siegfriedandfreud:

image

Kanno Sugako (Japanese: 管野 須賀子), also called Suga (1881–1911),[1] was an anarcho-feministJapanese journalist by profession. She was the author of a series of articles about gender oppression, and a defender of freedom and equal rights for men and women.

In 1910, she was accused of treason by the Japanese government for her alleged involvement in what became known as the Kotoku incident, aimed at the assassination of Emperor Meiji. She was the first woman with the status of political prisoner to be executed in the history of modern Japan.

(via beyondvictoriana)

lora-does-things:

Hairstyling
Woman styling the hair of a woman sitting on a tatami, while a third woman is watching. Photo of a series of 42 hand coloured albumine prints at Spaarnestad Photo by Felice Beato, Kusakabe Kimbei or Raimund baron von Stillfried. Japan, around 1880.

lora-does-things:

Hairstyling

Woman styling the hair of a woman sitting on a tatami, while a third woman is watching. Photo of a series of 42 hand coloured albumine prints at Spaarnestad Photo by Felice Beato, Kusakabe Kimbei or Raimund baron von Stillfried. Japan, around 1880.

4caminos:


Burma, 1889

4caminos:

Burma, 1889

(via beyondvictoriana)

universalbeauty:

Vintage photo of Nepalese woman, 1910 (source)

universalbeauty:

Vintage photo of Nepalese woman, 1910 (source)

(Source: , via beyondvictoriana)

ancientpeoples:

