“Feminism” is a loaded word for many, and it has changed over time. These days, a homemaker can still call herself a feminist, and so can those of us who get waxed. Since it’s National Women’s History Month and all, we thought we’d explore the label a bit by asking women across the country what feminism means to them, and how it plays a role in their lives today. Do you call yourself a feminist? Keep reading »
Not much is known about Donyale Luna, one of the first black supermodels, except that she was weird and beautiful. It is believed that Donyale created the story of her heritage from her imagination. Born Peggy Anne Freeman in Detroit in 1946 to parents Peggy and Nathaniel Freeman, Donyale was
hardly truthful rather creative about her background. Despite the evidence of her birth certificate, she said her biological father’s surname was Luna and her mother was of Native American, Mexican, and Egyptian descent. She even claimed one of her grandmothers was Irish and had married a black man. Perhaps Donyale created this story to escape her true upbringing — her father was reportedly abusive and was murdered when she was 18. Or maybe she thought the fashion industry would be more accepting of a more “exotic” beauty. Of course, we’ll never know, but one thing that we’re sure of is that Donyale was a pioneering force in modeling and remained strange throughout her short life. Keep reading »
During World War II, when the United States faced a pilot shortage, more than 1,100 women filled the gap. Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) served as civilian volunteers from 1942 to 1944, flying new planes from factories to military bases, testing planes, and towing targets to give gunners training (they flew planes with a moving target attached so military men could practice their shooting skills — yikes).
At first, people weren’t sure whether they could handle flying military aircraft. But at the final WASP graduation ceremony, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Forces, Henry “Hap” Arnold, acknowledged the lady pilots’ abilities, saying, “Now, in 1944, it is on the record that women can fly as well as men.” Keep reading »
When you were deciding what to wear this morning, did you consider that pants for women were once unheard of? Nowadays, pants are a major wardrobe staple for women, and many of us rarely wear skirts or dresses at all. But less than two centuries ago, it simply wasn’t acceptable. One woman, Elizabeth Smith Miller, challenged the status quo and attempted to reform the female dress code. Keep reading »
March is National Women’s History Month, so we asked readers on our “Do Tell” newsletter subscribers to tell us what ladies have inspired them, helping them become who they are today. What women have influence your life? Share your story in the comments. Keep reading »
The Smithsonian Channel is focusing on determined lady conservationists this Women’s History Month during a new programming block called “Women in Science.” These female scientists have stepped out of their labs and into the wild in efforts to study and protect the creatures and environments they hold dear. The premiere episode, “Running with Wolves,” airs Sunday, March 7, at 8 p.m. and documents biologist Gudrun Pflueger who, after suffering a brain tumor, has dedicated her life to saving Canada’s wild wolves. As you can see from the preview above, these women take an extreme look at their subjects. Not only do they live in their environments, but they go as far as examining the animals’ droppings in a quest to learn more. The other episodes will air at 8 p.m. on March 13, 20, and 27. Keep reading »