Women You Should Know

A side step from the wedding stuff for a moment, and a look into some info on women we should know but most likely don’t. It’s International Women’s Day today and a chance to celebrate being a woman, acknowledge how far women and feminism has come, and to research all those women – who should be famous, but because they are women from history, we just don’t know about them. Or enough about them.

Yes, we know Alexander Graham Bell, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud and Galileo – and the list goes on. In fact, I just googled ‘100 Scientists to Shape the World’ and there was one woman who I had heard of. ONE! Marie Curie. Well, we need to get to know the other women who did amazing things. This is in no disrespect to the¬†fantastic things the above men did. It isn’t to compete. It isn’t to show women are better. It is to uncover history. It did happen. Men did amazing things, yet so did women. We should know about both.

So, without further ado – and with thanks to the Women’s Rights Page that I follow, let me introduce you:

WOMEN

  • Maris Mitchell was an astronomer in the 19th Century and discovered a comet. I never knew this. The comet was named after her as ‘Miss Mitchell’s Comet.’ I find this interesting that it needed the title ‘Miss’ – anything named after a man doesn’t tend to need the title ‘Mr’, but maybe I’m reading too much into it ūüėČ

  • Emmy Noether was an influential mathematician – again in the 19th Century, who was known for her contribution to algebra and theoretical physics. Go her!

  • Jocelyn Bell Burnell was an astrophysicist and discovered the first radio pulsars. I don’t know what these are, but she sounds clever ūüėČ

  • Valentina Tereshkova – still alive today – was the first woman in space,¬†(the fifth Russian cosmonaut)to go into the Earth’s orbit when her spaceship Vostok VI was launched¬†from Moscow.

  • Cecelia Payne-Gaposchkin was a British-American astronomer and astrophysicist, who proposed in her Ph.D. thesis an explanation for the composition of stars in terms of the relative abundances of hydrogen and helium. Wow!

  • Lise Meitner was a physicist who worked on nuclear physics and radioactivity.

  • Caroline Hershel¬† – an amazing astronomer, who worked alongside her brother Sir William Hershel for both of their careers. High five for also managing a working sibling relationship!

  • Rita Levi-Montalcini:¬†A neurologist¬† who was a Nobel prizewinning Jewish scientist. She carried out her cell growth research while hiding from the fascists during the second world war.

You see, with my background, I have always been fascinated with women like Jane Austen, The Brontes, George Elliot (Mary Ann Evans) who were trying to write in a male dominated world – writing with pseudonyms in some cases to just get noticed. But, I haven’t considered the Science field before. The above women have all succeeded in Science (arguably an even more male-dominated field).

Their history is there in black and white: we just need to read it and share it ūüôā

Happy International Women’s Day!

XSXS

Advertisements

Tattoos: Too Tatty?

Tattoos are things that people rarely sit on the fence about. They are bit like marmite; people love them or hate them!¬† People can go a little bit crazy with them… and my rule is: if there is more ink than skin, then that ain’t a good look! And as for having people’s names tattooed – a bit boring, unoriginal and could result in disaster. You don’t want to get divorced and have to have a stain removed off your skin amongst everything else. I know, some people have their children’s names tattooed and not just partners – and children are for life like tattoos etc – -but to that I say: Do you really need a reminder every time you look at your arm of what your kids’ names are?!

‘Ah yeh, Abigail, Beth and Harry, my 3 kids, thank god I had them ingrained into¬†my¬†skin for hangover days when I can’t even¬†remember my name, let alone my kids’!’

Mmmmm…… that’s what post-it notes are for¬† ūüėČ But seriously, even when I have kids I won’t want their names on my arm/shoulder/back. I will love them but I’d rather look at them than at an inky representation of them. And if having kids is like what I’ve heard, then when I finally get a break from them, I won’t want that red ink screaming up at me and reminding me of Sammy junior’s tantrum that morning. (I won’t seriously call my child Sammy Junior, I promise!)

