Professional pounder of the patriarchy.

Posts tagged ‘list’

5 Best Female Police Officers from UK TV

The UK has a proud history of cop dramas. We love ’em. It feels like there’s a new one being released every fortnight; we can’t get enough. However, with all those car chases and shoot-ups, the genre has a tendency to be a bit of a testosterone disaster zone (yes, that rhyme was intentional).

So, just to prove a point, here are my top 5 female police officers who just kick ass constantly.

DC Kate Fleming, Line of Duty (Vicky McClure)

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Line of Duty is probably one of the best dramas I’ve ever had the pleasure of viewing. It’s so good, and I’m praying a fourth series will be produced. It would be criminal (ha, get it?) not to include Kate on this list, because she’s such a brilliant character. She’s dedicated; she’ll put her life on the line (of duty) to serve the cause of justice. Also, she starred in the most tense car chase in the history of British television. She chased armed criminals down on foot  having hitched a ride on the side of a lorry – and then managed to shoot out the car tyres from the top of a bridgeKudos.

DC Janet Scott and DS Rachel Bailey, Scott and Bailey (Lesley Sharp and Suranne Jones)

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I got your sisterhood of the travelling bulletproof vest right here. Scott and Bailey has some truly inspiring and awesome ladies, who are all exceptional and the forerunners in their respective fields, but these two are the protagonists and deserve a mention. They’re courageous, they’re tough, they’re bloody brilliant, and they’re taking exactly 0% of your bullshit. They’re very different – Janet is a no-nonsense mum to two teenage children, whereas Rachel’s a bit more of a party-girl – but their friendship is what really makes the series. I love ’em. Suranne Jones 5eva, tbh.

DI Alex Drake, Ashes to Ashes (Keeley Hawes)

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Alex deals with being sent back in time pretty well, all told. She’s super sassy – she can give true drama queen Gene Hunt a run for his money – and I think her fashion sense is awesome too! She brings her 21st century knowledge with her when she finds herself stuck in the 1980s, and she takes it all in her stride. She’s one lady you definitely don’t want to mess with. Keeley also played another police officer in Line of Duty, DI Lindsay Denton, who is implicated in the work of corrupt officers. She’s somewhat less friendly there, although Lindsay is still a complete and utter badass.

DS Sally Donovan, Sherlock (Vinette Robinson)

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I love Sally, but my love for her is nothing compared to my abject hatred for the way 99% of the Sherlock fandom chooses to treat her. Sherlock’s an arsehole. She calls him out for being an arsehole. I don’t know why they struggle to grasp that (well, I do – it’s the fact that she’s a WOC calling out a white dude with millions of fangirls benefiting from the rose-tinted “quirky white guy” glasses), because I think she’s super cool and really inspiring. Honestly, I think she’s probably the most well-balanced (emotionally speaking) character on the show. Obviously, calling Sherlock a “freak” wasn’t very nice, but it’s not really in the same ballpark as Sherlock outing her affair with Anderson and doing his level best to humiliate her. Nice double standard you got there, Sherlock fans.

(Also, Vinette is my major woman-crush. *heart eyes*)

WPC Rachel Coles, Inspector George Gently (Lisa McGrillis)

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I’ve chosen Rachel mainly for the episode Gently With The Women, which deals with the treatment of sex workers by the police force during the 1960s, when the series takes place. How were they treated? Not very well, but Rachel (along with feminist ally Inspector Gently, goddess bless him) sets out to challenge perceptions. She faces opposition from her male colleagues – all of whom see rape allegations by prostitutes as inherently laughable – but she perseveres, and it’s a really powerful episode. By the end of it, her colleague John Bacchus, initially sceptical, realises that she’s right and that the police force is flawed as long as it allows such injustice to continue.

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5 Feminist Horror Films

The horror genre isn’t exactly renowned for its strong female characters. Generally, there’s a lot of running, screaming and dying involved – not exactly empowering.

However, the horror genre is renowned for being subversive, and that lends itself to feminist adaptations of literature, folklore and mythology. I know it’s not horror-movie season just yet, but I watched one earlier (Treehouse, and it was a bit disappointing) and I decided I should write this list now rather than wait for Halloween to roll around!

