Girl Power – My Top Women Who Changed History

Have you ever thought that women leading the country would continue to grow in the twenty-first century? Well yesterday, history has done it again; the Church of England consecrated their first female bishop at Canterbury Cathedral.

Rachel Treweek, 52, (formally the Archdeacon of Hackney) became the new Bishop of Gloucester and is now the first woman to run a diocese.

So to celebrate, I am going to counting down my top five inspirational women who’ve made history from each category, from politics to religion. These are based on my own opinion and nothing more. So without further ado, here are my top five.

Nancy, Viscountess Astor (1879 – 1964)

220px-Nancy_Viscountess_Astor_by_John_Singer_Sargent

Viscountess Astor was the first to have a seat in the British Parliament. However, she wasn’t English; she was American. Born in Virginia, Viscountess Astor moved to England after divorcing her first husband, Robert Gould Shaw II. Following her marriage to Waldorf Astor, she succeeded to the peerage and was elected in her husband’s stead. Waldorf Astor was already serving Parliament and was an MP for Plymouth Sutton at the time of the election (which was in 1919). Both of the Astors’ stood for the Conservative Party. Viscountess Astor held her seat until her retirement in 1945, one month after the end of the Second World War.

Matilda (1102 – 1167)

220px-Empress_Mathilda

If you think the Tudors were the first Royal family who gave England their first female monarch, then you are wrong! Matilda was the first female monarch. The daughter of Henry I, Matilda succeeded to the English throne during a Civil War, where she overthrew England’s previous successor, King Stephen (who was her cousin). However, her reign as Queen didn’t last long. On her coronation day, she was never crowned. The reason was that the city of London rose up against Matilda and her followers. Luckily, one was hurt and everyone (Matilda and her followers) retreated back to Oxford. Her reign lasted a few months and because Matilda never effectively ruled politically and legally, she had been and still is excluded from the list of ruling monarchs in England.

Margaret Hughes (1630 – 1719)

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Thought to be the first professional actress in England, Margaret Hughes started her career during the Restoration. Hughes’ first performance was recorded on 8 December 1660; the production was Shakespeare’s Othello, which was performed by Thomas Killigrew’s New King’s Company. Hughes played the role of Desdemona.

Hughes is also famous for her charms. She had many lovers, including Sir Charles Sedley (according to Samuel Pepys), Charles II and Prince Rupert, Duke of Cumberland. It’s also believed that Hughes had two illegitimate children: Arthur and Ruperta, who married Emanuel Scrope Howe.

Amelia Earhart (1897 – ? Reported Missing in 1937)

Earhart

Amelia Earhart was an American aviation pioneer, author and the first female aviator to fly solo around the Atlantic Ocean.

Earhart decided to learn to fly after she rode a plane at an air show and hasn’t stopped since. However when embarking on a flight around the world, Earhart disappeared over the Pacific Ocean and was never again.

Aemilia (c. 300 – c. 363)

Born in the Roman Empire (now Moselle, France), Aemilia rejected of settling down and marriage so she could start a career as a Gallo-Roman physician. Aemilia practised medicine, and she wrote books on gynecology, and obstetrics and assisted her brother in his own studies.

So there we are – these were my top five women who changed history. Who are you favourites?

That’s all for tonight as I have to wake up really early tomorrow. I hope you all have good evening and don’t forget to celebrate the power of sisterhood. Power to the women!

Gigi Xxx

Why Do You Laugh?

Why do you laugh at me?

When I’m working very hard?

Do you think something’s funny?

When I’m trying to work and do my part?

Why do you laugh at something else?

When I’m trying to push, show and share?

Your laughter is making me feel anxious

And I carry more weight than I can bear.

I’ve lost faith and hope,

No matter how I tried;

“It’s no use”, I said,

So, I broke down and cried.

So the next time you see me,

Just let to let you know,

If you are going to laugh and crow,

Stop, think and see

The girl and her feelings (even though you can’t see).

Women

Why?

Why take away a life

When she stood up for what was right?

Representing women

Who may one day be equal,

Why treat them unfairly,

When we see the hurt clearly?

Women are equal,

Women are fair and wise,

Cause they are God’s children

Through his and everybody’s eyes.