Because, that’s the thing isn’t? Tattoos are for life; not just for that wild, impulsive day you wanted to be ‘young’ again. They become a part of you forever. many people say that they will look awful when you are older and wrinkle up. Well, my response to that is: our whole body will wrinkle up, but with a tattoo we have a souvenir and a reminder of the¬† ‘good’ old days and we remember why we had it and the person we were then. That’s what I’m hoping anyway……

I have a tattoo. I must be one of the only people to have a tattoo and have absolutely no piercings! I don’t even have my ears pierced. Never been fond of having holes drilled into me – whether they can heal up or not. But I do see tattoos as a form of art and when I left University, my housemate¬† and I decided to get a tattoo to reflect that part of our lives. It was to signify the end of University life – the last ‘crazy’ thing we would do. (Now though, 6 years later – I know, it wasn’t the last crazy thing I did ūüėČ ) It was all very thought out and we¬†went to a Tattoo parlour to look at designs, we tried to create our own, we asked around and finally a few weeks later we¬† had them. I had:

The feminism/female symbol: One friend did joke once; ‘Have you had this so people know you are a girl?!’

 

It is the symbol for feminism and naturally used for women and females a lot too. I¬† studied feminism a lot at University as part of my English degree. I considered myself a feminist at Uni and also, as I left, I was a strong, confident woman waiting for the¬† next life step. So, for me, it was the perfect tattoo to get. Do I regret it? No… my only regret is that I didn’t get a bigger version of the symbol! I was such a wimp and so worried that it would a.) go wrong b.) I would regret it …. that I opted for it as small as possible. So, people need a magnifying glass to see it, but it is there! The plus point of this…. when I am older, I won’t be able to see it anyway! ūüėČ haha.

One reason people are put off- is the pain. I am the biggest wimp. I don’t even like tweezing my eyebrows! This didn’t hurt. That may be because it is a tiny dot of ink ūüėČ and also because¬† it is on a fleshy part of my back too. So it depends what you have an where – and what you are prepared to go through.

My boyfriend hates¬†tattoos and didn’t want me to have it. He was on holiday in Austria at the time. I spoke to him briefly on the phone the day before and he was not impressed! But since, it was a feminist tattoo, I was going for, I thought it would be kind of ironic¬†if my boyfriend stopped an independent woman doing what she wanted to do ūüėČ So I had it. And I love it. It is on my back an I can show it off and hide it when I want to too. I love telling people that I have it, because people always¬†seem shocked. I have no piercings as I said above; I am quite conventional in most ways; I am a book geek. My tattoo is my piece of wild ūüėČ

It was a radio show that inspired me to write this. They were asking listeners what made them want a tattoo and why they chose what they had etc. The one¬† woman I heard had all her grandchildren on her arm – yawn. But she did say that when you have¬† one, you do want more and this part I agree with. When I turn 30, I want another one to reflect that part of my life. Another small symbol I think – that can keep my other lonely¬†one company ūüôā

Some questions to leave with you:

  • Do you have one? Would you have one?

  • What do you think of children’s/people’s names on them?

  • And… what can I have for my next one?!

 

XSXS

 

Women rabbit, witter, waffle, chatter…. Men talk.

Well I am resurfacing. I have to confess that Christmas has bitten me, chewed me up and swallowed me whole! I have been engrossed doing the whole preparation lark like putting up the decorations, buying presents, wrapping them and generally thinking what needs to be done. Being a woman and all, I like this and feel I have to do this whole process. Whereas, my boyfriend says he is not involved with anything christmas present related until the week before. He is lucky I buy all our family presents.

I have always been interested in the fascinating differences between the genders, as you can probably tell by previous posts. At university, I did my dissertation on how men and women communicate. I recorded conversations and looked in particular at how women are cooperative in conversation and men and competitive as these are two stereotypes often applied to the genders. This all came screaming back to me today as I recorded some conversations on my phone for some spoken language studies we are doing at school. I had to transcribe them too. Luckily these were short ones but back in the Uni days it could take a good ten minutes to transcribe 10 seconds of speech! I spent many an hour until 1am transcribing all women, all men and mixed gender conversations that I had got from recording my course and house mates.

It was really interesting stuff and I discovered that men tend to swear more. Especially in mixed gender groups. I think I linked this to the fact they could be trying to ‘show off’ in front of the opposite¬†sex. The same went for insults and jokes. Men definitely¬†tell more jokes and to take my feminist hat off a minute, I think men tell jokes better. Sorry to all the female comedians¬†out there! But men are good at being straight to the point and talking little, meaning a good gag with a punch line is usually delivered well. Women are good at telling funny¬†stories because they tend to use more hedges and fillers and ‘pad’ out their speech. Meaning a ‘joke’ becomes a bit long winded!

