A new way to think about Special Forces

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Norwegian hunters marching out on an exercise

Since it can’t be decided in the United States whether women can be integrated into US Special Forces, I offer we copy an alternate solution being designed in Norway- all female SF units.  This can be a way to tap into a whole talent pool not being utilized without the argument that women can’t hack it with the men.

We can watch women fail in twos or threes out of courses that they haven’t been groomed for or allowed to compete in before, or we could give these women an entire community of their own and group to work with without the pressure of proving that an entire gender can actually do what only 1% of the other gender is capable of.

And the best part is they could be used for missions men would not be able to do.  Think about it. The possibilities are endless- we are only on the cusp of giant change.  Great idea, Norway.

#bigideas2018

Ms. Georgia Gilmore, Cook of the Civil Rights movement

African Americans boarding an integrated

The 1950s were a high risk time for all black men and women who contributed to fighting for their equal rights in a divided America.  Anyone suspected of being involved in the Civil Rights movement was vulnerable to violence and persecution in their homes, neighborhoods, and towns.

Ms. Georgia Gilmore found a way in which she, and other women, could support a cause she believed strongly about without bringing attention to themselves and others- by cooking.

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“When King and others held meetings of the Montgomery Improvement Association at the Holt Street Baptist Church, Gilmore was there, selling tied chicken sandwiches and other foods to the men and women…who pledged not to use the city busses.”  Her home became a central meeting place for top leaders in the civil rights movement, as well as others who were inspired and desired change.

Gilmore’s ingenuity can be found in John Edge’s The Potlikker Papers: A Food History in the Modern South– a unique look at how food played a role in some of our history’s most contentious times.

Everyone plays a role in making our lives better for everyone.  What is you role?  #Bethechange.

Georgia Gilmore

The Case Against Feminism

Have you seen “The Red Pill”?  It’s a movie by a self-proclaimed feminist, Cassie Jaye, who explores men’s rights advocacy groups.  She does a great job of capturing the raw emotions and feelings of men who are exhausted with being treated as aggressors and vilified.  A friend was worried about watching it with me. Like I would have a “How dare men say they have rights, too” reaction.  But I knew that it was in line with my narrative and I wish, again, that I could be better about explaining it so that even those closest to me could understand.

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You see, I had the idea to start Milieux Project somewhat in reaction to this movie and men’s rights movement and some other cultural trends that were developing.  Men are hurt and angry because they are being asked to take on an identity that is not true and not fair.  They are tired of the court systems taking their children away from them and forcing them to pay child support.  They are exhausted of being immediately considered guilty in domestic violence situations.  And some are exhausted by the expectation that they are to support women while remaining silent about their value as compared to women.

And I know it sucks.

Our society is not ready to hear men’s side of the story and so some are resorting to violence and brute force to make their narrative known, through such groups as MGTOW (pronounced “MiGTOW”, and stands for ‘Men Going Their Own Way’).  Please take a look at their website and read through some of their scripts.  It is violent and mean and disturbing.  But I can’t blame these men.  What did feminists expect from the male gender?  Did we expect them to placidly accept that they are monsters?  Did we expect men to allow women to walk over them in this march to “women’s liberty”?  Did we think men would just stand by as woman after woman told them they are not allowed into our homes or to see their children or to participate in their family’s life because “men are obvious abusers”?  It is so difficult to address this problem because mgtoweveryone in society is almost wired to think women are victims.  But its these “sacred cows”, these gender biases that are pulling us apart as a society, when we really need to pull together.

The effects of feminism 1.0 and 2.0 and whatever-we-are-going-to-call-it are complex.  Women want to be recognized as being equal and participating in society, that we are “as capable as men” (wow even writing that disturbs me- women are capable in comparison to no one, we just “are” capable) but society still expects men to be the main provider for women and their families, and never the other way around.  The pay gap is decreasing, the access to executive jobs is increasing, the value of diversity is pervasive.  But we (and I mean this as the “societal we”) still expect men to be the breadwinners and women to be the supported in relationships.  You can’t reach parity this way.

