By: Larissa | May 30, 2014 | (14) Comments

discussing through midnight

This meme was created for YA Midnight Reads as a discussion post of all things bookish.

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This may seem like a very random discussion but it’s a topic that’s been on my mind for the previous few weeks. In my English class I got the chance to write a personal essay on a topic that interested me. It took me awhile to come up with an idea but I eventually settled on women in our past who were very influential and frankly badass (I never said that word in my essay though. If I could though it really would have made it more awesome lol) who had to overcome great hurdles to achieve success. These hurdles usually had to deal with society and its negative perception of women and their worth (of course determined by men) during the time period. I found it very interesting to read about these women and even found myself inspired by how they didn’t give up, they continued to stand up for their beliefs and went against the societal conventions of the past.

Furthermore, in Social Studies I’ve  learnt about Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, George Washington, Julius Ceaser, King Louis XIV, etc. However there are plenty of women in history, who are also strong, brave and influential but tend to get overlooked due to the patriarchal nature of our past. These women deserve recognition for their determination to achieve the same greatness as men while being looked down upon for simply being the opposite sex. These women didn’t simply stand behind their husbands but stood right alongside them and in some cases in front of them. They challenged the status quo and caused change in the way that society traditionally viewed women.

In my essay I went over three women and why they were awesome. It was so much fun and I found myself writing a crazy long essay. What I didn’t include in my writing was what I’m here to discuss today, women in history who deserve their own books.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Historical Fiction fan. It’s probably my favorite genre within YA. It combines my love of history and reading into an immersive setting that feels straight from a specific time period. It also makes for some interesting characters as it’s no secret that times in our history were very different from our modern day world. We get to see how people react under tough situations and some great character development.

It’s this essay that made me wonder why I haven’t heard of some of these women before. I think everybody out there should be at least aware of these women, just reading about what they accomplished really gave me a sense of awe. They truly do need to be recognized and I feel seeing a YA historical fiction novel about them would totally make me nerd out and fall in love. Having a novel that features these women as characters, or even mentions them or their accomplishments would spread knowledge about them which I believe is important.

Now to the point of these post (sorry guys, I tend to ramble), without further ado here are some women I’d love to read about and who I believe deserve their own books:

  • Nellie Bly! I wrote about her in my essay and wow. I found myself definitely inspired as she was a fellow writer. During a time period where being a journalist was frowned upon she wasn’t very hopeful regarding her career. However she persevered, wrote a reply to some misogynistic douchebag’s article about women working being a “monstrosity.” The newspaper loved it so much that she got a job with it. After getting tired of being stuck with all the light and typical “girly” articles she left for New York to write more hard hitting pieces. It was there where Nellie’s signature investigative journalism was founded. Instead of merely writing about the harsh conditions of mental institutions, Nellie got herself checked into one by pretending to be insane. It’s there where she witnessed the horrifying conditions and experiences that mental patients suffer through. After getting checked out from there Nellie promptly wrote her article and was met with new found success and fame. Her article managed to raise awareness and got a Grand Jury involved. The jury would go towards the Department of Public Charities and Corrections. Nellie continued to write awesome articles and even went on a journey circumnavigating, which she managed to break a record for. Go Nellie!
  • Maria Montessori! Another women I wrote about in my essay who was fairly awesome. She was super well educated which was a trait that went against the societal conventions of her time period (which was the late 1800’s). She studied engineering in a school directed for boys and later went on to be Italy’s first woman to earn a M.D. Within this filed Maria found herself to be in contact with many people of different genders, backgrounds, money, disabilities and race. Maria found that a lot of these people weren’t receiving the education they deserved or really, any education at all. It was because of this that Maria began to open up schools specially meant for these children. Maria spearheaded the belief that acknowledging each child as an individual was necessary and giving independence to these children should be a goal of education. Today Maria still has schools across the globe, with over one hundred in the United States. Go Maria!
  • Anne Bonny and Mary Read! These are the final two that I wrote about in my essay. They were the only female pirates during the Golden Age of Piracy which automatically makes them super badass. Anne married the famous male pirate Jack Rackham and alongside him ruled the seas. She met Mary on the crew, who was disguised on the crew as a male. This secret was soon found out yet Rackham let them stay. Together they kicked some serious butt and were said to be just as capable as the men. Their notorious career of piracy soon came to an end though, with the rest of the all male crew heavily intoxicated the British figured it was time to strike. Mary and Anne however put up a valiant defensive force against Barnet and his men, actually holding them off successfully for a short period of time. Mary managed to kill one of the men and together with Anne injured several others. Eventually they became overwhelmed and were defeated. They were sentenced to piracy and condemned to death. Anne’s last words to her imprisoned husband were “if you’d fought like a man, need not have been hang’d like a dog.”  Go Anne and Mary!
  • Nancy Wake! She was a British agent who served during the later years of WWII. Nancy became one of the most decorated servicewoman of the Allie’s of the war.  By 1943, Wake was most wanted person of the Gestapo (secret Nazi police force in German), with a 5 million-franc price for her capture hanging in the air. This clearly demonstrates Wake’s power and strategy skill-set. Training reports noted that she was “a very good and fast shot” and possessed excellent fieldcraft. She was reported to “put the men to shame by her cheerful spirit and strength of character.” On a  certain night in April 1944, Wake was parachuted into the a southern province of France, becoming a liaison between London and the local maquis group which was led by Captain Henri Tardivat. Upon discovering her tangled up in a tree, the Captain greeted her, “I hope that all the trees in France bear such beautiful fruit this year,” to which she replied, “Don’t give me that French shit.” Her duties included gathering arms and equipment that were parachuted in and minding the group’s finances. Wake also became key in recruiting more members and making the Ally force into something strong, roughly 7,500 people. She also led attacks on local Gestapo HQ. Go Nancy!
  • Tomoe Gozen!  Lived from 1147 to 1247 and was fairly awesome her entire life. She’s the most legendary female samurai warrior of all time. She fought in the Genpei War, against all societal conventions, and was found to an incredible and indispensable fighter. Her skills with swords and archery went unparalleled. She was even said to have ridden unbroken horses down cliff sides. Tomoe was remembered as a “warrior worth one thousand.” Go Tomoe!
  • Amelia Earheart! I’ve personally known a lot about her, but I really do enjoy anything regarding Amelia and her aircraft adventures. She was the first female pilot who flew across the Atlantic Ocean, all by herself. She set many other records with flying and wrote bestselling books. Amelia was set to circumnavigate the world in a plane, but disappeared over the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The mystery of this continues to impact people today. Amelia left a legacy for women in the world of aviation and acted as a inspiration for future pilots to go against the grain of society. Go Amelia!