Women of Ancient Babylon
The best known and most complete of the ancient pre-Roman law codes is that of Hammurabi, 1800 BC ruler of Babylon.  It was the Hammurabi Code that said that one who destroys the eye of another should have his own eye put out as punishment and one who murders should himself be put to death, thus giving rise to the expression “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. 
It is unlikely that Hammurabi was a great jurist making up laws on the spot, but rather a pragmatist who sought to put in writing the judicial practices of his day.  Victims expected to be avenged; putting the penalties in writing acknowledged society’s interest in crime and punishment and sought to establish a maximum retribution.  All too often the victim or his family had gone beyond what the perpetrator or his family thought was appropriate and had begun an endless cycle of revenge.  Hammurabi felt that once the perpetrator had paid the price the incident should be considered closed.
    Elsewhere in this website I have stressed the need to look at the past through its own eyes and not through our own.  The following principles might well be questioned today but their validity in the Ancient World was regarded as self-evident:
Social order was more important than individual rights
Women’s sexuality should be sacrificed to ensure legitimacy
A family’s wealth should be administered by the husband/father
Women, especially widows and divorcees, needed society’s help
Keeping these axioms in mind will help us see Hammurabi’s Law Code in the same way the Babylonians saw it.  Numbers in brackets refer to the section numbers in the code.
    Perhaps the clearest example of the sacrifice of individual rights on the altar of social order is the provision that would spell death for the builder’s son if a new house collapsed and killed the owner’s son.  A wife may or may not have been considered property in the same way a son or daughter was, but her sexuality belonged exclusively to her husband, and any interference therewith had to be punished as much as any other serious theft. 
    Many in today’s world are worried that population growth will soon outstrip the resources of planet earth.  The reverse was true in the Ancient World where society needed more and more workers and families needed young people as a guarantee the old would not be left destitute and lonely.  People took pride in having a large number of offspring for they were living up to their social responsibilities and, of course, guaranteeing they would have someone to look after them in old age.
    Unwanted babies were exposed by many ancient societies.  Should the children of a slave or concubine be raised by their mother as a separate family or together with the other children of the father and his wife?  To the extent allowed by the laws of each society, fathers regularly had to decide whether to claim any newborn as his child.  At the head of the list of undesirable babies were those conceived as the result of a wife’s affair.  While motherhood was obvious, fatherhood was not.  The solution was to place severe restrictions on female sexuality.  The double standard would remain almost universal until the development of a reliable means of birth control in the second half of the Twentieth Century.
In the Industrial World it is possible for men or women to live on their own for a period of time between leaving their parents’ home and getting married.  That option does not exist in an agrarian society.  If people are going to live in family units anyway, perhaps it makes sense to have assets owned by the family, not the individual.  While Babylonia appears to have had no law against women owning property, they did not do so as a matter of course.  In the normal state of affairs, the husband or father was the custodian of the family assets.
The Ancient World knew perfectly well that all of this left women at a certain disadvantage.  The system worked very well in normal, happy marriages, but when disaster struck, whether it be death, desertion or divorce, it was usually the woman who paid the price.  We need to look at how the legal system attempted to redress this economic inequality.
Most women expected to marry and have a family.  A fair body of love poetry would suggest that girls did have some say, but marriage, at least in theory, was arranged by their fathers or brothers.  According to the Hammurabi Code a contract was necessary to make a marriage.  Based on the few that have survived, the contracts dealt mainly with what would happen if the marriage ended through death, divorce or desertion, but other clauses might exempt each from the other’s prenuptial debts or even require the bride to serve as servant to her mother-in-law.
The most important item to be negotiated was the size of the bride price. 
            We have seen that pre-literate societies used bride price to compensate the bride’s family for the loss of labor and Israelite society restricted it to a token amount as a symbol of engagement.  In Babylonia the bride price almost always became part of the dowry.  Depending on social status, the bride price could represent a significant transfer of wealth—-perhaps a house and several acres of land—- but at the bottom of the economic ladder it might have been little more than an item of furniture or some kitchen utensils.  Whatever it was it was, it became part of the new household’s assets and as such was administered by the husband, but legally it had to be kept separate for it was designed for the support of the wife and her children.  (151-152)
It frequently happened that the bride remained in her father’s house for as much as a year after the contract was signed.  If in the course of that time the groom changed his mind he did not have to marry her but he lost the full bride price. (159)   The bride’s father might also have changed his mind, in which case he would have been required to refund the purchase price in full (160). If a wife died before giving birth to a son the dowry, less the bride price, was returned immediately to her father’s house (163-164).  We will see later how the law strictly regulated the disposal of the dowry in other cases.  Daughters did not normally inherit anything from their father’s estate.  Instead they got a dowry that was intended to offer as much lifetime security for the bride as her family could afford.
