived to make the German voice the most rational in a world with a growing sense of populism and isolationism. And because I have a soft-spot for all things STEM, I have to also point out that she received her Doctorate in Chemistry in 1986.

Jennifer Brockman


Jennifer Brockman was named program director of the newly formed Sexual Assault and Education Center at the University of Kansas in 2016, bringing her 16 years of victim advocacy experience to the university. Recently, she has spearheaded an art installation on campus called “What Were You Wearing”, which re-creates the clothes victims were wearing before their assault, accompanied by personal testimonials. “We’re hoping students can see that this narrative they’re fed — that someone’s clothing causes sexual violence — is false.”

What Were You WearingJennifer Sprague

The biggest gut-punches are probably the children’s clothing throughout the piece. One testimonial: “A sundress. Months later my mother would stand in front of my closet and complain about how I never wore any of my dresses anymore. I was 6 years old.”

Edith Windsor


RIP Edith Windsor, who passed away on Tuesday, September 12th. Edith was a LGBT activist and plaintiff in the historic United States vs. Windsor case, which overturned a section of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013. This ruling directly paved the way for the legalization of same-sex marriage two years later.

Alex Wubbels


Two days late on this post (I’m the worst). The good news is that unless you’ve been living under a rock these past two weeks, you have already heard of badass Alex Wubbels, the Utah nurse who was violently arrested, but never charged, for refusing to go against hospital policy (and the law) by removing blood from an unconscious patient. The body-cam video quickly went viral.

The patient in question was involved in an accident when another motorists, while speeding away from police, crashed into the patient; resulting in significant burns bad enough that paramedics had to sedate. Because the patient was not under arrest or conscious to give consent, it would have been unlawful to take blood. Because you know, the Constitution. Detective Jeff Payne, who was somehow in a “Blood Draw Unit” that apparently doesn’t teach when you can and cannot draw blood, went ballistic.

Alex was pretty calm and collected during the encounter before the arrest, which is amazing in itself because I would have been a high-stressed anxious mess with cops in my face for any reason whatsoever. So yeah, huge props to this dope nurse.

BONUS BADASSERY: Alex is also a two time national alpine ski champion who competed in the 1998 and 2002 Olympics, because of course she did.


“Look at me navigate this Constitutional Law course”

Dianne Feinstein


You don’t drop out, you take defeat after defeat after defeat, but you keep going. – Dianne Feinstein

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) started her rise to badassery in extremely tragic circumstances: going from the San Francisco board of supervisors (and the first female chair), to being appointed mayor following the double-assassination of Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk.

Since then, it’s been a flurry of other firsts: the first woman to sit on the Judiciary committee, the first female chairwoman of the Rules Committee, first woman to co-chair the inaugural committee, and the first female chair of the Senate intelligence committee. She was instrumental in the assault weapons ban of 1994 and is currently fighting to revive the ban since its lapse.

In December of 2012, she fought against both the C.I.A. and a Barack Obama White House to share a summary report of post-9/11 used torture techniques to the public, and is still fighting to get the whole report (7,000+ pages) released.

Ruth Pfau


Not all of us can prevent a war; but most of us can help ease sufferings—of the body and the soul.

Ruth Pfau

A day late due to travel for work, but here we go!

Dr. Ruth Pfau was a German-born physician and nun who dedicated her adult life to the fight to eradicate leprosy in Pakistan through both a medical campaign, as well as a moral one. She was appointed as the Federal Adviser on Leprosy to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in 1979 and while not completely eradicating the disease, was able to help drive the number of cases from 19,398 in the 1980s to 531 in 2016. It is estimated that the 157 leprosy clinics she established across the country treated over 56,780 people, helping Pakistan to be listed as one of the first Asian country to have leprosy “controlled” by the World Health Organisation in 1996. These efforts and her life of service earned her the nickname “The Mother Theresa of Pakistan”. Dr. Pfau passed away earlier this month on August 10th. She was 87.

Pauli Murray


photo by Schlesinger Library / Radcliffe Institute / Harvard University

Pauli Murray was a civil rights and women’s rights activist, a poet, a lawyer, an author, and an Episcopal priest (the first African American woman to be ordained). She was friends with Langston Hughes in her youth and Eleanor Roosevelt throughout her adult life. She also a co-founder of the National Organization for Women with Betty Friedan. Her top school choices for undergraduate and law schools denied her because of her race or gender, and yet she still persisted and kicked ass at Howard University; her senior thesis directly helped Thurgood Marshall in Brown vs. Board of Education. She was appointed to the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women by President John. F. Kennedy. In 1965 she co-authored “Jane Crow and the Law: Sex Discrimination and Title VII”, which was so influential that Ruth Bader Ginsburg listed her as a co-author in her Reed vs. Reed brief.

The more I read about Pauli Murray, the more my head spins. She was so incredibly ahead of her times and yet did not let that stop her from laying down the foundations to help the later civil rights and women’s rights movements.

Further (wonderful) Reading:

The Many Lives of Pauli Murray – The New Yorker

Here’s The Perfect Candidate To Replace North Carolina’s Racist Silent Sam Statue – Huffington Post

Rachel Ignotofsky


Photo by Thomas Mason IV

Designer and Illustrator Rachel Ignotofsky was briefly mentioned in an earlier post when talking about her book Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World. Well, she’s back at it again with her new book Women in Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win.

I loved to read when I was young (a passion that I’m glad is still alive and well). Looking back, I don’t recall too many of my fiction books having a protagonist that wasn’t male (talking animal books included), or ones that delved into the wonderful history of great female pioneers. How sad is that?! I’m so happy to see more and more children books detailing female badass world-shakers that can be enjoyed by both girls and boys. I am very quickly building up a collection for my future children and hope that they are just as passionate about reading as I was, and that it will be normal for them to have role models of every gender, race, and religion.


Rachel has an Etsy store, if you’d like to check it out