So here it is – five feminist horror films! (Plus some honourable mentions that only just missed the cut!) I’ve added links to their respective theatrical trailers, if you fancied having a look. Please be aware that the trailers may contain violence or scary scenes.

5. The Babadook (2014)

The Babadook is a unique psychological horror film. Written and directed by Jennifer Kent, it tells the story of Amelia and her six-year-old son Sam, who are tormented by an entity that enters their home through a children’s book. As the story progresses and Sam’s behaviour grows more erratic, Amelia finds it a struggle to love her son. I like it as a horror film because it relies on suspense and emotional tension, not on cheap jumpscares, but I also think it’s a beautiful piece of cinema overall. The real “monster” in the film is grief and insecurity. As Kent explained in an interview: “I’m not saying we all want to go and kill our kids, but a lot of women struggle. And it is a very taboo subject, to say that motherhood is anything but a perfect experience for women.”

4. Ginger Snaps (2000)

I luuuuurve this film. It follows two teenage sisters, Ginger and Brigitte, who are obsessed with death. In their town, neighbourhood dogs have been killed in a spate of brutal attacks. The girls decide to kidnap the school bully’s dog to scare her, but Ginger starts her period on the way, resulting in her being attacked and bitten by the creature responsible for the dogs’ deaths. As the plot thickens, Brigitte grows more and more concerned for her sister, as Ginger transforms into something otherworldly. Honestly, I adore literature and films that turn normal things – like the menstrual cycle – into something epic and mythical, and Ginger Snaps does it perfectly. It’s also a great teen drama as well, exploring the complex social microcosm in high school.

3. The Witch (2015)

I’ve written A LOT about this film – mostly because I was so excited to see it at the cinema! – and you can find those pieces here and here. However, it still deserves to be on this list, because I just can’t praise it enough. In the film, a Puritan family are excommunicated from the church and forced to leave the community, settling at the edge of a forest. As more and more unsettling phenomena takes place on their farm, often at the hands (hooves?) of their goat Black Phillip, it becomes clear that they are being plagued by a witch. At the centre of the supernatural goings-on is Thomasin, the eldest child, and the film acts as a beautiful (if eerie) allegory for her burgeoning womanhood and her fight for autonomy. The Witch has taught us all that thou canst live deliciously if thou wouldst like to.

2. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Roman Polanski is perhaps not the name that springs to mind when you think “feminism” (and for good reason), but Rosemary’s Baby becomes a surprisingly powerful film if you think about it in context. The first birth control pills became available in the US during the 60s, so women’s reproductive health was a hot topic at the time of the film’s release. The film still feels fresh and relevant, perhaps as a result of the prevalence of pro/anti abortion dialogue in the media recently. In the film, a young couple move into a new apartment, although they’re warned of their home’s unsavoury history. When Rosemary becomes pregnant, the peculiar behaviour of her husband and interfering neighbours makes her increasingly paranoid. Although Rosemary initially felt ready to have a child, she is unable to have the baby on her own terms, and this is a strikingly painful reality even in today’s society.

Honourable mentions:

The Wicker Man (1973) – not the most obvious choice, but hear me out. This film totally subverts the “A Man Is Not A Virgin” and “Virgin Power” tropes, which is brilliant. In the majority of horror films, it’s a pure maiden (sighhh) who is sacrificed; in this, it’s an adult man.

Red Riding Hood (2011) – not a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination, but it is pretty cool with a great female protagonist. She kills werewolves, man. She’s a badass.

Teeth (2007) – this is more of a black comedy, but it’s still excellent. I won’t reveal too much about it; it sort of needs to be seen to be believed. It’s a weird one, yet it works.

  1. The Company of Wolves (1984)

Based on the works of the undisputed queen of feminist folktales, Angela Carter, this is an intriguing film that perhaps doesn’t necessarily belong to the horror genre. Although it’s far closer to magical realism or a gothic drama, I’ve put it here nonetheless – it’s unsettling enough to qualify as at least fantasy-horror. It (loosely) follows the plot of her short story of the same name; however, it is also partially based on other stories from her anthology The Bloody Chamber. The protagonist, Rosaleen, learns about werewolves from her grandmother, who knits her a bright red shawl as a gift (no prizes for guessing the fairy tale the film is based on!). The red cloak becomes an important symbol towards the end of the film. When she accepts her desire for the huntsman she meets in the forest, she burns the cloak in her grandmother’s fireplace. The whole film serves as an allegory for Rosaleen’s first foray into her own sexuality. While she’s obviously confused and scared, the film clearly prioritises her experiences and there’s never a time when Rosaleen is denied autonomy or control.