Naturally, this all comes from the stereotype that women talk more. My title above is actually from a poem called Men¬†Talk ¬†that I used to begin my dissertation. It says how women have all these different ways of communicating: chattering, waffling, nattering, wittering, tittling, rabbiting¬†etc. What do men do? They talk. They do it to communicate for a purpose a lot of the time, whereas women like the process and use it as a past time. I researched this as the time and found it can be said to stem from the cave man days. Men used few, key¬†commands to hunt. Women stayed at home and chatted to each other, supported each other and comforted each other. To some extend, don’t you think these stereotypes still exist today? When I recorded the conversations earlier, I did one with me, my mum and dad and one with me, my sister and her boyfriend. The male/female ratios were in favour of women yes, but boy did they dominate the conversation! Each male had one utterance and that was interrupted by a female each time! So is it just that the men can’t get a word in or do they not want to?

Women use 20,000 words a day on average, compared to a man’s 7000. Are they being sparing and choosing key words?! Apparently, as well, I looked at an article for my dissertation and it said than when a woman communicates, pleasure centres in the brain are activated. Major levels of dopamine and oxytocin are released¬† – which apparently is the fastest neurological reward you can get apart from an orgasm. Explains those 20,000 words doesn’t it?

Right, I’m off for a chat – even if it is with myself!

XSXS

Romeo, Romeo, you are a stud!

Evening guys, just a quick post tonight because I have had a pounding headache all day!!! Those damn kids… it has been my first full day today so that must have something to do with it!

We are studying Romeo and Juliet and an interesting point arose today in the lesson. It fits in very nicely with my post from a few weeks ago actually, Adding Fuel to the Feminist Fire. We were talking about how things were sexist in Shakespeare times and how, in some ways, they still are today. The pupils had to write down things they associated with the word ‘Romeo’, like if a man is a ‘bit of a Romeo.’ They came up with words like ‘romantic’ ‘a flirt’ ‘a ladies’¬†man’ ‘charming’ etc. We then got a dictionary definition and Romeo means ‘any man who is preoccupied with or has a reputation for amatory success with women.’ Mmmm¬†interesting…. The teacher (a male teacher if you were wondering ūüėČ )¬†then made the point of, what do we call a woman in the with the same definition? A Juliet? No sadly, that doesn’t exist. It will be one of the derogatory terms like slag, slut or whore. I had never thought of this before but I have thought about how men get to be called ‘studs’ when they pull lots of women, whereas women get called the above.¬† Like when men get to be called ‘bachelors’ when single yet we get the oh so lovely term of ‘spinster’.

So that’s¬†a thought to leave with you with today… and watch out for Romeos ūüėČ

See you tomorrow – hopefully headache free!

XSXS

Off with your Head!

Hey people…

Since my day so far has been pretty boring and I just feel I am waiting to go on holiday now… I thought I would share with you one of my interests. I am a little bit obsessed by Henry VIII and his six wives… no it’s not boring! I, for one, hated¬†history at school. But now that I have matured (a little!) and the learning of the subject is not forced upon me, I actually¬†quite like certain eras quite a lot. It fits it quite nicely with English and Literature you see… and the Tudor¬†period is the same time as Shakespeare. But that isn’t why I am fascinated by good old Hezza… it’s the fact that he seemed to be so attractively challenged yet managed to get six women to marry him. Six!

I started thinking about the old womaniser last night when the Olympic ¬†closing ceremony¬†was on. Not because he was such a budding athlete… even though I do believe he was pretty good at jousting and hunting and even tennis…. it was because they called our current Prince Harry, Henry. The Facebook¬†updates were quite funny as they cried out that the BBC had made such a mistake and called our young prince by the wrong name! It’s like everyone was looking for something to go wrong or be said wrong! It is of course, his actual¬†name. It then made me think of the Tudor king because people often referred to him as ‘Harry’ in his younger years at least. And I started thinking why? Why are Henrys¬†called Harry and vice versa? There must be an actual reason out there, which I’ve not bothered to go out and research just yet… I’ll save it for a quiet evening when I have nothing better to do. It doesn’t make sense though does it? The name doesn’t even shorten by doing that? Hezza¬†is much better… haha even though that doesn’t shorten either to be fair.. but definitely a more modern name for our current prince.

