Asian women are exposed to British racism even before they arrive in Britain. To gain entry permission they have had to go through long and rigorous interviews in the British Embassies in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. They have had to undergo the ordeal of answering absurd and very intimate questions about themselves, their husbands and their families. Questions such as ‘How long did you spend with your husband on the wedding night?’ are common, and if either partner makes the slightest misjudgement then entry permission is refused. In 1978, there was an exposé of the vaginal examinations carried out on Asian women to determine whether they were married or not, and to determine whether they were fiancées of men already settled in England. This was not a new phenomenon; complaints had previously been lodged against the Home Office but without any results. It was only when the liberal press had taken it up as a moral and sensational issue that there was some publicity. Examinations to ‘prove’ whether a woman is a virgin can only be seen as acts of violence and intimidation by the British state.

This ‘testing’ is based on the racist and sexist assumption that Asian women from the subcontinent are always virgins before they get married and that it is ‘not in their culture for women to engage in sexual activity before marriage’. This kind of absurd generalization is based on the same stereotype of the submissive, meek and tradition-bound Asian woman. Many Asian people are also given chest X-rays before they enter the country to ‘ensure that they are not carrying any serious and contagious disease’. These are also used to prove the identity of people wishing to settle in Britain. X-rays on pregnant Asian women have been carried out by untrained entry clearance officers in Dacca. X-rays are only ever carried out on pregnant women in ‘exceptional circumstances when either the child or the mother’s life is believed to be at risk’. The fact that the immigration officers administer them quite haphazardly on pregnant Asian women is only one example of the racism not only of individual officers but also the structural and institutional racism of the British state. Such practices also indicate the direct control the state is attempting to have on Asian women’s sexuality.

Pratibha Parmar’s essay “Gender, race and class: Asian women in resistance” from The Empire Strikes Back: Race and Racism in 70s Britain  (via abstractverses)

(via themindislimitless)

Cool Chicks from History Who Belong on Wikipedia


A lot of women’s history related pages are poorly sourced or non-existent on Wikipedia.  Wikipedia is so many people’s go to source that it is a big oversight (and might have to do with the huge gender imbalance among Wikipedia editors).  

Below is a list of entries I’ve found to be non-existent or lacking.  I don’t have time to create or edit them myself, but editing Wikipedia pages is a pretty common school assignment and there may already be some Wikipedia editors among my followers.  So I’m putting the suggestions out there.

This tumblr doesn’t meet Wikipedia sourcing standards, but I’ve linked to my own posts so you know what information can be found as a starting point.  In other words, cutting and pasting my posts isn’t a way to improve Wikipedia so please don’t do it.

If you want to get into wiki editing, there is an overview here.  If you have any problems or questions, Teahouse is peer support for new editors.

If you put together Wikipedia pages for any of the women listed, let me know when you’re done and I’ll post a link for my followers.

Lucy Gwynne Branham was a noteworthy US suffragette but doesn’t have a Wikipedia page.  My post on Lucy in which I complain about her lack of a Wikipedia page.

Sharon Hedrick lacks a Wikipedia page despite several noteworthy firsts in wheelchair sports.  My post about her.

Elsie Hill is mentioned on her husband’s entry, but lacks her own entry.  My post on her suffrage activities.  Elsie’s sister Helena was also a well known suffragette but lacks a Wikipedia entry.  My post (with several sources linked though the photo is actually her daughter).

Cora Dow has no Wikipedia page, but was important enough in her day for Howard Taft to eulogize her.  My post.

Ruth Elder lacks a Wikipedia page, despite a career in both film and aviation.  My post.

Verna Erikson doesn’t have a Wikipedia page in either English or Finnish, but was an icon of White Finland (white being a political movement).  My post.

Lucy Tayiah Eads has no Wikipedia page, but she is briefly mention on the Kaw People page.  My post.

Marie Bottineau Baldwin only has a stub.  My post.

Ida A. Bengtson only has a stub, but she is mentioned on the page for Clostridium botulinum.  My post.

Kang Tongbi has an entry in Chinese, no entry in English.  My post.

Moh Yoon-sook only has a stub on the English language version of Wikipedia.  Her Korean wiki entry is much more developed.  My post on her which uses a different Anglicization.

Lis Hartel has only a stub in both English and Danish.  My post.

Juana de la Cruz has a much more detailed entry in Spanish than in English.  My post.

The entry on the Women’s Land Army of America (Farmerettes) needs some serious expansion.  My Farmerette post.  (I have a few other drafts if anyone decides to tackle this one)

Jeanne Hachette has a more detailed entry in French than English.  Reblogged post from French History.

Princess Stephanie of Belgium has a Wikipedia page, but it fails to mention that was an inventor.  My post, with link to a NYT article about her patent.

List of women firsts could use some serious work, such as listing all the the first female Nobel Prize winners.

Many International Women of Courage Award winners lack Wikipedia pages.


LGBTQ* History You Might Have Missed in Art Class

Peter Gluck  (1895-1978)

Gluck, an English trans* artist, born a wealthy and close-knit Jewish family, was a noted floral painter. His most well known work came later in life with Medallion, which featured Gluck and his long time partner of 34 years, Edith Shackleton Heald. Gluck also painted the Vigo Press cover of Well of Loneliness.