Trigger warning for nudity and mild violence:

Here’s a clip of one of my favourite scenes in the film, in which Rosaleen tells the story of the Wolfgirl (copyright: Neil Jordan; Palace Productions. Distributed by ITC and Cannon).


So there you have it! There are plenty more I could mention, and feel free to comment with your own suggestions!

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5 Smashing Shakespearean Ladies

It’s Shakespeare Day here in the UK, the 400th anniversary of his death in 1616 (and arguably his birthday, although we don’t have a definitive date of birth). The works of William Shakespeare cover a whole range of themes and span the breadth of human emotion, from love to hatred, from grief to vengeance. The portrayal of women in his plays can tell us a lot about the attitudes of the time, as well as presenting challenges for directors and actors performing for a modern audience (looking at you, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and your weird “I’ll force thee yield to my desire”).

You might not think of Tudor England as a utopia with a progressive outlook on life, but Shakespeare was a man who wrote about racism 350 years before the Civil Rights Movement took off, a man who wrote about a mentally ill prince – I read Hamlet as clinically depressed, personally – before the complex field of psychiatry was even a concept.

He was also the creator of some of the most wonderful women in literature.

So, without further ado (about nothing)*, here are my five favourite Shakespearean ladies:

5. Ophelia, Hamlet

“Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than with honesty?”

Ophelia might not strike you as a particularly feminist character. She is one of just two female speaking roles in the play (indicative of the fact that Hamlet is not a particularly feminist play, either). She is in love with Prince Hamlet, but when it seems that he loves her no longer, she kills herself in his absence. Not exactly what you’d call a role-model.

However, I still like her very much. It’s very easy to empathise with Ophelia – she’s caught between all the influential men in her life: her father, her brother, and the man she loves. There’s also an interesting gendered distinction drawn between the madness of Ophelia and the madness of Hamlet. You’re probably familiar with the “flower” scene, in which Ophelia sings and hands out flowers. Her madness is depicted on a starkly emotional level, but Hamlet’s status as an intellectual means we’re never sure if he truly has gone mad. It’s worth mentioning that, up until the 20th century, “hysteria” – an alleged (and fictitious) mental illness caused by the uterus – was a common diagnosis for women. The artist Emilie Autumn explored these themes in her song Opheliac, which gives you an idea of the enduring symbolism Ophelia possesses as a woman struggling to fulfill an ideal.

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Sian Brooke as Ophelia, Barbican Theatre (2015)

4. Mistress Quickly, Henry IV (Parts 1 & 2); Henry V; The Merry Wives of Windsor

“Pray ye, pacify yourself, Sir John: there comes no swaggerers here.”

Mistress Nell Quickly is totally dissimilar to all the other women on this list. She’s no noblewoman or queen; she’s the landlady of the Boar’s Head Tavern, the usual haunt for Falstaff and crew. True to her name, she’s a lively lass (she’s practically the medieval Peggy Mitchell). She’s closely linked with the criminal underworld, but, nonetheless, you’ll find no woman with a more *ahem* respectable reputation.

Honestly, she’s just great. I often find that the women in Shakespeare’s comedies are depicted far better than in his tragedies – none of that damsel in distress nonsense! They’re just ordinary, lower-class women, brawling and gambling and double-dealing with the men. And if that’s not equality, I’ll eat a leek.**

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Sarah Parks as Mistress Quickly, RSC (2015)

3. Desdemona, Othello

“I am not merry; but I do beguile
The thing I am, by seeming otherwise.”

In Othello, Desdemona elopes with the eponymous general, much to her father’s dismay. They leave for Cyprus, where Othello takes command of the troops on the island. Throughout the course of the play, Othello’s close friend and comrade Iago persuades him that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio – a white soldier – and Othello, consumed by jealousy, eventually murders his wife. At the discovery of her innocence, he commits suicide.