At marriage a woman’s sexuality became the property of her husband.  Adultery was defined in Babylonia as elsewhere in the ancient world as a sexual relationship between a married woman and a man not her husband.  The marital status of the man was irrelevant.  Even the appearance or possibility of adultery was taken very seriously.  A wife caught in the act of adultery was to be tied to her lover and thrown into the water and drowned.   A husband could save his wife but then he had to save her lover as well.  (129) 
By its nature adultery is a secretive activity, yet the mere possibility of such a serious offence was disruptive of the social order.  If a woman’s husband accused her she may in the presence of a priest swear to her innocence and then return to her husband’s home.  If someone else accused her she would have to undergo an ordeal in which she would swear before the gods to her innocence and then jump into the river.  If she drowned it was a sign of guilt; if she survived it meant that the river spirits knew of her virtue and saved her.  (Note that this is the reverse of the medieval European ordeal.)  To the modern mind judgment was based on the woman’s ability to swim, but the ancient Babylonians were convinced of supernatural intervention.  Swearing innocence was not as easy as it sounds because most people were quite certain that the gods would punish anyone who lied in their names, but any wife willing to risk divine retribution was free to return to her home if her only accuser was a jealous husband.  If an outsider laid the charge the woman was likely to lose because few in Babylonia knew how to swim.  Whatever the justice of the verdict for the individual, the matter was settled and order was restored in the community. (131-132)
Although marriages were arranged by the parents, there is no reason to suppose that they did not involve considerable love, affection and mutual support.  Some relationships were bound to fail, however, and the code spelled out in considerable detail all of the options.  If he simply ran away and deserted her she was free to marry someone else; even if he returned later he could not reclaim her; nor could she opt to return to her first husband: the Code, not the woman, made the choice.  (136) 
A man could divorce his wife without giving a reason, but if she had borne him children there were some serious conditions:  she kept the children; she got the dowry; she also got the use of a field or property so she could raise her children. When her ex-husband died she got a portion of his estate equal to that given to each of her sons and was free to marry someone else. (137)  If a wife had no children she could be divorced by simply returning her dowry along with a sum equal to the purchase price.  If there was no purchase price he had to give her one mina of gold.  A shepherd could expect to take about six years to earn such a sum so in theory at least it could have been invested to go some way to maintain her. (137-140)
If the woman wanted out of the marriage or if the husband wished to avoid returning the dowry the courts had to be involved.  If she could demonstrate her innocence and his neglect she could take her dowry and children and return to her father’s house.  If it were established, however, that she was to blame and had neglected her house and husband, then he sent her away without dowry or children; if he wished, he could opt to keep her as a servant.  In serious cases the court might rule that she should be thrown in the water and drowned. (141-143) 
Throughout the Ancient World childlessness was considered to be a serious problem.  If a wife failed to bear children she might give her maidservant to her husband.  If the maidservant produced a baby it counted as the wife’s child.  If such a maidservant started to take on airs and act the equal of the wife she could not be sold but she would be kept strictly as a slave.  If neither wife nor maidservant produced a child a man was permitted a second wife but again she was not allowed to be equal in status to the first wife.  If his wife acquired a long-term illness he could take a second wife but he must continue to look after his first wife for as long as she lives.  She could take her dowry and return to her father’s house if she wanted to do so: the choice was hers. (144-149)
A wife’s dowry was administered by her husband as part of the family assets.  He had no say, however, in its ultimate disposal.  If she died childless, her dowry reverted back to her family—-her father, if he was alive, otherwise her brothers.  If she had sons, they would share it equally.  A man divided his estate among his sons after having provided a suitable dowry for each daughter and an appropriate bride price for each son.  If he died before arranging all of this his heirs were expected to do so before dividing the balance of the estate.  If a man had children by two wives, all of his sons shared his estate  equally; they got a portion of their birth mother’s dowry but nothing from their stepmother.  (166-167, 183-184)  Likewise a woman who had children by two husbands divided her dowry equally among her sons by both marriages. (173)
If in life the father acknowledged sons by a slave or concubine, they were entitled to share equally in his estate.  If he had not acknowledged them they had no right to inherit, but the slave or concubine and her children were freed on his death.  (170-171)
The marriage gift was property set aside at the time of the marriage for the support of the bride after the death of her husband.  If no such gift was made a widow was entitled to a share of her husband’s estate equal to that of a son.  She also had the right to remain in the family home for as long as she lived.  If she opted to remarry she would, of course, have to move and she would lose the marriage gift.  A widow with dependent children required judicial consent to remarry.  Her first husband’s assets were inventoried and kept in trust for his children.   (172, 177)
A father might have dedicated a daughter to serve a particular god as a nun.  Apparently some girls made this choice themselves as an alternative to an undesirable marriage.  The nun was still entitled to her share of her father’s property as a dowry even if she did not marry.  Unless he gave it to her outright it would be administered by her brothers on her behalf after their father died. (178-182)  If she became a hierodule (a lady of high standing in a temple) or a Marduk priestess her dowry was only a third of the normal size because such women had a number of tax advantages.
(Information from: womenintheancientworld.com)

