Good monuments should remind us of our history, especially those parts of it that have been neglected or forgotten. So when our view of history changes, rather than remove statues, we should think of how to reframe them, to retell their story. Take, for example, the brilliant suggestion by Matthew Parris that the statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College, Oxford should not be removed. Rather, another statue of Lobengula, the king of the Matabele people Rhodes subjugated, should be erected in his line of sight. That way, Rhodes would not be forgotten, but challenged.
The Blue Plaque scheme, set up in 1866 to pinpoint key locations where Londoners of note made their names, currently features 111 women on its roster - just 13 per cent of the list. How can it be that so few of us have made our mark on history? The act of recording history - rather than creating it - seems to be at the heart of this crisis of fair recognition. For centuries, this was overwhelmingly carried out by men, about men, for men; women’s contributions were largely absent from the record. Keep that up long enough and people inevitably come to regard progress as something driven and engineered by men, while their womenfolk sat at home quietly, making sure their fella’s socks were darned and bellies filled.
“At first, it felt as if the term had the potential to change everything,” she wrote in the New York Times. “But…the term, which once held so much promise, has been co-opted, sanitized, stripped of its power to shock, disturb and galvanize.” Over the years, Farley watched in dismay as the phrase became a standard part of corporate orientation sessions, intended for businesses to defend themselves against lawsuits by female employees. “The working women’s revolution I once envisioned hasn’t happened,” she wrote recently. Though Farley recognizes that the term has sparked change in the workplace, she feels it did little to change the power dynamics that allow harassment to flourish.
While the 1968 protests may not have done much to change the nature of the Miss America pageant, they did introduce feminism into the mainstream consciousness and expand the national conversation about the rights and liberation of women. The first wave of feminism, which focused on suffrage, began in the late 19th century. Many historians now credit the ’68 protest as the beginning of feminism’s broader second wave.
Part of what made these dresses so flammable was the same thing that made them so beautiful. These dresses were meant to give the illusion that women were dreamy, romantic figures, but that also meant they had air flowing around and through them. “If you imagine a sheet of newspaper and a hunk of wood, essentially, chemically, they are the same. But one will catch light way more quickly than the other. So if you have a very flimsy, flowing something that mixes well with air, it will burn quite readily,” says Martin Bide, a professor in the textiles, fashion merchandising, and design department at the University of Rhode Island.
Rampant sexual abuse is finally being uncovered. It’s about time. Since this is hardly something new, why is it being outed now? To answer that question, we look at three major forces that shape sex abuse in the United States and other modern societies. The first two are class structures: how the capitalist class structure organizes the work experience in enterprises and how what turns out to be a feudal class structure shapes the work experience inside households. The third force is the system of gender definitions, roles and relations that shapes many social experiences. We seek to identify and explain how capitalism, feudalism and gender interact to overdetermine sexual assault as well as women’s rebellion against sexual assault.
Pompadour has been portrayed as a wily schemer who used sex to gain inappropriate influence over the king and grab power for herself, Lewis writes–but to the extent this is true, she was hardly alone. In the cloistered court at Versailles, everyone was vying, directly or indirectly, for power and influence over one central figure: the king. “The Marquise, certainly, had her flaws, but these flaws were simply not great enough to warrant the relentless maligning of her reputation in her lifetime and after her death,” writes Lewis.
When documenting a previously unwritten part of history, the field opens to new diversity in points of view about buildings, cities, and society. “What we’re working for is a culture of change—a mental state that will allow equality in the achievement of women,” says the foundation’s executive director, Cynthia Phifer Kracauer. A hopeful, she admits, but achievable goal. “I think you can be very serious about your scholarship and be entertaining and have a design impact.”
If we only teach certain stories from history — and if we leave out so many female pioneers – school-aged girls will only see themselves pursuing certain paths. They won’t have the examples needed to imagine other outcomes, for themselves or their female friends. It’s part of the reason why women represent 51 percent of the world population, but a mere one out of seven of our engineers. It’s why we continue to see female policymakers and advocates overshadowed by male counterparts. And why we risk limiting the insights and innovations today’s schoolgirls can bring to science, journalism, the military, and more.
For their part, suffragists realized early on the power of the newsreel, pioneered in the U.S. in 1911 by Pathé. Filmed marches and demonstrations spread the word about women’s suffrage much better than suffragists “giving speeches to each other in public.” But newsreels were double-edged: the same footage of a huge 1912 suffrage parade in New York found its way into an anti-suffrage film and the movement’s own Votes for Women (1912).
December 7, 1941 was one of the five deadliest days in American history, outside of the American Civil War. In the 90-minute Pearl Harbor attack, the Japanese sunk four battleships and two destroyers, destroyed 188 aircraft, and damaged buildings, ships and airplanes. 2,400 Americans were killed and another 1,250 were injured in the attack, which launched the U.S. into World War II, which would eventually claim nearly 300,000 American lives and cost the country $350 billion. Such a jolt drove Americans to do something they had not done before. In addition to mobilizing more than 16 million men, they also admitted nearly 400,000 women into the services. Among these were nearly 10,000 female codebreakers, whose service paved the way for women in the postwar workforce, spycraft, and politics.