Desdemona falls in love with Othello after listening to his life story. I think that’s beautiful – she falls in love with, not despite, his humble beginnings. But it’s her willingness to disobey her father that unsettles Othello; he fears she might just as easily betray him and this is ultimately her undoing. It’s a story reflected throughout history – take Anne Boleyn, for example. Her boldness is what attracted Henry VIII to her, but it was also the thing that led to her execution.

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Irene Jacob as Desdemona (1995 film)

2. Titania, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

“But she, being mortal, of that boy did die;
And for her sake do I rear up her boy,
And for her sake I will not part with him.”

Titania is the queen of the faeries in the play. In a parallel plotline – the main plot concerns four Athenian lovers – her husband Oberon tricks her into falling in love with Bottom, an amateur actor with (courtesy of the mischievous Puck’s magic) a donkey’s head. She and her husband make amends by the end of the play, fortunately enough for everyone else! It’s their refusal to yield to one another that causes much of the chaos that ensues.

I really like Titania (although I like Hermia and especially Helena too, who are the play’s other female protagonists).  She’s stubborn and she doesn’t back down. And why should she? She’s the faerie queen, after all. It also amuses me that Benedict Cumberbatch played her when he was at school. 🙂

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  1. Beatrice, Much Ado About Nothing

“I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me.”

Beatrice isn’t just my favourite lady on this list. She’s my favourite Shakespearean character of all time. She’s witty and she takes exactly zero shit from anybody. It’s definitely worth noting*** that Much Ado About Nothing is fantastic at turning gender roles on their head. Beatrice and her love interest Benedick make jokes at each other’s expense and their conversations are barbed. Beatrice gives as good as she gets, and it honestly feels more like a quirky modern rom-com than a 16th century play.

You could argue that the fact that Beatrice has to change herself and accept marriage, rather than continuing self-sufficiently, isn’t very progressive. It’s not perfect. But Benedick has to change too – it’s not a play about a woman realising that marriage should be her aspiration, it’s a play about two people learning to compromise, cultivating not just a relationship but a friendship too.

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Meera Syal as Beatrice, RSC (2012)

Shakespeare is a defining figure in this country’s literary heritage. What we should take away from his work is that we are not so different from his contemporary Elizabethan audience. His work endures because of its innate humanity. We can perform his plays anywhere, anytime, to any audience. No matter if it’s a traditional production or one set in India or Afghanistan or the Second World War, the Bard’s words will always ring true.

As his friend and rival Ben Jonson once said, “He was not of an age, but for all time!”

Thank you for reading! As you can probably tell, I’m passionate about Shakespeare! I’d really appreciate it if you would share this on Facebook/Twitter/Google+!

Glossary of geeky jokes:

* From Much Ado about Nothing

**From a brilliant scene in Henry V, in which the Welshman Fluellen makes Pistol eat the leek on his cap

***Really nerdy joke. In Shakespeare’s day, “nothing” would have been pronounced “noting”, which adds a whole new level of pun to the play.

You can find out more from the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

5 Super Science Ladies from UK TV

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) is a field that often gets accused of being a boys’ club – and, sadly, this is equally often not far from the truth. Science-based/inspired dramas are a popular genre in British television, so for this list, I’ve included five female characters who set a great example for girls who love science.

Dr. Nikki Alexander, Silent Witness (Emilia Fox)

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Nikki Alexander is a forensic pathologist and the protagonist of the series Silent Witness. She’s also an expert in anthropology, having studied archaeology at universities across Europe. My favourite thing about Silent Witness is that it completely subverts the stereotype that clever women are cold – Nikki’s strengths lie in her open and approachable nature. It’s refreshing to see a fictional woman who is unabashed in her interests; she’s a huge nerd and she doesn’t care who knows it. (Also, she’s played by Emilia Fox, who is the actual love of my life.)

