I have some very exciting news!! Well actually two bits of exciting news.
First. If you’ve visited my site before, you can see it’s a bit different, see?
Now before I get onto the even more exciting bit of news, a quick rhetorical question. How many famous inventors can you think of in 20 seconds? Keep the number in mind as this will make more sense in a moment.
Evan and I were teasing each other one day, as we tend to do, and I mentioned something about inventions. He responded with, “Some man probably created that. I mean, what have women ever created?” Of course none of this is serious and the grief-giving continued. But as we thought more about it, we realized it was actually difficult to think of many inventions by women, at least not off the top of our heads.
Now think back to the inventors you came up with. How many of them were male? What about female?
If you google for female inventions, the results are not terribly cutting edge. “Chocolate chip cookies”, “square bottoms for paper bags”, and “toilet paper holder”. That’s not even the worst when comments like “Women invented headaches” and “women invented being irrational” are included.
This is crazy when you consider Marie Curie or the latest winner of the Intel Prize, a 17 year-old girl who won $100,000 for her research in algae biofuels, or one of the two winners of the Young Scientist Awards is an 18 year-old that has created a device able to charge cell phone batteries in as little as 30 seconds.
But as Evan mentioned
I mean, there is nothing wrong with inventing chocolate chip cookies and being honest that women did it. But when you start to omit the fact that women also discovered radium (led to X-ray machines), were first to isolate stem cells, invented the systolic blood pressure test, and discovered spread spectrum technology (the basis for modern Bluetooth, Wifi, and CDMA) the story starts to look a bit lopsided, erring towards the side of the room where the kitchen is located.
Evan and I agreed that women not getting the credit that they’re due is all too common, all too widespread.
My personal pet peeve is women in film. Hollywood is known as a boys club with little encouragement and support for women who are trying to make it in the industry. Less than 25% of all speaking roles in film go to women. Even fewer films go to female directors and that number is declining rather than rising in the past decade.
It’s not much better in other industries. In music, the problem is just as bad, if not worse. Corporate glass ceilling still very much exist. And political legislation is continuously introduced that is outright discriminatory towards women. Meanwhile, many celebrities treat the word feminist like it’s been swimming in public relations cooties.
But the thing is, a lot of feminist writing is discouraging a lot of the time. Understandably so because there is nothing positive about rape or glass ceilings or good ole boys clubs.
Yet at the same time there are also a lot of women (like those mentioned above) who deserve to be celebrated and have their stories told, because they’re awesome.
And the thing is, acknowledging these awesome women doing awesome things doesn’t have to downplay the existence of a lot of crap. There is a lot of crap out there if you’re a women. But there are also a lot of women whose stories aren’t getting the airtime they deserve, and that’s crap too. Somebody needs to send these women a shout out, because god knows a lot of times it isn’t easy.
With all of this in mind, Evan and I are working with several friends to build a website that’s kind of like what happens if Miss Representation or Jezebel were to have a head on collission with Upworthy or Good. This will be a website all about women kicking ass, even when the dice are loaded against her.
We’re doing this because we are, at the end of the day, feminists and proud of it.
We believe women have a lot of obsctables and tremendous potential despite them.
We believe that, while stories of rape and oppression and sexism belong in an honest discussion about the status of women, so do stories about women kicking ass and doing incredible stuff.
We believe it’s gotta be pretty depressing sometimes out there if you’re a woman, and maybe sometimes seeing other people kick ass and cheering them on, and amassing the evidence that you can do it too and folks will be cheering you on as well, is worthwhile.
So… we’ll share a lot more details about all of this soon.
The website will launch within the next month.
If you want to help be a part of it, please let me know and I’ll fill you in on more of the details and how you can help.
In the meantime…
Is there some young woman in your life, someone you wish you could show just how much she’s capable of even though a lot of the times the world isn’t fair to her?
As a young woman, I wish I had someone to tell me that even though there’s a lot of crap women have to deal with, there are plenty of woman that can AND are kicking ass too.
I didn’t and don’t want to be lied to about the world being fair to women. It’s not. Nor is it a world in which “anything you set your mind to” can always be achieved.
I would have loved to have had someone prove to me that half the sky is mine, to borrow the the term from Kristoff’s book. And I’d want to celebrate the women who are reaching for it and give them credit that they deserve.
Think you might feel the same way?
If so, think of that young woman who’s awfully damn important to you…