Every month I write an article for Smart Women, Trashy Books about kicks women in history and link to it here. This month I’m featuring Khutulun – military leader, archer, soldier, and champion wrestler.
Khutulun served as her father’s military leader and took part in combat, taking many prisoners. According to Marco Polo:
“[She would] make a dash at the host of the enemy, and seize a some man thereout, as deftly as a hawk punches on a bird, and carry him to her father; and this she did many a time.”
She’s most famous for being an unbeatable wrestler. She refused to marry any man who she could defeat in a match until finally she fell in love with one of her father’s soldiers. Khutulun continued to lead the army after her father died.
Over on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, I run a monthly column about Kickass Women. This month was about Mary Bowser, Civil War spy. Bowser was born a slave and freed by the Van Lew family. She worked for Elizabeth Van Lew as a servant. Van Lew was a spymaster for the Union and she got Bowser as job as a domestic at the Confederate White House. Everyone assumed that Bowser was illiterate, and she also pretend to be not very bright. As a result, she had access to maps, letters, documents, and conversations. Not only could she read and write, but she had an eidetic memory. Van Lew considered Bowser to be the most valuable spy in her network.
As many of you know, I’ve recently started a project at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books called “Kickass Women in History”. This month, I write about Annie Cohen Kopchovsky, also known as Annie Londonderry.
Annie Londonderry was the first woman to bicycle around the world. She did, of course, take the occasionally boat ride. Her detractors claimed that she carried her bike more than she rode it. Be that as it may, she made it around the world in fifteen months, and went on to be a reporter, stating,
“I am a journalist and ‘a new woman’ if that term means that I believe I can do anything that any man can do.“
For more about Annie and how cycling changed the world for women, check out my post at this link!
This site has mini-biographies of women along with suggestions of where to buy costume items if, like me, you stink at making stuff (or if, like me, you put off making stuff until the last minute and then you don’t have time). There’s also do-it-yourself tips for the craftier people among us (Hi, Mom, thanks for making my Regency dress this year!). The list of women profiled is lengthy and diverse. The categories are Glamour Grrls, Notable Women, Queens, and Goddesses and Legends. Some of these women are well-known and some are not – all are fascinating!
Here’s a partial list of costume ideas from the site:
Ada Lovelace (scientist)
Jane Austen (author)
Anna May Wong (actress)
Chalchiuhtlicue (Aztec Goddess)
Madame C.J. Walker (entrepreneur)
Grace O’Malley (pirate queen)
This site is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about women in history, whether you like playing dress up or not. Be sure to check out the blog in addition to the costume ideas. It’s funny and informative and entertaining and creative. Have fun!