Clarissa Mullery, also Silent Witness (Liz Carr)

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Clarissa is a forensic examiner and the queen of British crime dramas, honestly. I love her; she’s so sassy and hilarious and she schools the boys on a regular basis. She has a really dry and sarcastic sense of humour. She brings some diversity and representation to the team too – although the character should be judged on her own merits, of course – and she was such a welcome addition to the series. Silent Witness is obviously an adult-oriented programme, but older girls could handle some of the lighter episodes and would benefit a lot from seeing Nikki and Clarissa do cool science and cut up corpses. Alright, maybe not the cutting up corpses part.

Lily Chao, Casualty (Crystal Yu)

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Ayyy, my grrrl! Lily is an ambitious, intelligent high-achiever. I think we sometimes discourage girls from being perceived as “bossy” or “domineering”. Lily’s a no-nonsense kind of woman, but her character development also teaches us that this is only an admirable quality if you’re kind and compassionate too. It’s a great way to show young girls that being nice is important, but it isn’t an obligation. You’re allowed to wholeheartedly say no.

Here’s Crystal Yu’s thoughts on Lily: “I think it’s so important to show female characters who are not just equal to men, but maybe even a little better in terms of their jobs and their status […] to see a programme like Casualty showing women who are beautiful and sexy, but also clever and a little bit geeky as well, it’s just a great thing.”

Abby Maitland, Primeval (Hannah Spearritt)

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If feminism was a religion, Abby Maitland would be the High Priestess. She is so badass that it gives me actual chest pains. At the beginning of Series 1, she’s a zookeeper specialising in reptiles, but she becomes a permanent lab assistant by the series’ end. She enjoys kickboxing, further solidifying her status as a BAMF. I love that she can kick the shit out of a dinosaur in one scene and then gently tend to her lizards in the next. #babe

If your daughter is interested in becoming an elite dinosaur hunter, she should watch Primeval. I did, and now I’m… not an elite dinosaur hunter. I’m an elite dinosaur nerd, but that’s not the same thing.

Molly Hooper, Sherlock (Louise Brealey)

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Molly is a specialist registrar in the morgue at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, and she’s also probably my favourite character in Sherlock (except for Sally Donovan). She’s genuinely sweet, kind and unassuming; I always look forward to seeing her on screen. She’s also a huuuge cat lady and I can relate to that on a spiritual level. It’s Sherlock’s treatment of Molly that irritated me in the first series – it took me quite a while to warm to him because of how… I don’t want to say cruel, but cruel he was to her. Once they became better friends and it became clear that Sherlock considered Molly an equal, it was much easier to like him.

I also get the impression that she could be kind of scary??? I mean, she stabbed her fiancé in the hand with a fork once.

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Misconceptions and “Manginas”: why don’t people identify as feminists?

One of the joys of being a feminist is having your stance attacked by literally everyone. The bad press that the movement receives in the media stops people from identifying as feminists, even when their opinions directly correlate with the feminist school of thought. All kinds of misconceptions exist about the movement; I’ve found that this is why people are often reluctant to listen when a feminist challenges something they’ve said – they think we have some sort of ulterior motive. I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of times when someone who challenged me about feminism said: “Oh, I see! I agree with that.” when I actually explained it.

People often choose to describe themselves as an “egalitarian” or “equalist” instead. I’m not suggesting that these aren’t valid movements – of course they are, and people have a right to select a label that they feel describes them best. What annoys me is when people reject feminism due to stereotypes. “Feminists are man-haters”/“Feminists don’t care about men” tend to be the main arguments. It’s a movement to empower women, but feminists are not anti-men – the patriarchy is a damaging social structure for everybody. I say it a lot and I’ll say it again: feminism does benefit men too.

A lot of men are encouraged to perceive feminism as a threat. This is indicated by the rise of the term “mangina” – a portmanteau of “man” and “vagina”, which is cissexist anyway… The idea inherent in it is that they will be made to submit to the vastly superior women of the world and their masculinity will be forcibly taken from them. Obviously, that is about as far from the truth as you can get. “Masculinity” and “femininity” don’t need to be mutually exclusive; anybody of any gender should feel free to express themselves as they want without fear of humiliation.

Me when I see a man, obvs.

Me when I see a man, obvs.