This is a big contradiction in feminist ideology that disturbs me deeply.  On the other side, many men wrap their identity around their ability to provide, many women do too.  And how much is feminism going to push into our personal lives? Courting and dating and marriages are so complex as it is.  Why are men not “whole” if they arn’t the providers?  How can women expect to be treated the same if we help perpetuate some kind of  “project men” narrative.

no thanksThis is difficult for me the most, personally.  I want to be equal in all ways, and that means being able to support someone financially- if that is the situation my partner and I find ourselves in.  But I can’t do it if my partner is not interested in discussing being supported.  Or, if and when I do become the supporter, I find myself fighting feelings of being taken for granted or even taken advantage of, reinforced by opinions of my friends, and I look hard for equitable distribution of household chores to placate these feelings… It was a daily struggle that I went through with my ex-husband when he volunteered to be the one to stay home with our newborn son.  He ended up going back to work and hiring a nanny, because his identity (and mine, honestly) was wrapped up in his ability to produce for our family.  It was a big sigh of relief in our home when he felt like he was being productive again in a job- staying home to raise a child was not fulfilling for him.  Staying home to raise a baby is not fulfilling for me either, or many other women, but it is what we are raised to believe we should be doing.  The struggle is real.

180111-F-EP384-1003I recently read an article about a young airman in Wyoming who had asked her family to take care of her son so that she could work.  The father of her son was not involved in the child’s life, and she was doing what she could to ensure her child had the best living situation she could provide for him.  The article, you can read it here, highlights that she is focusing on her fitness goals and work goals while her son is away with extended family.  I was very proud of her.  But many on the discussion thread were upset at her for not doing what society expected- which was that she should “be a single mom” and put her family first.  To me, I thought she was being the best single mom she could be, providing a stable home and schedule for her son, while also giving him an example of a hard-working woman with goals. To many others, she was seen as selfish and a bad mother.  The feminist script is incomplete- how do we approach these things without causing guilt or blame? Should women expect themselves to do everything?

The Milieux Project is our way of trying to point out these disparities in our society.  Right now, we all need to take an approach of more kindness for ourselves and for others.   Feminists cannot continue a narrative that “all men are monsters” and expect men to lay down and take the accusations, and then continue to support us(!) without fighting back or worse, leaving us to do it all ourselves.  It’s very unfair and disrespectful.  On the other side, men cannot continue to tell women that we are equal without evaluating some of the things they expect from women in relationships, such as breadwinning versus homemaking.  Whoever makes the cash flow should not be vilified (or victimized) for being the supporter, especially if that person is a “she”.  Whoever decides to be the homemaker isn’t fulfilling,  should not be judged inadequate either, no matter if it is a he or she.  Neither men or women should allow themselves to be labeled, but to determine for themselves who they really are.

Gandhi said once “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”.  This is a great reminder for us all, especially those that are reacting currently to the #metoo narrative [watch here a video of a man slapping Harvey Weinstein].  Yes, there is a lot of inequality and mistreatment that happens to women, and women have a voice and they deserve recognition for the things they do and the harassment they have endured.  But feminists should not push this narrative at the expense of the dignity and respect of men.  We not only need each other, but we need each other to be at our best.

I am not a feminist, I am a milieuist- someone who believes in a better social context for each individual.  I believe we all deserve the opportunity to perform our talents and gifts as they are given to us, without restraint and boundaries or EXPECTATIONS.  That we should not be judged by our outward appearance but by our character and pursuits.  Honestly, we should all be milieuists.

To progress in society, we must believe we are all valuable and equal. Please have courage and faith that what you are doing is amazing, even if no one is there to recognize it.  We ask you to not compare men to women or women to men, to remember we are all beautiful creations, and each of us has the freedom to define ourselves and our purpose however we want.  This is the purpose of The Milieux Project.   Thank you to those, Like Cassie Jaye, for being brave enough to explore these issues.

#bethechange #feminism #changethemilieux

Robert Kennedy announces the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr

On this week dedicated to the memory of one of the greatest men in history, Martin Luther King, Jr., this video of Robert Kennedy announcing his assassination reminds us of the importance of humanity and grace in the face of great tragedy. His tremendous courage and compassion are moving. Try not to cry around minute 3.

His message holds true today. When the noise around us tries to elicit a feeling of injustice and revenge, it is important to remember that we are all part of this world together, that violence and vengefulness will not create justice. We are reminded that all of us in this nation ultimately want peace and equality for all human beings.

