Harry Potter and the Reverse Voltaire

[A]pparently what had prompted my colleague’s enthusiastic denunciation of J. K. Rowling’s statement of the political importance of the concept of sex was not so much any disagreement with the essence of what was said, but the thought that it may or may not be hateful to say so.

“I agree completely with what you say, but I’ll fight to the death to prevent you from saying it.”

If we are denied the language and resources to recognise, record, and respond to the facts of female oppression, we will not be able to ameliorate these harms. That is why, despite the many efforts made to prevent us from doing so, so many of us continue to speak.

The ‘Reverse Voltaire’ is of course a nod to its more famous cousin, the quote so-often attributed to Voltaire in defence of free speech:

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

The words were not actually Voltaire’s, but those of his biographer, one S. G. Tallentyre. Stephen G. Tallentyre was itself a pseudonym, of one Evelyn Beatrice Hall. Writing in 1906, the female Evelyn chose a male pseudonym to increase her chances of being listened to. And her words certainly were heard, though their true attribution is more often forgotten.

Source: Harry Potter and the Reverse Voltaire | by Mary Leng | Jul, 2020 | Medium

Lillian Moller Gilbreth

Mother of Modern Management and America’s First Lady of Engineering

Eleven years before receiving her Ph.D., Lillian married Frank Gilbreth. Together, they had 12 children. Two of the children went on to write two books, “Cheaper by the Dozen” and “Belles on Their Toes,” about their life in the Gilbreth household. Frank and Lillian devoted themselves to finding the “one best way” to perform any task in order to increase efficiency and productivity in industry. These studies are called time and motion studies.

In June 1924, Frank died suddenly of a heart attack. Lillian continued the work they had begun, writing four books and teaching industrial engineering courses at various schools, including Purdue, Bryn Mawr, and Rutgers. She was the first person to integrate psychology into concepts of industrial management.

During the Great Depression, President Hoover asked her to join the Emergency Committee for Unemployment. While on this committee, she created a successful nationwide program, “Share the Work,” that created many new jobs. During World War II, Lillian worked as a consultant for the government. She oversaw the conversion of factories to military bases and war plants. Lillian is credited with many inventions. These inventions include the foot-pedal trash can and refrigerator door shelves.

Source: EngineerGirl – Lillian Moller Gilbreth

Hidden women of history: Enheduanna, princess, priestess and the world’s first known author

The world’s first known author is widely considered to be Enheduanna, a woman who lived in the 23rd century BCE in ancient Mesopotamia (approximately 2285 – 2250 BCE). Enheduanna is a remarkable figure: an ancient “triple threat”, she was a princess and a priestess as well as a writer and poet.

Source: Hidden women of history: Enheduanna, princess, priestess and the world’s first known author

Melanie Perkins’ company Canva is now worth $8.6 billion

Melanie Perkins has become one of the wealthiest women in Australia this week, after her graphic design company Canva, which she co-founded with Cliff Obrecht and Cameron Adams, raised US$60 million in new funding.

This latest round of funding makes Canva the largest privately-owned company in Australia. The Sydney-based company, with more than a thousand employees operating across multiple countries across the world, operates on a “freemium” model that allows its users to access its software for free to design products including posters, websites and business cards.

Source: Melanie Perkins’ company Canva is now worth $8.6 billion

The forgotten Kennedy: The story of JFK’s sister, Rosemary, who was hidden from the world.

Like her elder brothers, Joe Jr. and John, she was born at her parents’ sprawling Massachusetts home. Only, there was no doctor present when her mother, Rose, was ready to deliver her daughter in September 1918. The nurse, intent on waiting for help, ordered Rose to keep her legs together until the doctor arrived.

Rosemary was held inside the birth canal for two hours, deprived of vital oxygen.

At age 11, she was sent to a Pennsylvania boarding school for intellectually challenged students, and at 15 to a convent school in Rhode Island where she was educated separately, with the help of a dedicated staff. Reports suggest her family made large donations to the school for its efforts.

In public, at least, Rosemary blossomed. But in private, she struggled.

Her rebellious late-night wanderings . . . in her early 20s had the nuns fearing “that she was picking up men and might become pregnant or diseased,” wrote Kennedy family biographer, Laurence Leamer.

In 1941, Joseph secured doctors to perform a lobotomy on his daughter, a surgical procedure that, at the time, was considered an acceptable form of treatment for mental illness and mood disorders. Although it was rarely recommended for intellectual disability.

The procedure was a catastrophic failure. It left Rosemary incoherent, unable to walk and only able to utter a handful of words.

She was 23 years old.

It was Rosemary’s sister, Eunice — who later became a prominent disability advocate and founded the Special Olympics — who first publically shared Rosemary’s story.

Source: The forgotten Kennedy: The story of JFK’s sister, Rosemary, who was hidden from the world.

Reclaiming femininity, crippling feminism

Women in the second wave considered ditching femininity key in charting the course to women’s liberation.

Fast-forward to the so-called feminism of today, which does not concern itself so much with women’s liberation as did the feminism of females now too old to take seriously. We’ve worked out a thrilling new spin on femininity: Today, critical analysis of femininity is derided as simple-minded or trivial — “basic.” It is more complex (and more fun, duh) to do what men wanted us to do all along.

If we continue to celebrate femininity, we will remain bound — decoratively stooping, in the cage, daubing on lip gloss, taking a selfie. In solidarity with femininity, we stand with the oppressor. Or, more precisely, we’re sitting at his feet.

Source: Reclaiming femininity, crippling feminism

Female Nobel prize winner deemed not important enough for Wikipedia entry

When the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm announced the Nobel prize for physics this week, anyone wanting to find out more about one of the three winners would have drawn a blank on Wikipedia.

Until around an hour and a half after the award was announced on Tuesday, the Canadian physicist Donna Strickland was not deemed significant enough to merit her own page on the user-edited encyclopedia.

The oversight has once again highlighted the marginalization of women in science and gender bias at Wikipedia.

Source: Female Nobel prize winner deemed not important enough for Wikipedia entry | Nobel prizes | The Guardian


Suffragetto is a feminist, political board game dating to the early 1900s. It was created by the Women’s Social and Political Union.

In 1903, Emmeline Pankhurst (1858–1928), with daughters Christabel and Sylvia, formed the WSPU because they were frustrated with the slow-moving pacifist methods of the mainstream movement. For over fifty years, UK women had campaigned for the right to vote, with little progress. Wanting to “wake up the nation” with “deeds not words,” the WSPU embarked on a coordinated plan of civic disruption.


To end patriarchy, woman must first seize power over herself

As we contest our own patriarchs in media wars on the internet, it is still time to heed her revolutionary message. The dedication and introduction of Wollstonecraft’s book lay out the first steps toward bringing down the patriarchy for the betterment of all humanity.

Source: To end patriarchy, woman must first seize power over herself | Aeon Classics

Windows into an alternative world

Artist and filmmaker Helen Grace reflects on her time documenting a radical women-only community.

In 1978 and 1980, the artist and filmmaker shot a series of never-seen-before photographs at Amazon Acres, a radical women-only community that unfolded on a remote Northern New South Wales mountain in the seventies and eighties.

Friendship as a Way of Life shows from May 8 to November 21

Source: Windows into an alternative world