The real difficulty comes from the absurd idea that feminists are some kind of hive-mind. We all choose the same label, therefore we must all be the same. This is blatantly false. Every feminist experiences the world differently and, consequently, their views & priorities will vary. We each advocate for the social, political and economic equality of women; how we decide to do this will be unique to every individual.

Anti-feminists tend to latch onto specific feminists and then assume that we are all exactly like them. If one of them makes a mistake, the entire movement is evidently flawed. If one of them presents a problematic viewpoint, we all must hold that view.

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The stereotypes – mostly enforcing the idea that feminists are always angry, will twist your words, refuse to listen to other perspectives – persist and this prevents people from actively involving themselves in the movement. That’s why I’m so vocal about being a feminist. I want to set an example and encourage people to do some research. Plenty of my friends have engaged themselves in feminism – I’m seeing the word more frequently on their Tumblr blogs and on their Instagram posts, and it makes me incredibly proud to see the young women I’ve grown up with take a stand. Some of the best experiences are seeing my male friends condemn a sexist trend or hearing them debate.

“Feminist” isn’t a slur. It’s not an insult. It’s not shameful. Your stance is as valid as anybody else’s.

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Dance for equality, Peter.

Please like and share this on Facebook/Twitter/Google+ if you enjoyed the article! I know it’s a bit rambling and incoherent, but the misconceptions surrounding feminism really grind my gears.

5 Female-led Rebellions

I know this is a day late, but my prom was on Friday 3rd July and the weekend was a whirl! I hope you all saw the note in the sidebar though! Sorry, Clara…

We celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March every year, but Clara Zetkin – the German woman who first launched it in 1911 – is an unknown name for many people. She was a Marxist theorist and an activist for women’s rights, advocating for women’s suffrage and encouraging them to participate in the socialist movement. She acknowledged that women made up much of the workforce – why should they not reap the benefits of revolution?

She was born on 5th July 1857 and died on 20th June 1933, so it’s Clara’s 158th birthday today. In honour of her, this article is about five instances in which women led a revolution or a rebellion. I think Clara would approve of these ladies!

  1. The Women’s March on Versailles

France, 5th October 1789. The Bastille prison has been successfully stormed only three months earlier and the stirrings of revolution are in the minds of France’s poorest citizens. The price of bread has rocketed and the women of Paris can barely afford to feed their families. How do they choose to rectify this? They start a demonstration in the marketplace, gather their allies, ransack the city armoury and proceed to the Palace of Versailles, where the crowd of 7,000 women besiege the home of King Louis XVI and confront him.

Good plan, nicely executed (that’s a shameful pun, Louis, and I’m deeply sorry).

The March on Versailles is often considered to be a defining moment in the French Revolution. It was relatively early on – Louis wasn’t executed until 1793 and the period of upheaval didn’t end until 1799 – but it demonstrated the strength of the common people to the aristocracy. My favourite part of the story is that the infuriated women were encouraged to march by “a young woman (striking) a marching drum.” We may never know her name, but she was the catalyst and we know her legacy.

  1. Las Mujeres Libres

“Las Mujeres Libres” (or, in English, “The Free Women”) were a Spanish anarchist movement that fought for women’s liberation and social revolution. They considered both issues equally important and were angry that anarchist men marginalised their female counterparts. The organisation, with approximately 30,000 members, was created in 1936 by Lucía Sánchez Saornil, Mercedes Comaposada and Amparo Poch y Gascón. Lucía was a writer and poet; Mercedes had been raised in a socialist household and was frustrated with how the movement treated her and her fellow women. They joined forces with Amparo, who wanted greater sexual freedom for women and aimed to challenge the sexist double standard surrounding monogamy.

What ensued was nothing short of awesome.

They raised awareness through radio transmissions, travelling libraries and by forming a network of female activists. They saw that women were unprepared for leadership roles due to lack of education, so they created literacy courses, trained women as nurses and helped them to gain confidence through women-only social groups.

  1. Mother Lu’s Revolt

Mother Lu is known for being the first female rebel leader in Chinese history. She came from Haiqu County, an area now called Rizhao. In 14ACE, her son, a county constable, was executed – under the harsh Xin Dynasty regime – for not punishing peasants who couldn’t pay their taxes. According to The Book of the Later Han (the previous dynasty), her family was very wealthy, so she gathered her peasant supporters and armed them, leading them to storm the capital. The population had already become dissatisfied with Wang Mang, who had usurped the throne and declared himself emperor of the Xin Dynasty (“Xin” meaning “renewed”). She captured the county minister who had sentenced her son to death, then she beheaded him at her son’s tomb as an act of vengeance.

