Sunday, October 27, 2013

Atonement: Remembering Japan's Comfort Women

Yesterday, the boys at Stuff You Should Know released a podcast covering revisionist history. A basic definition of historical revisionism is: the reconsidering of traditional historical narratives in light of new material, the rejection of false or subjective information, or the inclusion of forgotten/ marginalized perspectives. Listening to Josh and Chuck, I wondered how this subject affected women’s history. During a quick Google search, one issue that popped-up again and again was comfort women. I had a nebulous comprehension of the problem, and remembered glimpsing the occasional pertinent news story, but that was it. Researching the matter and its connection to revisionist history, I came to understand how it mutually exemplifies the contentious and imperative nature of reinterpreting conventional history.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Most Terrifying Words You'll Ever Hear...

Presumably, a Nazi Bride School
newbie tricking-out her dorm room. Sigh,
those freshmen!
For my Halloween podcast and blog series, I've chronicled Lavinia Fisher-legendary highway-robber, Amelia Dyer-Victorian child murderess, and three pairs of sinister siblings. Accordingly, I had just sat down to write a post on Elizabeth Báthory, “The Blood Countess,” who supposedly bathed in her victims’ blood, when I stumbled over something even more disturbing. I've got three words for you, bitches: Nazi Bride School!

Earlier this month, researchers combing through Germany’s Federal Archive unearthed documents concerning the Reichsbräuteschule, or Reich Bride Schools. Though scholars knew of their existence, these matrimonial preparatory schools were (and remain largely still) shrouded in mystery. The recent discovery of a rulebook and certificate of completion, give historians further understanding of this shadowy facet of Hitler’s Third Reich. And y’all, it’s just as creepy as it sounds…

Friday, October 18, 2013

I'm So Excited!

Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!! You guys!!! AHHHH!!!! The official trailer for Amma Asante’s movie about Dido Elizabeth Belle was released earlier this week! 

The U.S. release date is May 2, 2014! Who’s coming with me?

She Blinded Me With Science!

October 15th was Ada Lovelace Day, “an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).” Get your nerdy girl groove on with “History, Bitches” by learning about the day’s namesake and four more pioneering lady scientists.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Episode #11: Twisted Sisters

They're selective mutes, murderous housemaids, and twins possessed by “folie à deux.” Tune-in to discover what makes June and Jennifer Gibbons, Christine and Léa Papin, and Sabina and Ursula Eriksson “twisted sisters!”

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Episode #11: Twisted Sisters (Show Notes)

The Grady sisters from director Stanley Kubrick’s
horror masterpiece, The Shining (1980).
 Everybody knows the scene; it’s iconic. Little Danny Torrance is cruising on his tricycle through the corridors of the Overlook Hotel. Then, unexpectedly, he’s stopped by the appearance of the Grady sisters. Everything about them is unsettling, from their robin’s egg blue frocks and black Mary Jane shoes, to their ghostly entreaty to “Come and play with us...” I'm creeped-out just writing about it. Nevertheless, this episode’s subjects- June and Jennifer Gibbons, Christine and Léa Papin, and Ursula and Sabina Eriksson-could give those girls a run for their money!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Pied Pipers of Victorian England

The British Medical Journal,
Vol. 1, No. 1577 (Mar. 21, 1891), p. 656
During the mid-late 1800s, reports like this could be regularly found inside the British Medical Journal. Baby farming, the custom of fostering or adopting-out a young child for money, was commonplace throughout Victorian England.  As continues to be the reality in many societies today, unmarried, pregnant women encountered considerable hardships. Unexpected and/or undesired children were a pecuniary encumbrance on typically already stretched resources. Family members regularly spurned these “unchaste” women, some children’s homes refused to admit babies conceived immorally, and the probability of marrying someone to help provide for you and a bastard child was laughable. Not to mention, aborting or deserting your baby was unlawful, illicit abortions could be fatal, and infanticide was punishable by death. For many women, the safest choice was putting the child “out to nurse” with a baby farmer; thanks be, there were plenty of them.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Episode #10: Lavinia Fisher (Mini-cast)

Was Charleston’s Lavinia Fisher America’s first woman serial killer? Tune-in to hear the grisly legend and discover the shocking truth.

Episode #10: Lavinia Fisher (Mini-cast) Show Notes

It’s doubtful this commonly-used
portrait actually depicts Lavinia Fisher
Google Lavinia Fisher and you'll likely come across references to her as America’s first woman serial killer. Though it’s not fact, the real story of Lavinia’s criminal escapades is just as scandalous.

Here’s the legend:

Lavinia and husband John operated a lodge, Six Mile House, outside of Charleston, South Carolina. The Fishers preyed on male customers travelling by themselves. Furtively, Lavinia would poison guests’ supper or tea using laudanum; later, when the man nodded-off, John would butcher them with his axe. Ultimately, one fortunate would-be victim named John Peoples got away; he alerted law enforcement. Searching the Fisher’s roadhouse, police unearthed many decaying corpses. Subsequently, Lavinia and John were arrested, tried for robbery and murder, and condemned to hang.