I know I’m biased because I am an American woman, but we’re rad as fuck. We still have a long way to go before we achieve equality, but there’s no chance we’re giving up this fight anytime soon. We love voting and choices and bodily autonomy and working!
Here are five American women who made major strides for all of us in terms of health and bad-assery:
Betty Ford: Time named her Woman of the Year 1975, I name her the raddest FLOTUS ever. Everybody should be obsessed with her. Founder of the Betty Ford Center, openly pro-choice, pro-psychiatric treatment, pro-sex, pro-woman, professional bad-ass…it’s honestly difficult to boil Betty Ford down to a teeny blurb. By being so open and honest about her addictions and the mastectomy she underwent in 1974, Ford raised awareness and visibility and saved a lot of lives. She was open about everything, actually. I saw this on her wikipedia page: In 1975, in an interview with McCall’s, Ford said that she was asked just about everything, except for how often she and the president had sex. “And if they’d asked me that I would have told them,” she said, adding that her response would be, “As often as possible.”
Esther Rome: One of the brilliant co-authors of Our Bodies, Ourselves. She also wrote a pamphlet about menstruation and printed it in red ink like a bad bitch would. She is also a big reason why tampon boxes warn women against Toxic Shock Syndrome(TSS). Read more about her here.
Jane Fonda: Barbarella is quite the feminist and bad-ass. During the late 60s and early 70s, she was a major activist who supported civil rights and opposed the war. In 2001, she founded the Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health. But mostly, she’s on this list because she got a lot of people to recognize the importance of exercise and her videos are fucking rad.
Alice Hamilton: As a pioneer in the fields of toxicology and occupational health, Hamilton had to navigate a lot of boy’s clubs with finesse and brilliance. For one, she was Harvard’s first femal faculty member and from the year 1924 to1930 she was the only woman member of the League of Nations Health Committee.Also she weirdly was on the list of Men in Science in 1944.
Nellie Bly: This cool lady-writer is famous for feigning mental illness and going under cover to expose the brutal and horrifying conditions in insane asylums. Bly’s famous expose, Ten Days in a Mad-House, lead to investigations of asylum conditions and a $850,000 budget increase for the Department of Public Charities and Corrections. Bly’s piece covering the Woman’s Suffrage Parade of 1913 had the coolest headline ever: “Suffragists Are Men’s Superiors.” She also went around the world in seventy-two days, six hours, eleven minutes and fourteen seconds to prove a point and break a record. Plus, she was fucking gorgeous.