Okay, that’s just a few of the epic women that would great to see in a YA historical fiction novel. There was so many great women in the past and I encourage you to search them up (: Each of them are all deserving of their own story and I simply find them to inspiring and totally fascinating.

Are there any people you think deserve their own book? What do you think of some of the ones I’ve mentioned?

 

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Larissa was born and still is living in the land of ice, snow and maple syrup. She's 18 years old and really has no idea what to do with her life lately. Larissa's plans are constantly changing--though there’s one thing has remained constant throughout her seventeen years, and that’s reading. It takes her to another world and puts her into impossible situations and that’s why she loves it so much.

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14 Responses to Discussing Through Midnight (34): Women Who Should Get Their Own Books

  1. Wow, you definitely did your research!! I’ve never heard of a lot of women, so thanks for the intro. 🙂 Great post!
    Lisa (Lost in Literature) recently posted…Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula StokesMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      I did, and I actually loved every bit of it. Research can sometimes be dry, but when I was researching these ladies I actually had fun. Thank you (:

  2. Oh I so, so agree. And it bugs me because our society thinks everyone is liberated and advanced and stuff…but we’re still pretty stuck in our sexist past. 😐 But I guess that’s hundreds of years worth of sexism to shake. >.< I want to read a book about Nancy Wake now! Kind of reminds me of Code Name Verity.
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Blog Party Day #5: Ensnared Predictions + The End of The FrabjousnessMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah, really it’s hard to escape how patriarchal society was, and still is in some ways today. It’s sad really, but I believe awareness and discovery may be key in order to move forward. Nancy Wake was so awesome c: She is the epitome of badass and strong, some of the things she had said after the war made me laugh so hard. I actually haven’t read Code Name Verity yet, it’s on my TBR though lol

  3. In our history class, we had one lesson specifically for badass women in history. Which sucks because it was just ONE LESSON. Men dominate our history–or at least, the part of history that people actually do know about. Seriously, the only person I know from your list is Amelia Earheart (whereas I know all the men you mentioned) and I would totally love to read about her!
    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings recently posted…Review: Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret StohlMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      I honestly never had a single class for badass women in history and it enrages me. Men seem to dominate the history side of things, but that’s because they wanted it to be that way. They discouraged women through patriarchal societal conventions that would be enough to make any women want to give up. Amelia Earheart’s awesome, so reading a book about her would undeniably be great. I think the fact that you have heard of every man on the list but only one of the females speaks volumes.

  4. Rashika says:

    As a self-proclaimed feminist, I don’t know what the fact that I only know one out of the seven women you mentioned in this post says about me .-.

    I know a book either came out or is coming out soon which had something to do with Amelia Earheart but sadly it’s not a historical novel. I’ve always been curious about her though and I’d KILL to see a historical fiction novel that had something to do with her and her story. That’s saying a lot as I am not such a huge fan of historical fiction (Historical romance is another story lol :P).

    Great post and thank you so much for sharing Larissa!! 🙂

    • Larissa says:

      It says that even today we tend to be stuck in our patriarchal past, which is evidenced by the fact that the majority of people today have no idea who these women are. The knowledge and awareness of these women is non-existent, due to the fact we focus on men in education like our social classes. Which again just supports the patriarchal past. I’ll still read about Amelia Earhart, even if it’s not a historical novel. Let’s just hope it’ll do Amelia justice. Ah yes, historical fiction is another favorite of mine c:

      Thank you for you lovely comment <33

  5. Nellie Bly sounds awesome; I’d read a fictional novel about her life.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Birthday Book Review: celebraTORI by Tori SpellingMy Profile

  6. I really loved your post Larissa highlighting some real inspirational females in history! I’ve only heard of Tomoe, Amelia and Nancy Wake but discovering them for your essay must have been amazing.
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Bloggers going AWOL: The Disappearing ActMy Profile

  7. Larissa says:

    Thank you Jeann c: Yeah, I really loved researching these ladies and felt inspired by reading about their achievements.

  8. Melanie says:

    This post= full of awesome. I find it sad that I only know one of the women you said which is Amelia Earheart. Just goes to show how little these women are talked about compared to all the men in our history!

    Lovely and informative post! <33

  9. Romi says:

    Wonderful, wonderful post! I definitely learnt a lot, and about a lot of marvelous women I hadn’t heard of before, and I’m so grateful to now know about them! I’m going to bookmark this for more future reading.
    Romi recently posted…Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: 1, 2, 3. An Overview.My Profile

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