There is a groundbreaking new video series called “Ordinary Women: Daring to Defy History” that attempts to shift the way woman will be portrayed in history by featuring the real life accomplishments of little known but powerful women from the past. Each episode uses incredible animation to depict the subjects in the time period in which they lived.
Feminist Anita Sarkeesian has been passionate about its production. She believes that changing our culture’s ideas about what women have done in the past can impact our perceptions of what women are capable of doing in the present and future. “I think that often when young girls…are exposed to stories about amazing women and their accomplishments, it can dramatically change their whole idea of what’s possible.”
Because of the enormity of the contributions women have made throughout history, there were easily at least 50 different historical figures considered initially. The series narrows the focus to these five women:
- Ching Shih, who started out her life working in a brothel, but ended up being the feared commander of one of the largest pirate fleets in history.
- Ida B. Wells, who was born a slave, but became a hard-hitting investigative reporter, exposing the prevalence of lynching in the American South.
- Murasaki Shikibu, who at a time when women’s names were rarely written down, became the writer of the first modern novel.
- Emma Goldman, who was kicked out of three countries and labeled the most dangerous woman in America because of her radical, anarchical views.
- Ada Lovelace, who despite being told that her feminine mind was too weak to comprehend math, wrote the world’s first computer program.
Women are so often portrayed in stories and media as supporting characters in the lives of men, but this series focuses on their accomplishments. Sarkeesian hopes that this will be the first of many series of its kind. “Having stories that center [around] women encourage us to see women as people who are important to their own lives and intrinsic humanity, rather than defining them in relationship to men.”
Subscribe to the Feminist Frequency to view “Ordinary Women” on YouTube.