ancientpeoples:

Women of Ancient Babylon

The best known and most complete of the ancient pre-Roman law codes is that of Hammurabi, 1800 BC ruler of Babylon.  It was the Hammurabi Code that said that one who destroys the eye of another should have his own eye put out as punishment and one who murders should himself be put to death, thus giving rise to the expression “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. 

It is unlikely that Hammurabi was a great jurist making up laws on the spot, but rather a pragmatist who sought to put in writing the judicial practices of his day.  Victims expected to be avenged; putting the penalties in writing acknowledged society’s interest in crime and punishment and sought to establish a maximum retribution.  All too often the victim or his family had gone beyond what the perpetrator or his family thought was appropriate and had begun an endless cycle of revenge.  Hammurabi felt that once the perpetrator had paid the price the incident should be considered closed.

    Elsewhere in this website I have stressed the need to look at the past through its own eyes and not through our own.  The following principles might well be questioned today but their validity in the Ancient World was regarded as self-evident:

  1. Social order was more important than individual rights
  2. Women’s sexuality should be sacrificed to ensure legitimacy
  3. A family’s wealth should be administered by the husband/father
  4. Women, especially widows and divorcees, needed society’s help

Keeping these axioms in mind will help us see Hammurabi’s Law Code in the same way the Babylonians saw it.  Numbers in brackets refer to the section numbers in the code.

    Perhaps the clearest example of the sacrifice of individual rights on the altar of social order is the provision that would spell death for the builder’s son if a new house collapsed and killed the owner’s son.  A wife may or may not have been considered property in the same way a son or daughter was, but her sexuality belonged exclusively to her husband, and any interference therewith had to be punished as much as any other serious theft. 

    Many in today’s world are worried that population growth will soon outstrip the resources of planet earth.  The reverse was true in the Ancient World where society needed more and more workers and families needed young people as a guarantee the old would not be left destitute and lonely.  People took pride in having a large number of offspring for they were living up to their social responsibilities and, of course, guaranteeing they would have someone to look after them in old age.

    Unwanted babies were exposed by many ancient societies.  Should the children of a slave or concubine be raised by their mother as a separate family or together with the other children of the father and his wife?  To the extent allowed by the laws of each society, fathers regularly had to decide whether to claim any newborn as his child.  At the head of the list of undesirable babies were those conceived as the result of a wife’s affair.  While motherhood was obvious, fatherhood was not.  The solution was to place severe restrictions on female sexuality.  The double standard would remain almost universal until the development of a reliable means of birth control in the second half of the Twentieth Century.

In the Industrial World it is possible for men or women to live on their own for a period of time between leaving their parents’ home and getting married.  That option does not exist in an agrarian society.  If people are going to live in family units anyway, perhaps it makes sense to have assets owned by the family, not the individual.  While Babylonia appears to have had no law against women owning property, they did not do so as a matter of course.  In the normal state of affairs, the husband or father was the custodian of the family assets.

The Ancient World knew perfectly well that all of this left women at a certain disadvantage.  The system worked very well in normal, happy marriages, but when disaster struck, whether it be death, desertion or divorce, it was usually the woman who paid the price.  We need to look at how the legal system attempted to redress this economic inequality.

Most women expected to marry and have a family.  A fair body of love poetry would suggest that girls did have some say, but marriage, at least in theory, was arranged by their fathers or brothers.  According to the Hammurabi Code a contract was necessary to make a marriage.  Based on the few that have survived, the contracts dealt mainly with what would happen if the marriage ended through death, divorce or desertion, but other clauses might exempt each from the other’s prenuptial debts or even require the bride to serve as servant to her mother-in-law.

The most important item to be negotiated was the size of the bride price. 

            We have seen that pre-literate societies used bride price to compensate the bride’s family for the loss of labor and Israelite society restricted it to a token amount as a symbol of engagement.  In Babylonia the bride price almost always became part of the dowry.  Depending on social status, the bride price could represent a significant transfer of wealth—-perhaps a house and several acres of land—- but at the bottom of the economic ladder it might have been little more than an item of furniture or some kitchen utensils.  Whatever it was it was, it became part of the new household’s assets and as such was administered by the husband, but legally it had to be kept separate for it was designed for the support of the wife and her children.  (151-152)

It frequently happened that the bride remained in her father’s house for as much as a year after the contract was signed.  If in the course of that time the groom changed his mind he did not have to marry her but he lost the full bride price. (159)   The bride’s father might also have changed his mind, in which case he would have been required to refund the purchase price in full (160). If a wife died before giving birth to a son the dowry, less the bride price, was returned immediately to her father’s house (163-164).  We will see later how the law strictly regulated the disposal of the dowry in other cases.  Daughters did not normally inherit anything from their father’s estate.  Instead they got a dowry that was intended to offer as much lifetime security for the bride as her family could afford.