© 2015

IPM Misogyny Stereotype

Note: This is an article I wrote for Drama school. Last term, my class were focusing on including and excluding subjects that the world suffers and in our spare time, we were asked to research and send information that are either inclusive or excluding. I’ve chosen many subjects and some, I’ve written in articles and a monologue. I have updated it so it can be read in the near future. This is my second article from Drama school that I have published online; I’m hoping to do more but I’m really busy at the moment, but I’ll see how it goes beforehand.  

In December 2014, I was listening to the weekly radio programme on BBC Radio 4 called IPM. On one programme, there was an interview with a mother and a young boy called Gus.

In the interview, Gus’ mother tells the reporter that she allows him to play eighteen rated video games at home. She does this because the mother knows Gus won’t copy the violence and inappropriate behaviour when he is off his games console. One day, Gus wanted to buy and play Grand Theft Auto 5; his friends already had the game. However, his mother researched the game online and decided not to buy Auto 5. She explained to Gus that she didn’t want to buy the game because she of the negative reviews about how the game portrays their female characters with misogyny.

After arguing about it, Gus asked his mother that if she didn’t like the women in Auto 5, why the Catholic Church doesn’t allow women to become priests. The mother explained she came from a Catholic background and went to a Catholic school, where she was taught by nuns.

When the interview finished, Gus said he wrote to the creators of Grand Theft about the misogyny they use in the game but said that they haven’t got back to him yet.

When I was listening to the interview, I was shocked and appalled that Gus’ mother allowed him to play video games, which contain violence and sex. In terms of minor law, Gus shouldn’t be allowed to play adult games, even if his mother is buying the games for him. This is an example of bad parenting. Parents should have discipline over her child/children about things that aren’t allowed to use if the child or their children are under age.

However, what is worse about Auto 5 is that the female characters are the subjects of sexual objectification, portraying them as sexy, an ally, a sidekick (to the male protagonist), and a damsel in distress, “uncreative” characters to be laughed, and sneered at or villains. Also, the game Auto 5 has scenes of sexism. This is absolutely disgraceful. What does it show when people play this game?

Women shouldn’t be going off into the streets and showing off so they can impress men. Instead, they should be loyal to their men; their husbands, fathers, guardians, etc. And what has religion got to do with console games? It makes no sense.

In Christian bible, there are rules that teach women how to be respectable towards their men:

 

Man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for the sake of man. For this reason a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

(1 Corinthians 11:3-10)

Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Saviour. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.

(Ephesians 5:21-30)     

It is clear that men are in charge. They are teachers to the women; they need to be taught to love, honour, and respect the men and need to stay at home instead of going out to night clubs and on the streets. As for women’s rights to become priests, it is out of the question; the church forbids women to take on the role. If a woman is elected to be a priest or the next candidate for pope, it would be humiliating; women are the weaker sex compared to men, who are stronger and wiser. I mean to do such a thing is a crime against nature. Its clear women are not allowed to be priests because of their notorious behaviour and sex.

However, I hate it when videogames like Grand Theft bring feminism. These games portray women (even in the modern day) as weak and unable to fend for themselves. The creators of Auto 5 have made their female characters that way because a lot of male gamers regularly play games like these. But it comes as no surprise that mass media has a history of badly portraying women. There are hardly ever female protagonists in the game; most of them are men. What’s more shocking is that 52% of game console players in the UK are women. Despite the low figures, the development team really have overlooked their female characters.

It was right for Gus’ mother to say “no” to buy Auto 5; it is an insult to modern women. What would children today will learn about women? That all of them are prostitute’s and slaves to men?

What Gus asked about women who aren’t allowed to become priests in the Catholic Church was a rhetorical question; he makes a good point about women’s roles in Catholicism. Although it is difficult to appoint women as priests, there are women who try to make this possible. One example is the story of an ex-Austrian nun named Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger. She used to be a Catholic Nun but was excommunicated by the Vatican in 2003 after being ordained as a priest.

Mayr-Lumetzberger was part a group, full of Catholic women known as the “Danube Seven”. The group choose to take direct action against Catholicism laws by ordaining themselves as priests in secret. When Rome found out, they were angry and excommunicated the women, under instructions from the Bible. In the Catholic Church, excommunication is regarded as a punishment for the extremely bad sinners.  However, this didn’t stop Mayr-Lumetzberger.