Back to Henry the VIII…. I was thinking that if he was a man living in today’s society then he would surely be on Jeremy Kyle. I can see the headline of the show now; ‘Man married six women… killed two, ditched two and one died having his baby!’ (His current beau.. good old Katherine Parr would be a guest on the show also!) I guess we have a lot to thank Henry for. There would be no D.I.V.O.R.CE song, would there? Would are population be dire? Think about it… if people were stuck with one person and never there was an option to get divorced then maybe they wouldn’t want to procreate? Then again there is always affairs… and that’s something else we learned from the saucy Tudors!

Who could resist that??

¬†My main fascination with his wives, lies with Anne Boleyn. She seemed such a rebel for the time and is painted in such a horrible light. Beheaded for many reasons.. one being incest… but what’s a bit of brotherly and sisterly love between family? I guess that’s the point! But the thing is, women were under so much pressure in those times to marry someone in order to support their family.. especially if they were poor. She¬†was told to ‘seduce’ lucky Henry by her father and uncle and would have had no choice in the matter. Women were pawns in the market of marriage and wealth. She then had to produce a son to keep Henry’s love and interest. So even if she did succumb to her brother then it would have been to double her chances of falling pregnant and with a son. Very weird and slightly disgusting but if it is true then it shows how desperate she felt. Witch craft was another apparent offence…. because she had some miscarriages and they thought she was cursed. I tell ya, us women need to breathe sighs of relief that we don’t live in that era. She was also accused of having affairs.. yet Henry had them openly. Men were allowed to though *sarcastic eyebrow raised look*. It seemed six women in a lifetime wasn’t enough.

The six lucky ladies….

¬†I won’t go into all the wives but what I find so amusing about the whole story…. is that Henry’s¬†one goal in life (apart from abolishing the catholic church)seemed to be to obtain a son to take over the throne. Yet who reigned for 45 years after his death? Elizabeth. A woman. His daughter.¬†And Anne Boleyn’s daughter at that. His son? Edward VI managed a sickly six years. I’m not on my feminist high horse or anything here… poor Eddy can’t help the fact that he died so soon but I’m just saying that Henry had nothing to worry about because the one thing he wanted he didn’t need. A queen filled that gap just fine.

The much wanted son  

(Not bad for the daughter of an ‘incestuous witch’ eh??)

Anyway, I want to share a poem with you that I have written….see what you think…

Another One

Spain in my bed every night,

Such passion, such morals,

Loved by all.

But no boy. No boy. No son.

Out with the old, in with Boleyn,

Dangerous, excitable,

Hated by all.

And no boy, no boy, so no head.

See more, I need a new love,

A not so plain Jane,

Gentle, kind and loving,

And a boy! A boy!

But exchanged for death.

Tears make a river to the next,

Yet I like her not! I like her not!

Picture tells a different tale,

I judge the book by the cover.

Don’t read the full story.

 

How… I move for….ward,

Light and easy.  Young.

Unlike me.

Lots of boys.

But in her bed.

So off with her head!

Finally, last chance at love.

As I near the end.

Someone to care,

Like a daughter.

I can die now, it’s done.

I have a son.

(I did have this in six separate stanzas but couldn’t get it to stay like that on the post.. I was also wondering if it worked better like¬†this though,¬†as in, it doesnt stop; like Henry’s search for a wife doesn’t stop. What do you think?)

So remember ladies…. make sure you get knickerless or you could end up headless ūüėČ

If any of you are interested in reading about the Tudor period; Alison Weir’s Six Wives is a good read. Also for you fiction lovers… Phillipa Gregory’s The Constant Princess, The Other Boleyn Girl and ¬†The Boleyn Inheritance are a good historical-fiction¬†trilogy.

See you tomorrow,

XSXS

Adding Fuel to the Feminist Fire

Hiya¬†People…. today I am going to risk alienating half of my audience (or at the least males, however many that is) and I want to talk about Feminism. Wait, wait listen up; there is a reason for this. When me and some friends visited our gay friends last night, this topic came up in conversation. By the way I am going to refer to one of the friends as Gay Best Friend (GBF) as he has particularly asked me to do this… and he is anyway; I’ve been very good friends with him since school and every girls needs a GBF¬†like she does shoes, chocolate and a feminist tattoo… oh wait the tattoo bit is just me. (shhh don’t tell!)