At marriage a woman’s sexuality became the property of her husband.  Adultery was defined in Babylonia as elsewhere in the ancient world as a sexual relationship between a married woman and a man not her husband.  The marital status of the man was irrelevant.  Even the appearance or possibility of adultery was taken very seriously.  A wife caught in the act of adultery was to be tied to her lover and thrown into the water and drowned.   A husband could save his wife but then he had to save her lover as well.  (129) 

By its nature adultery is a secretive activity, yet the mere possibility of such a serious offence was disruptive of the social order.  If a woman’s husband accused her she may in the presence of a priest swear to her innocence and then return to her husband’s home.  If someone else accused her she would have to undergo an ordeal in which she would swear before the gods to her innocence and then jump into the river.  If she drowned it was a sign of guilt; if she survived it meant that the river spirits knew of her virtue and saved her.  (Note that this is the reverse of the medieval European ordeal.)  To the modern mind judgment was based on the woman’s ability to swim, but the ancient Babylonians were convinced of supernatural intervention.  Swearing innocence was not as easy as it sounds because most people were quite certain that the gods would punish anyone who lied in their names, but any wife willing to risk divine retribution was free to return to her home if her only accuser was a jealous husband.  If an outsider laid the charge the woman was likely to lose because few in Babylonia knew how to swim.  Whatever the justice of the verdict for the individual, the matter was settled and order was restored in the community. (131-132)

Although marriages were arranged by the parents, there is no reason to suppose that they did not involve considerable love, affection and mutual support.  Some relationships were bound to fail, however, and the code spelled out in considerable detail all of the options.  If he simply ran away and deserted her she was free to marry someone else; even if he returned later he could not reclaim her; nor could she opt to return to her first husband: the Code, not the woman, made the choice.  (136) 

A man could divorce his wife without giving a reason, but if she had borne him children there were some serious conditions:  she kept the children; she got the dowry; she also got the use of a field or property so she could raise her children. When her ex-husband died she got a portion of his estate equal to that given to each of her sons and was free to marry someone else. (137)  If a wife had no children she could be divorced by simply returning her dowry along with a sum equal to the purchase price.  If there was no purchase price he had to give her one mina of gold.  A shepherd could expect to take about six years to earn such a sum so in theory at least it could have been invested to go some way to maintain her. (137-140)

If the woman wanted out of the marriage or if the husband wished to avoid returning the dowry the courts had to be involved.  If she could demonstrate her innocence and his neglect she could take her dowry and children and return to her father’s house.  If it were established, however, that she was to blame and had neglected her house and husband, then he sent her away without dowry or children; if he wished, he could opt to keep her as a servant.  In serious cases the court might rule that she should be thrown in the water and drowned. (141-143) 

Throughout the Ancient World childlessness was considered to be a serious problem.  If a wife failed to bear children she might give her maidservant to her husband.  If the maidservant produced a baby it counted as the wife’s child.  If such a maidservant started to take on airs and act the equal of the wife she could not be sold but she would be kept strictly as a slave.  If neither wife nor maidservant produced a child a man was permitted a second wife but again she was not allowed to be equal in status to the first wife.  If his wife acquired a long-term illness he could take a second wife but he must continue to look after his first wife for as long as she lives.  She could take her dowry and return to her father’s house if she wanted to do so: the choice was hers. (144-149)

A wife’s dowry was administered by her husband as part of the family assets.  He had no say, however, in its ultimate disposal.  If she died childless, her dowry reverted back to her family—-her father, if he was alive, otherwise her brothers.  If she had sons, they would share it equally.  A man divided his estate among his sons after having provided a suitable dowry for each daughter and an appropriate bride price for each son.  If he died before arranging all of this his heirs were expected to do so before dividing the balance of the estate.  If a man had children by two wives, all of his sons shared his estate  equally; they got a portion of their birth mother’s dowry but nothing from their stepmother.  (166-167, 183-184)  Likewise a woman who had children by two husbands divided her dowry equally among her sons by both marriages. (173)

If in life the father acknowledged sons by a slave or concubine, they were entitled to share equally in his estate.  If he had not acknowledged them they had no right to inherit, but the slave or concubine and her children were freed on his death.  (170-171)

The marriage gift was property set aside at the time of the marriage for the support of the bride after the death of her husband.  If no such gift was made a widow was entitled to a share of her husband’s estate equal to that of a son.  She also had the right to remain in the family home for as long as she lived.  If she opted to remarry she would, of course, have to move and she would lose the marriage gift.  A widow with dependent children required judicial consent to remarry.  Her first husband’s assets were inventoried and kept in trust for his children.   (172, 177)

A father might have dedicated a daughter to serve a particular god as a nun.  Apparently some girls made this choice themselves as an alternative to an undesirable marriage.  The nun was still entitled to her share of her father’s property as a dowry even if she did not marry.  Unless he gave it to her outright it would be administered by her brothers on her behalf after their father died. (178-182)  If she became a hierodule (a lady of high standing in a temple) or a Marduk priestess her dowry was only a third of the normal size because such women had a number of tax advantages.

