Women's History Month

So Many Amazing Women have walked the Earth...

In honor of Women's History month, I would like to talk about women of style, brains, and beauty.  Women have been on the forefront of many movements.  This includes not only feminism, but the social justice movement, civil rights, and the fight for people with disabilities.  Below you will find several short snippets of women who are not only remarkable, but exciting and gorgeous as well!

Aung  Su

When I was 16, I read Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouc and thus began a love affair with the America West and Buddhist philiophies.  I continued on to college, where I studied at a Buddhist College, called Naropa University.  There I learned about Aung San Suu Kyi.  Aung is a political activist and chair for the National League of Democracy in Burma.  Her political tactics are influenced by both Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence and more specifically by Buddhist concepts. Aung San Suu Kyi entered politics to work for democratisation of Burma, when it was in a time of strict militant rule.

Aung San Suu Kyi worked tirelessly to end military rule in Burma.  However, the military was relentless in denying her political power.  They took this to the extreme by putting Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest in 1989, where she remained for over 15 years.  Aung San was offered her freedom if she exiled, but instead she chose to stay on and fight for the democrization of Burma.  In 2010 she was released, and she now holds a seat in Parliament (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aung_San_Suu_Kyi).  

Audre Lorde

You can't walk down the street these days without seeing a pair of wide rimmed glasses.  I love the circular ones, the square ones, even the Cat Eye.  A famous woman to rock the cat eye, wide rim glasses also happens to be one of the bravest women I have come across in my readings.  Her name is Audre Lorde.  Audre was an author, activist, and teacher.  I find this quote to be words to live by:  “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” 

Audre was born in Manhattan in 1934, the daughter of Grenadian immigrants.  As a child she was diagnosed as having severe visual impairments.  Yet she remained a voracious reader.  She devored books and went on to become a librarian.  Audre was also an author, and released her first collection of poems in the late 1960s.

She was professor of English at John Jay College of criminal justice and Hunter College. She was the poet laureate of New York from 1991-1992. She was also a prominent advocate in the LGTB movement (http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/306).

A few years back I read her autobiography, My Name is Zami, and I was blown away.  Her strength and resilience were unbelievable. I recommend this book highly to anyone who wants to be inspired by a brave human being.  You can check it out on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Zami-Spelling-Biomythography-Crossing-Feminist/dp/0895941228.

Dolores Jiménez y Muro

Dolores Jimenez y Moro was a feminist and leader of the Mexican Revolution.  Not only was she a thinker that pushed the envelope, she actually rolled up her sleeves and engaged in battle.  Dolores was born in 1848.  She started her career as a school teacher, and later became a colonel in the Revolutionary Army.  She worked tirelessly to improve the living condition of indigenous people, rural citizens and workers in Mexico.  Dolores was also concerned with women's rights and worked to improve moral, intellectual and economic conditions for women in Mexico.  She co-founded and edited a feminist journal called "Mujer Moderna, as well as social justice newspaper called "Justicia y Libertad."

And of course, Dolores was a woman of style.  I love a photo I came across of her in a long wool plaid skirt and a double sash of ammunition.  You can see this image as inspiration for many fashion runways, including Rodarte's Praire Fall 2011 collection. (http://www.style.com/fashionshows/review/F2011RTW-RODARTE).