Take, for example, a controversial piece of history that relates directly to the current political debates: women’s control over reproduction. Birth control, if taught at all in our schools, is usually segregated in health classes. But women’s control over childbearing has actually been a key issue in U.S. history. As the women’s rights movement grew before the Civil War, white middle-class women became interested in controlling how many children they had in order to be able to extend their experiences beyond the home. For black and Native American women, control of their bodies meant primarily the ability to make choices about fertility that weren’t dominated by rape and the inability to keep their children safe and free. In the early 20th century, when Margaret Sanger first started handing out birth control—a crime for which she was repeatedly arrested—she saw it as part of a larger fight for the emancipation of the poor. But, only a few years later, influenced by the eugenics movement that fueled Jim Crow at home and imperial designs abroad, she was defining the “chief issue of birth control” as “more children from the fit, less from the unfit.” A generation later, many activists fighting for the legalization of abortion ignored the sterilization of black women in the South, Native American women on reservations, and colonized women in Puerto Rico.

What a rich, complex historical vein—all the contradictions around gender, class, and race that lie at the heart of supporting students to think critically about history and social justice strategies. When we open up history in this way, we encompass gender issues, homophobia, and LGBTQ history. Many aspects of current society that don’t show up in the standard curriculum—mass incarceration, poverty and the welfare system, the impact of militarization at home and abroad—are arenas where an exploration from a more feminist perspective can connect to students’ lives and expose them to a more expansive view of what history is and why it matters.


LGBTQ* History You (Probably) Never Heard Of

New Orleans, the Fire and the Eraser

* Trigger Warning: murder, arson, homophobia, church refusal

The (arson?/fire?) made the newspaper on one day. After details were shared the day after the fire, the story never made New Orleans’ print again.

Following text from The Bilerico Project:

Filed by Jesse Monteagudo 

On June 24, 1973 an arsonist started a fire that consumed the UpStairs Lounge, a second-floor gay bar in New Orleans’s French Quarter. The UpStairs Lounge Fire was both the deadliest fire in the history of New Orleans and the largest mass-killing of gay people in the US.

Among the 31 men and one woman who died in the fire were members of the local Metropolitan Community Church, who frequented the Lounge after services for its Sunday “beer bust.” (One particularly grisly photo was of MCC Pastor William R. Larson, who burned to death while trying to escape through a window.)

The UpStairs Lounge Fire showed New Orleans at its homophobic worst as many families refused to claim the victims’ bodies and most local churches refused to conduct their funerals. MCC founder Troy Perry and other activists rushed to New Orleans to help bury the victims who, as many locals thought, “got what they deserved.”

Read more HERE


Inez Milholland [Boissevain], center, as she begins her last speaking trip for [National Woman’s] party, 1916”

(via lipsredasroses)

Very cool display in the newberry library.


Portrait of Louise Marie-Therese (The Black Nun of Moret) 

Along with the Man in the Iron Mask, the French royalty has another mystery: Louise Marie-Therese. There is strong circumstantial evidence that her mother was the Queen of France sired by her page, an African midget. At this time in history it was popular for women at court to have such as pages. Read the following excerpt from Wikipedia for a fair summary on this story:

‘La Grande Mademoiselle tells that the child could be of the black page Nabo, of whom the Queen was very fond. The adultery thesis is not considered likely, as the Queen was a very pious woman, and there is no knowledge of even the slightest mistake of hers. It would be very difficult in Versailles to have a liaison and even to give birth in secret. Every Royal birth happened in public, in the Queen’s bedchambers, with all courtiers present as witnesses. The little princess Marie-Anne was born (16 November 1664) with a dark skin caused by cyanosis, and died shortly after birth (26 December 1664). Some say that the baby remained black, and had been changed with a dead girl, to avoid scandal. According to Madame, wife of Louis XIV’s brother, her husband said that the child was not black at all but very ugly. In any case, although the story about the black daughter of Maria Theresa is unconfirmed, it was still persistent and believed by many.

Saint-Simon mentions that her convent was visited sometimes by the Queen and later by Madame de Maintenon, he also mentioned that they didn’t always see her but always watch over her welfare. The nun however seemed convinced of her Royal birth, and it is told by Saint-Simon that she once greeted the Dauphin as “my brother”. A letter sent on June 13, 1685, by the Secretary of the House of King to Mister De Bezons, general agent of the clergy, and the pension’s patent of 300 pounds granted by King Louis XIV to the nun Louise Marie-Thérèse on October 15, 1695, “to be paid to her all her life in this convent or everywhere she could be, by the guards of the Royal treasure present and to come” confirm this opinion.’

(via lipsredasroses)


Los Angeles Times

October 18, 1947

HALT! — These four young women are members of the first pistol-trained feminine class at the Police Academy and were graduated yesterday. From left, Alice Houghton, wearing the new policewomen’s uniform; Florence L. Reid, Darlene E. Wright and Edna L. Antonich. The last three demonstrated their skill as expert markswomen.


WAC servicewomen during transports somewhere.

(via forghouls)


Free Milk for France Parade, Washington D.C., 1918

Images via the Library of Congress

Free Milk for France was a response to the agricultural devastation created by World War I.  Founded by a small group of New York women, branches were eventually created in 38 states by locally prominent women.

Free Milk for France shipped powdered milk to France where it was distributed by the government and government authorized facilities to children, the elderly, the sick, and nursing/pregnant women.  The US government contributed $9,623.87 ($143,363.16 in today’s money) collected in fines from war profiteers.

Sister Gaume, Sister Superior of an orphanage in the Belleville quarter of Paris wrote on receiving the milk:

This precious milk is used for the orphans, for tired or old sisters, for young mothers who nurse their babies, for quite small children, for the tubercular, for the convalescent, for the people who are left destitute by the war and hide their misery… Your splendid gift is thus very much appreciated.  It is very useful and we will never forget it.


Oksana Omelianchik was a Soviet gymnast.  She won the all around gold medal in the 1985 World Gymnastics Championships.  Oksana remains involved in gymnastics as a coach, choreographer and judge.

(Source: gymnasticsgifs)