(Information from: womenintheancientworld.com)

collective-history:

Wealthy Chinese women with bound feet (Beijing, 1900). Foot binding was a symbol of women’s oppression during the reform movements in the 19th and 20th centuries.

collective-history:

Wealthy Chinese women with bound feet (Beijing, 1900). Foot binding was a symbol of women’s oppression during the reform movements in the 19th and 20th centuries.

(via collectivehistory-deactivated20)

worthdreamingof:

Lost Goddesses: Denial of Female Power in Cambodian History by Trudy Jacobsen

Women had a high status in pre-modern Southeast Asia; this is constantly  stated, especially in relation to discussions on the status of women  today in the region. Why, then, is it that the position of women there  today is far from equitable? Few studies have examined how or when - let  alone why - this change came about. This is the first study ever to  address the place of women in Cambodian history. A narrative and visual  tour de force, it revises accepted perspectives in the history and  geopolitical organization of Cambodia since c. 230 C.E. In so doing, the  book examines the relationship between women and power and analyses the  extent of female political and economic participation as revealed in  historical sources, including the ways in which women were represented  in art and literature. By taking an analytical approach through the  sequence of chronological periods, it is possible to determine when and  why the status of women changed and what factors contributed to these  changes.  Significantly, although Cambodian women have been represented  at different times as ‘powerless’ in western analyses, they have  continued to exercise authority outside those areas of concern to  western constructs of power. This study will be of interest to scholars  working in history, anthropology, gender studies, politics, religion,  Cambodian/Khmer studies, and Southeast Asian studies, as well as members  of the general public.

worthdreamingof:

Lost Goddesses: Denial of Female Power in Cambodian History by Trudy Jacobsen

Women had a high status in pre-modern Southeast Asia; this is constantly stated, especially in relation to discussions on the status of women today in the region. Why, then, is it that the position of women there today is far from equitable? Few studies have examined how or when - let alone why - this change came about. This is the first study ever to address the place of women in Cambodian history. A narrative and visual tour de force, it revises accepted perspectives in the history and geopolitical organization of Cambodia since c. 230 C.E. In so doing, the book examines the relationship between women and power and analyses the extent of female political and economic participation as revealed in historical sources, including the ways in which women were represented in art and literature. By taking an analytical approach through the sequence of chronological periods, it is possible to determine when and why the status of women changed and what factors contributed to these changes. Significantly, although Cambodian women have been represented at different times as ‘powerless’ in western analyses, they have continued to exercise authority outside those areas of concern to western constructs of power. This study will be of interest to scholars working in history, anthropology, gender studies, politics, religion, Cambodian/Khmer studies, and Southeast Asian studies, as well as members of the general public.

(Source: worthdreamingof)

lostsplendor:

Hazel Lee [1912-1944] 
Experienced women pilots, like Lee, were eager to join the WASP, and responded to interview requests by Cochran. Members of the WASP reported to Avenger Field, in wind swept Sweetwater, Texas for an arduous 6-month training program. Lee was accepted into the 4th class, 43 W 4.[2] Hazel Ying Lee was the first Chinese American woman to fly for the United States military.
Although flying under military command, the women pilots of the WASP were classified as civilians. They were paid through the civil service. No military benefits were offered. Even if killed in the line of duty, no military funerals were allowed. The WASPs were often assigned the least desirable missions, such as winter trips in open cockpit airplanes. Commanding officers were reluctant to give women any flying deliveries. It took an order from the head of the Air Transport Command to improve the situation.
Upon graduation, Lee was assigned to the third Ferrying Group at Romulus, Michigan. Their assignment was critical to the war effort; Deliver aircraft, pouring out of converted automobile factories, to points of embarkation, where they would then be shipped to the European and Pacific War fronts. In a letter to her sister, Lee described Romulus as “a 7-day workweek, with little time off.” When asked to describe Lee’s attitude, a fellow member of the WASP summed it up in Lee’s own words, “I’ll take and deliver anything.”
Described by her fellow pilots as “calm and fearless,” Lee had two forced landings. One landing took place in a Kansas wheat field. A farmer, pitchfork in hand, chased her around the plane while shouting to his neighbors that the Japanese had invaded Kansas. Alternately running and ducking under her wing, Lee finally stood her ground. She told the farmer who she was and demanded that he put the pitchfork down. He complied.
Lee was a favorite with just about all of her fellow pilots. She had a great sense of humor and a marvelous sense of mischief. Lee used her lipstick to inscribe Chinese characters on the tail of her plane and the planes of her fellow pilots. One lucky fellow who happened to be a bit on the chubby side, had his plane dubbed (unknown to him) “Fat Ass.”
Lee was in demand when a mission was RON (Remaining Overnight) In a big city or in a small country town, she could always find a Chinese restaurant, supervise the menu, and often cook the food herself. She was a great cook. Fellow WASP pilot Sylvia Dahmes Clayton observed that “Hazel provided me with an opportunity to learn about a different culture at a time when I did not know anything else. She expanded my world and my outlook on life.”
Lee and the others were the first women to pilot fighter aircraft for the United States military.
Image (via World War II Database)
Text [click for full article] (via Wikipedia)

I don’t often reblog Asian-Americans on Asianhistory, but I’m more than willing to make fantastic exceptions.

lostsplendor:

Hazel Lee [1912-1944] 

Experienced women pilots, like Lee, were eager to join the WASP, and responded to interview requests by Cochran. Members of the WASP reported to Avenger Field, in wind swept Sweetwater, Texas for an arduous 6-month training program. Lee was accepted into the 4th class, 43 W 4.[2] Hazel Ying Lee was the first Chinese American woman to fly for the United States military.

Although flying under military command, the women pilots of the WASP were classified as civilians. They were paid through the civil service. No military benefits were offered. Even if killed in the line of duty, no military funerals were allowed. The WASPs were often assigned the least desirable missions, such as winter trips in open cockpit airplanes. Commanding officers were reluctant to give women any flying deliveries. It took an order from the head of the Air Transport Command to improve the situation.

Upon graduation, Lee was assigned to the third Ferrying Group at Romulus, Michigan. Their assignment was critical to the war effort; Deliver aircraft, pouring out of converted automobile factories, to points of embarkation, where they would then be shipped to the European and Pacific War fronts. In a letter to her sister, Lee described Romulus as “a 7-day workweek, with little time off.” When asked to describe Lee’s attitude, a fellow member of the WASP summed it up in Lee’s own words, “I’ll take and deliver anything.”

Described by her fellow pilots as “calm and fearless,” Lee had two forced landings. One landing took place in a Kansas wheat field. A farmer, pitchfork in hand, chased her around the plane while shouting to his neighbors that the Japanese had invaded Kansas. Alternately running and ducking under her wing, Lee finally stood her ground. She told the farmer who she was and demanded that he put the pitchfork down. He complied.

Lee was a favorite with just about all of her fellow pilots. She had a great sense of humor and a marvelous sense of mischief. Lee used her lipstick to inscribe Chinese characters on the tail of her plane and the planes of her fellow pilots. One lucky fellow who happened to be a bit on the chubby side, had his plane dubbed (unknown to him) “Fat Ass.”

Lee was in demand when a mission was RON (Remaining Overnight) In a big city or in a small country town, she could always find a Chinese restaurant, supervise the menu, and often cook the food herself. She was a great cook. Fellow WASP pilot Sylvia Dahmes Clayton observed that “Hazel provided me with an opportunity to learn about a different culture at a time when I did not know anything else. She expanded my world and my outlook on life.”

Lee and the others were the first women to pilot fighter aircraft for the United States military.