Thanks, Mom.

Her revolt inspired several later rebellions, but Mother Lu herself died in 18ACE, only four years after her uprising. She reportedly died of an illness; however, we know very little about her – we don’t even know how old she was when she died. Her followers went on to join other rebel causes, continuing her legacy.

  1. Boudica’s Uprising

Sometimes called Boadicea – or Boudicca, or Bunduca, or even Buddug – she was the queen of the Iceni tribe, located in Norfolk, England. Her husband Prasutagus, an ally of the Roman Empire, died and left his lands jointly to his family and to Rome. The Romans ignored his will; Boudica was flogged and her daughters were raped. Justifiably furious, Boudica led her armies in an uprising against the Roman occupation, destroying Camulodunum (Colchester) and burning down Londinium (London) and Verulamium (St Albans). Her revolt culminated in the Battle of Watling Street, which the Romans won, despite being outnumbered by Boudica and her band of Britons.

It is said that either she fell ill and died or that she poisoned herself to evade capture. Regardless, she went out with a bang. She’s now an iconic figure and a symbol of Britain, due to her efforts in attempting to hold off the Roman invasion. You can watch an epic musical retelling of her story here (x). The song starts at 2:47. It’s slanted for copyright reasons (it’s getting ridiculously hard to find the Horrible Histories songs online!).

  1. 2011 Peaceful Protests in Cote d’Ivoire

From 2010 to 2011, there was a crisis in Cote d’Ivoire. The dictator Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down after losing the election to Alassane Ouattara and it was alleged that the government had been sending taxpayers’ money out of the country as part of their own personal wealth.

In the midst of the crisis, the peace activist Aya Virginie Toure organised her fellow women in nonviolent protests against Gbagbo. Every protest she led was intended to be peaceful, but they were often met with hostility and violence. On at least one occasion, the security forces opened fire on the women. On 8th March 2011 – International Women’s Day – Toure mobilised 45,000 women in peaceful protests across the country. By 30th March, the UN had demanded that Gbagbo step down and allow the internationally-recognised president Ouattara to take on the role. Toure is now the President of the Rally of Republican Women in Cote d’Ivoire. Several issues remained; Ouattara undertook investigations into human rights violations during the conflict and Gbagbo was arrested in April 2011. You can read more about it here (x).

I hope you enjoyed the article! I encourage you to do a little research about Clara – she, like all the women on this list, was a fascinating human being. As always, please share this on Facebook/Twitter/Google+ if you liked it! Also consider following my blog if you haven’t already; I do follow back!

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Why the Raptors from “Jurassic Park” are my role-models

Why the Raptors from “Jurassic Park” are my role models

Please bear in mind that this is NOT a serious article. 😉

(Warning: this article may contain spoilers for the original film and its two – as of Friday 12th June, three! – sequels. If you haven’t seen Jurassic Park, you need to re-evaluate your life choices, kid. Also, I’d like to offer a trigger warning for some bad language later on. I’m just really passionate about this franchise!)

As Christina Aguilera told us in the ever-poignant Burlesque, it’s “a cold and crazy world that’s raging outside.” If you want to make it, you’ve got to be smart and you’ve got to be resourceful. You have to adapt and evolve. Don’t just beat the system; take it down and rip out its throat.

After watching Jurassic World, I realised that nobody demonstrates this better than the fearsome velociraptors of the Jurassic Park franchise. They’re intelligent, they work as a team, they’re faster than Usain Bolt after a litre of Lucozade. In short, they’re my absolute role-models – and here’s why!

  1. They’re fiercely loyal to their family.

Throughout the entire franchise, you never see the raptors working alone. They eat, sleep and hunt as a family unit. In fact, it’s a key part of their tactics when they’re stalking prey (although I’m not suggesting you & your family should go out and corner an innocent bystander), but we’ll talk about that later. They are depicted as highly sociable creatures and demonstrate a strong bond. In Jurassic Park III, they pursue Grant and his group across the whole island to get their eggs back after they were unwittingly stolen. That’s love, folks. When negotiations take place at the end of the film, they accept their eggs graciously, mind their own business and leave the egg-napping humans to do mammal shit. They’re totally cool like that.