Anyway, we were out for dinner and my GBF was telling a story and happened to say ‘He is a Male Whore.’ Now, I can’t reveal who he is on¬†about and the rose wine was flowing so to be honest, I’m not even sure I can remember! But the term ‘Male Whore’ sat wrongly with me immediately¬†anyway. I challenged this and said why did he feel the need to add ‘Male’ onto a word that can mean the same for both genders? This led onto why men get called positive terms such as ‘studs’ and ‘bachelors’ but women get all the negative words.. and this is what I was saying that by adding ‘man’ or ‘male’ onto one of the terms we are saying that the word should normally be associated with women. What do you think of this? I’d love to hear some thoughts…

So me and my GBF¬†began a huuuge¬†debate whilst the other four friends at the table listened¬†(some with interest and I think some were thinking ‘What the hell have you started you whore?!) I revisited¬†my University lectures on Anglo-American and French feminist theories and remembered the argument about the word ‘History’. I am not saying I agree with this bit but I do find it interesting. Some feminists believe that History is like ‘his – story’ and why should it be studied from or be the man’s perspective. I think this is a step too far and my GBF¬†had some interesting insights into this. He knows various languages such as German, French, Swedish and some bits of others. He said that the¬†pronoun ‘he’ or ‘his’ doesn’t¬†always translate into the male gender in all languages and the word ‘history’ comes from latin and the ‘his’ part was actually translated as ‘it’, which in the word ‘history’ gives it no specific gender relation. I think¬†I remembered all this correctly after my few glasses of wine!

We actually stepped outside to continue our conversation after a while… partly to stop the others getting bored and wanting to kill one person off of each gender and also partly because my GBF¬†wanted to smoke and he didn’t want his boyfriend to know… see men can’t even tell other men what to do! ūüėČ hehe..and sorry GBF¬†for ‘outing’ your smoking habits! We went onto to discuss the word ‘woman’ and is this just the word ‘man’ with the prefix of ‘womb’ on it? My GBF¬†looked from the other side¬†and said that ‘man’ originally meant both genders and that women are lucky to have their own term, whereas men are stuck with the neutral one… well it’s the least we can have after years of not being able to vote!! We¬†also humorously discovered that my name ‘Samantha’ has the word ‘man’ in it and¬†I joked that I couldn’t have that and said my friends should now call me ‘Satha’.

Other topics discussed were when babies are born and they are immediately¬†gendered by being dressed in ‘blue’ or ‘pink’ and this is where my GBF’s¬†boyfriend joined in, who is a psychiatric doctor, and said we wouldn’t believe how much is already biologically determined and even if boys play with Barbie¬†dolls, they may do it in a rough and tumble way and still be determined¬†to be masculine and straight. My point to this was that the individual¬†should be able to choose and parents shouldn’t worry that their¬†girls will be tomboys¬†or their boys dressed in pink with¬†be feminine and gay… because there are a lot of things that determine it anyway. And before you all scream at me, there should’nt be a problem if they¬†were any of those things anyway.

So yes, that was our alcohol fuelled Fancy Friday chatter (my GBF called it Fancy Friday in contrast to our Dirty Thursday¬†due to the contrast that we began the evening by looking round their¬†three storey¬†pad and sipping champagne!) and I realise that this post today has been a lot less light-hearted than the previous ones and to what I have promised, but I’m sorry but sometimes my tattoo burns like Harry Potter’s scar and I have to release all these thoughts. There is no offense meant by any of the above ideas and I don’t completely agree with them all and if anyone has anything to add to the debate then go ahead….

Finally… at the end of the night…… I burnt my bra:

Haha just kidding! This is the remains of the shed that I wanted to share with you! I told you how it got taken to my boyfriend’s brother’s house. Well he didn’t want the roof so we burnt it! and now it has all gone yay!! So no, I didn’t burn my bra, just the remains of the shed….

Now ladies, off you go to wash up ūüėČ

See you tomorrow,

XSXS