Image (via World War II Database)

Text [click for full article] (via Wikipedia)

I don’t often reblog Asian-Americans on Asianhistory, but I’m more than willing to make fantastic exceptions.

(via like--saltedearth)

HomeWreckers: HomeWrecker: Tomoe Gozen

biahomewrecker:

Tomoe Gozen is a legendary fighter during the Genpei  war. Some call her the only true female samurai, though the term “onna musha” or “onna bugeisha” is a more accurate description. Her skill with the sword, naginata, bow and arrow, and intense loyalty have made her the most famous female fighter in Japan. She was said to have been “well respected by men.” So much so that she led soldiers for her daimyo as one of his senior captains. (Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi)

Second to her ability in combat was her beauty. In the Heike Monogatari (The Tale of the Heike, translation by Helen Craig McCullough), Tomoe Gozen is described to be “especially beautiful, with white skin, long hair, and charming features.” Some legends tell that she was the vicious reincarnation of a river goddess.

In any case, her military exploits are recorded in the Heike Monogatari. During the Genpei War, the powerful Minamoto no Yoshinaka conquered Kyoto, sparking a civil war within his clan. He had many retainers and loyal samurai that distinguished themselves earlier in the war, when he conquered the Heike, one of which was our skilled Onna Bugeisha. He called them to fight for him once again, this time, however, they were outnumbered. During this battle, the Battle of Awazu, Tomoe took heads to present to her master, and fought valiantly. However, the events concluded in a famous scene: Daimyo Minamoto is cornered on the riverbank with only a fear men left. Before a final, desperate confrontation, Tomoe’s master tells her to flee, because dying next to a woman would shame him. She does as told.

The end of her tale is shrouded in some mystery, and this is where the romance abounds: a popular ending says that she gives up the sword and becomes a nun in Echizen. A more Arthurian ending explains that she was defeated by military commander Wada Yoshimori, after which she was inclined to marry him. My favorite ending, the one most befitting of a Japanese warrior denied death in combat, is that she gathered the heads she had collected and drowned herself in the ocean.

Tomoe Gozen shows up in anime, movies, and video games today. For a list of some of her appearances, reference Wikipedia.

Yoshu Chickanobu Tomoe Gozen

On that note, a Professor said that Kabuki was solely a Man’s Artform..

This is not totally true. Onna Kabuki/Okuni Kabuki (Women’s Kabuki) was the original form of Kabuki theater, and was banned in 1629 for being too erotic. Izumo no Okuni was the originator of the Kabuki style.

Izumo no Okuni was born about 1571. This time period in Japanese history was fraught with struggle. It was known as the Period of Warring States, that is, the land barrons (daimyo) fought against one another for power. Her father was a blacksmith for the Izumo Grand Shrine and, consequently, the family served as well.

It was a custom to send priests and young women, such as Buddhist nuns, among others to solicit contributions. Izumo was sent to Kyoto to perform sacred dances and songs. She was beautiful and talented. She was innovative as well. Soon her performances received a lot of attention and drew large crowds. Ignoring the summons to return to the Shrine, she set up her own theatre on the banks of the Shijo River in Kyoto. This was a long-known gathering place for the kabukimono, young people and those not so young, who felt alienated and displaced, the homeless, and those who might qualify as the “hippies” of the day. The word Kabuki is the nominal form of the verb kabuku, “to incline in a certain direction” and mono is a certain slang term for people, usually young, who dared to defy the mores of the day.

She called her dance performances Kabuki. The performances were gaudy, musical, noisy and colorful. Izumo played parts both male and female. Initially, Kabuki, was a sort of a line dance and song with no significant plot. It evolved into drama with the aid of Sanzaburo Ujisato. He wrote scripts and supported her both financially and emotionally. They were lovers. With his untimely death she continued without him, hiring writers but integrating the drama with music and dance.

Her revue met with great success, and her Okuni Kabuki was known and applauded throughout the land. After 25 years she retired. By that time there were many imitations of her form of theatre entertainment. Even brothels offered such shows to amuse wealthy clients. Because of this, the Shogun at that time, Tokugawa Ieyasu, forbade women to perform and thus men were cast into the roles of women in the Kabuki dramas.

Via.