“Let us tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life in this world” Bobby Kennedy, 1968

Thought for 2018-✨Reach for the Stars✨

Harriet Tubman once said “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world”

As we reflect on an amazing beginning in 2017 and look forward to bigger projects and initiatives in 2018, The Milieux Project is grateful to you and your families for the start of a great change and the chance to be part of even greater change next year.  We are truly inspired to reach to the stars in our own effort to change the world.  Amidst all the chaos, it only takes a few to make a difference.🌟

 

#bigideas2018 #bethechange #themilieux #courage #dreambig

The Shooting Granny of India

chandro tomarAt 84 years old, Chandro Tomar is the oldest national sharp shooter in India.  Reverently called “Revolver Dadi (Grandma)”, in her small village in the Uttar Pradesh state of northern India, Chandro has over 25 National Championship sharp shooting titles and her own shooting range.  She can be seen teaching young girls how to shoot and protect themselves in her village and hopes to bring an international shooting competition to her village one day.

So how did she come upon shooting?   It wasn’t until she was in her 60s, at a shooting range, that Chandro began her new “hobby”.  She was watching some of the shooters for a while and was inspired to try for herself.  She picked up a pistol and hit the bullseye on her first shot.  She has been shooting ever since.

Chandro Tomar is an example to us all that we should never define ourselves or our ability by what others think of us.  You never know what you are capable of until you try!   Be courageous, be a leader, be resilient, enjoy all that life has to offer, and most of all, don’t give up!

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Yes, I am Powerful!  Learn more about Ms. Tomar, the Shooting Granny here and here

Thank you for being an inspiration, I hope one day to learn your techniques! #bethechange #girlpower #drive #forher #forusall

An Original “Rosie the Riveter” Takes to the Sky

After 68 yrs of “riveting” and receiving the 2017 Air Force Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award,  Elinor Otto flew in a C-17 she helped build on Monday, 18 Dec 2017. 

Ms. Otto joined the aerospace industry in 1942 as a single mother, when Rosie the Riveter signs inspired her and she worked until 2014, at the age of 94.

A true inspiration for us all.  #bethechange #forher #forall

Another Nature vs Nurture Discussion

 

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It has been my contention that women are capable of similar strengths as men with training, repetition and need.  Recent discoveries in archeology, like this one, are proving that modern skeletons for both men and women are skinnier than they have been in some prehistoric societies.  As science draws focus on ancient women apart from men, I believe more discoveries like this will be made- ironically to show we are not so different after all.

 

 

Why the Milieux Project?

WASPsIt might not be transparent, so I’d like to write a little on the Milieux Project and our “why”.  To be sure, we are still defining it, but we definitely started with a desire to change how our culture thinks about flying and who can do it.  But it has become more than this.  I catch myself sometimes in the details trying to explain it, because that’s the easy part, the details.  But the Project is broad and ubiquitous- kind of like the word “milieux”.  And that’s exactly why we decided to use Milieux in our name.

milˈyo͞o,milˈyə(r)/
noun
plural noun: milieux
  1. a person’s social environment.
    “he grew up in a military milieu”
    synonyms: environment, sphere, background, backdrop, setting, context, atmosphere; More