Today, she is working as a female priest in Austria and performs Baptisms and Weddings in Catholic churches; she has even performed a funeral beside a male priest. By doing this, Mayr-Lumetzberger is showing the world that Catholic women can be good Catholic priests.

Although Catholic women are not allowed to become priests, Protestant and Anglican churches are. It’s interesting that the Catholic Church have decided to keep their traditional laws; I believe they don’t trust women. The Catholic Church are really falling behind.

When I hear the song “It Is a Man’s World” by James Brown, it reminds me of the pain and suffering women had to go through in the past and who still struggle today. In many parts of the world, women still struggle while the dominant influence of men continue to rise. But, there is still a chance for women to become Catholic priests in the future. And who knows? One day, we will have female priests. Maybe the mass media industry won’t prejudice women and create modern female characters that’ll become heroines in their own right. It is possible but it will be a slow process. Hopefully, it won’t be long because this world would be nothing without women or girls.

My first conclusion to Auto 5 is that the game is being discriminate towards females. But it is no surprise. From what I have read and heard about the characters the Grand Theftcreators have put in is disgusting. It is a shame for such talent to be wasted when they could create female characters with no sex appeal or weak sense of humours.

In my second conclusion, I completely disagree what they show and think about women. Through my mother, I was baptised and later joined the Catholic Church. However, I do not agree with their rules, focusing on women. There is a great opportunity that is being missed by mass media interests and members of the Catholic Church.

However in the article I read about Mayr-Lumetzberger, I heard that Pope Francis is trying to change things, so it could be possible for women to become priests in the Catholic Church:

“It is difficult to start on that road. I hope the presence of people like me make it a little bit easier”, says Mayr-Lumetzberger. “The Catholic Church in general is good. It is just that it is blind in one eye.”

So, I hope there will be an opportunity to see this change very soon and see what the world will look like in fifty years’ time when women will be completely equal to men. The world will properly look different then, but its up to the present to put things right. How will it happen? We don’t know yet for sure; all we can do now is wait, hopefully not for long.

Toy Stereotypes Monologue

Note: This is a monologue I wrote for Drama school. Last term, my class were focusing on including and excluding subjects that the world suffers and in our spare time, we were asked to research and send information that are either inclusive or excluding. I’ve chosen many subjects and some, I’ve written in articles and two monologues. This is the first I have put online but I’ll see how it goes before I’ll post some more.  

When I was a little girl, I had a mixture of toys to play with. I had stuffed animals, dressing up clothes, cooking toys, Barbie and Disney dolls. I grew up being a girly-girl and I was very happy being one. Years later in one my practical sessions at Chickenshed, I overheard my friends discussing how toys are stereotypical towards children in the past and now. This really shocked me; I never knew that toys can be stereotypical.

So, I decided to do some research on the subject. I discovered that most toys like princess dresses and Nerf guns can divide gender sexes and make them feel like they are outcasts. For example, someone might say cooking toys and baby dolls are for girls because it this their job to cook, clean and take care of their families in the home or pink is a girls colour while boys can have blue because that is generally acceptable to have them. In my view, I see this view stereotype as a ridiculous way to learn. Why be old-fashioned when you can be creative and break traditions at the same time?

In the early stages of the twenty-first century, we are seeing loads of radical chances. One of these being changing the way we play toys or wear costumes. There are many examples I have found:

  • Boys being hairdressers
  • Girl dolls teaching them to be leaders
  • Parents allowing their boys to play with dolls
  • Children playing with dolls who have different abilities
  • Girls who wear costumes that mixed with princesses and superheroes – proof that princesses don’t need rescuing
  • Girls can play and pretend to be engineers as well as boys

These bullet points show that not all boys and girls have to stick to boyish and girlish games or toys.

I am proud for some parents who break the boundaries and let their children play with different toys because it teaches the children to be inclusive and to not make them feel left out but it is sad not all parents to that. I hope in the future that someday, every parent will allow their sons to be hairdressers and their girls to be superheroes; that is a dream I would like someday to be fulfilled. Maybe one day, I would allow my children to play with different toys because I want them to grow up to be inclusive people and not be excluded by other children.