Also, in Jurassic World, they’re trained (as well as one can train a raptor) by Chris Pratt’s character Owen Grady and they kick butt on his behalf at the end of the film. It seems like they have as much love for their human friends/allies as they do for their fellow raptors. We could learn a lot about acceptance from them.

*insert Indiana Jones theme here*

*insert Indiana Jones theme here*

  1. They know the system and they play it like a finely-tuned instrument.

If there’s one thing this franchise showcases, it’s how smart the raptors are. In literally every film, somebody comments on how dangerously intelligent the raptors are (it’s usually Alan Grant). They’re the real reptilians that David Icke needs to worry about. The first film is literally one big “I Threw It On The Ground” parody for them and, like Andy Samberg, the raptors know you can’t trust the system. What’s more, they’re determined not to participate in it. With a massive middle finger (claw?) to John Hammond’s commercial paradise, they take that shit down from the inside and smash up the park’s restaurant, reception and main building.

In Jurassic World, they’re similarly savvy. They play along with the big bad – the “Indominus Rex” – for a while, pretending to be his minions, then they go full kamikaze and launch themselves at him. The hybrid made the fatal mistake of thinking their loyalty could be bought – they’re archaeological anarchists and they don’t play the game by anyone’s rules except their own. Take that thought away with you. Don’t be a sheep; be a velociraptor.

"Man, smells like capitalism in here."

“Man, smells like capitalism in here.”

  1. They’re exceptional strategists.

One of my favourite scenes in Jurassic Park is when the ranger is poised, gun at the ready, waiting for the raptors to approach. Being tactical geniuses of a calibre known only to such leaders as Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, the raptors sneak up on him from all directions. Although I sympathise with the poor bloke, it’s impossible not to love the raptors’ ingenuity and style. They corner their prey, with one velociraptor forcing them to move whilst the others trap them on all sides. It’s awesome enough the first time around, but it’s a recurring motif in all the films and it’s always hilarious to see the “oh shit” look appear on the character’s face when they work out that they’re surrounded.

They’re such good tacticians that, in the latest instalment of the franchise, INGEN actually want to use them as “a living weapon” in the army. Not gonna lie, I think there would be a lot less warfare in the world if we had velociraptors to fight for us. There would probably be a lot less people in the world too, but, y’know, keep it in the small print.

“Team work makes the dream work.” – V. Raptor, 1993.

Raptor 3

  1. They don’t give a shit about anything.

One thing I learned from these films is that the raptors are way too cool to let anything slow them down or stand in their way. They are nearly impervious to bullets. Solid metal doors mean nothing to them. A T. Rex is a minor menace. They take it all in their stride.

More to the point, they have absolutely zero time for bullshit. They stroll around Isla Nublar like they own the place. Ever wonder why they’re so fast? It’s because they don’t waste energy by chasing fucks to give (they’re also agile, lightweight and aerodynamic to prevent air resistance as they run, but I won’t bore you with science…). Basically, they haven’t got the time or patience for haters – and you shouldn’t give them the time of day either. Surround yourself with positive people who motivate and inspire you! Or, alternatively, surround yourself with velociraptor bodyguards.

Note: these are not his bodyguards.

Note: these are not his bodyguards.

  1. They got that gender equality on lock!

Everybody is equal in the raptor squad. In the first film, like the rest of the dinosaurs in the park, all the raptors are female. This prevents them from reproducing without supervision. In The Lost World and Jurassic Park III, eggs are discovered on Isla Sorna, so evidently those sex-changing tree frog genomes were working. This leads me to believe that the raptor crew in the third film is mixed-gender. In Jurassic World, Owen Grady’s Riot Raptors (not their official title) are led by Blue, the pack beta. She’s pretty cool – she kicks some serious Indominus ass. She needs to chill sometimes, potentially, but who can blame her?  Girl’s got responsibilities, bro.

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