That’s right, in Webster’s dictionary they use a reference to “he” and “military” to define it.  Its funny because we are women in the military.  Just another reason we exist. But back to the word.
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Artistic Rendition of Mary Magdalene Landing in Provence, France
The first thing that was appealing to us about using the word Milieux was the beauty of the word itself.  I kind of take pleasure in judging a word by its cover because it is so not “feminist”.  If you look at the word “Milieux” as if its a person and value it based on its beauty instead of its meaning, I think you will agree it is quite a sexy word.  First of all, it is French.  French is sexy and feminine.  The sounds roll off the tongue; “Meeluzze”, like eating chocolate or singing a song, enticing and melodic.  The word starts with an “M” , a reminder of the ultimate feminine- the mother and the biblical Marys- Mary the Virgin, Mary the sister and Mary Magdalene.  The “x” at the end makes the word plural, which is slightly inconvenient, but the “x” rounds it out, makes it feel complete and whole and interesting and finally, adds an “X” factor.  We liked it, its a beautiful word that means something bigger than us.
Okay, so that is just the surface of the word- what again is the “why” for Milieux?   It goes back to the word.  In modern history, several psychologists, like Alfred Adler and Carl Jung, have referred to society and the value of it when identifying psychological phenomenons, problems and therapies.  They believed a person’s social environment has enormous effect on how we define/understand them.  Alfred Adler believed social interest was the most important aspect of determining value or understanding, he called it gemeinschaftsgefühl.  This was anti-Freudian at the time (and anti sexualized), early psychologists rejected it.team
“Adler’s focus on this principle as the basis of all “true” meanings of life made it impossible for him to share Freud’s view of humankind as a collection of individual drives, with the libido—the sexual drive—forming the basis of all neuroses. Rather, to Adler, neuroses resulted from an unhealthy focus on perceived inferiorities and mistaken ideas of superiority. These mistaken meanings arise from a person’s interpretation of their biological and social limitations. People could free themselves from their self-imposed prisons only through well-practiced interest in the welfare of others. Love of neighbor was not simply a part of Adler’s psychology; Adler himself described it as the ultimate goal.  Adler was all for allowing people to fully express their personalities as long as their drives were focused in the direction of what he called Gemeinschaftsgefühl.”
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Its about loving our neighbor and ourselves.  But Gemeinschaftsgefuhl is not only hard to say, it’s not easy to remember or, let’s be honest, its not beautiful either.  Hence why we chose Milieux instead.  Milieux relates to connectedness, everyday life, context, environment.  Milieux surrounds us everyday, helps shape and contextualize our experiences, and the MP wants to show how we are affected by it. Our milieux shape and influence us, define us and either limit or challenge us.  And the Milieux is artistic-like us.  Artists using sculptures, paint, and text have captured our milieux throughout history, and we are thrilled to explore it in our own unique way.

We understand that the MP can be mistaken as “just another feminist blog”, and that’s an easy assumption to make.   Creating courage and faith in our young girls is honestly our immediate imperative, however, it is not the definition of or the the entirety of our purpose.  As we have learned in our military studies, a military objective is achieved through multiple lines of effort.  Those lines of efforts are sometimes iterative and not always transparently linked, but a common purpose remains.  Encouraging our girls to dream bigger is one of those lines of efforts, because it is an effort we think we can invest in immediately with tremendous effect, but there is so much more work we can do.

img_2003-2The Milieux Project is about changing perceptions, perspectives, finding new ways to think about and understand our world and ourselves while motivating others to follow us.  The MP is seeking something greater than instigating comparisons (though we will), greater than achieving statistics (there are a few we would like to change), greater than trying to prove something (we still like to prove things though), the Milieux Project seeks to redefine how we see ourselves and each other, how we understand our Milieux – our world.  And we are doing this by asking our readers to think more creatively about themselves and their own purpose.

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Seascape, Vincent Van Gogh painting from Provence, France

There are so many things that have influenced how we consider our world, its time to challenge some of those “sacred cows”.  In the swirl of #metoo, masculine aggression and female victimization, gender biases, patriarchy, racism, politics, and the sensationalism of all of it, we really think its possible to make a difference.  This is a vehicle for showing our readers something different- something unique, hopefully healing, maybe powerful but not subsuming, interesting and at least thought-provoking (like Wonder Woman history or Thoughts on being a leader).  In the Milieux Project – we aim to encourage creativity and individualism, and create a culture that embraces those qualities from every individual regardless of their race, gender or nationality.

We want to #bethechange

 

Women Pirates – Choosing a Life of Crime

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Kiera Knightley and her not-so-unrealistic role as a Pirate in Pirates of the Caribbean

Did you know that there women pirates have existed throughout history?  In the 1700 and 1800s, quite a few women were in the criminal seafaring business, including the infamous Anne Bonney and Mary Read.  Even though many of them had to dress as men to slip on to the ships, those that were acknowledged as women showed courage and leadership.  “Captain Johnson reports the testimony of their shipmates, who stated that in ‘times of Action, no Person amongst [the pirates] was more resolute, or ready to board or undertake any Thing that was hazardous’ than Bonny and Read, not least because they had, by the time they sailed beneath the Jolly Roger, already endured all manner of hazards” (Rediker, When Women Pirates Sailed the Seas, 1993).

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Mary Read

In fact, the truth is there were many women from many countries and cultures that fiercely pillaged and stole from others in a lifestyle of piracy.  Some were known for murder, decapitating their assailants and keeping the heads for trophies, some used unique techniques for stealing (like headbutting their victims) and others were pirates out of shear circumstance.

Regardless, their participation was real and chronicled.  This is an interesting piece of history not often covered in modern history classes. “In a way,  [women pirates] were performing the ultimate act of piracy by simply going out and taking what they considered to be rightfully theirs.”  Thank you lady pirates, for being an inspiration in the 1700s and inspiring us today.

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Anne Dieu-Le-Veut
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Ching Shih- one of history’s most feared pirates

 

 

 

Happy Birthday to Ms. Jerrie Mock- First Woman to fly solo around the world


Have you ever dreamt of doing something radical- like fly around the world alone?  Well that’s exactly what Ms. Jeraldine “Jerrie” Mock did in 1964 in her Cessna 180. Read her story here

Thank you for inspiring us back then Jerrie and continuing to inspire us today. And even though you are passed and your story is hidden in history, we remember you and your courage today.  Happy Birthday! 
#bethechange #aviatrix #aviation

Today in History: Rani of Jhansi, Rebel Queen

Born on 19 November, 1835 to a Brahmin Maratha family, Manikarnika lived a very unique and adventurous life.  Her father Moropant Tabme was a court advisor, and her mother, Bhagirathi, was a woman of education. Her mother passed when she was very young and her father raised her in unconventional ways by encouraging her to ride elephants and horses and teaching her weapons, war fighting, fencing and sword fighting.  Being raised later in life by two supporters of the Indian Revolution,  she learned early in life to not be a quiet or reserved girl.  As was custom for her time, Manikarnika was married to King of Jhansi at the age of 14 and had one son together who died at four months old.  In an effort to maintain their kingdom with under British Rule and to avoid the ‘Doctrine of Lapse‘ rules,  Lakshmiba adopted her husband’s cousin on the day before her husband’s death, but the Governor-General Lord Dalhousie did not accept the adoption and claimed the kingdom as his own.  Rani of Jhansi argued bitterly against the move but was eventually paid out and sent away from her throne.

Rani settled into a fort maintained by the British and attempted to ignore the injustices happening around her.  After some rumors of the British using bullets soaked in pigs blood reached her, however, Rani became incensed and capitalized on an opportunity to mutiny when an organized rebel unit attacked the British fort she was in by joining the rebel force mid attack and slaughtering the British forces.  An army doctor, Thomas Lowe, wrote after the rebellion characterising Rani as the “Jezebel of India … the young rani upon whose head rested the blood of the slain”.

This started a fierce battle between Lakshmi Bai and the British that lasted over six months.  The Queen organized and equipped a professional force that fortified and defended themselves against the well trained British military.  She and her troops were able to maintain their fortifications against the British without replacements or reinforcements until 16 June, 1858, when General Rose attacked her fort unrelentingly killing “any Indian over the age of 16”.  The Rani of Jhansi defended herself valiantly all the way until her death, so fiercely so that at one point she strapped her son to her back during a sword fight so she could fight with two swords.  She received a fatal wound, which she succumbed to in hiding after her escape.  Her son lived another 20 years

Commander of British Army, Hugh Rose, called her “the most dangerous of all Indian leaders”

Twenty years after her death Colonel Malleson wrote in the History of the Indian Mutiny; vol. 3; London, 1878 “Whatever her faults in British eyes may have been, her countrymen will ever remember that she was driven by ill-treatment into rebellion, and that she lived and died for her country, We cannot forget her contribution for India.”

 

Today in History – Nellie Bly and her trip around the world in less than 80 days

nellie-bly-2.jpgA great piece published in 2014 about a forward thinking journalist in 1888 named Nellie Bly- the first woman to complete a trip around the world in just over 72 days.  I love her spirit when faced with adversity:

“It is impossible for you to do it,” [her editor] told her. “You are a woman and would need a protector.” Even if she could travel alone, he said, she’d want to take too much baggage. “There is no use talking about it,” he insisted. “No one but a man could do this.”
“Very well,” [Nellie] said. “Start the man, and I’ll start the same day for some other newspaper and beat him.”

Read about her here at Grantland.com

#adventure #pioneer #womenareleaders #bethechange

Thank you, Veterans.

 

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W.A.S.P. – B-17 Pilots (the waterlandblog.com)

Thank you.  All of you.  Women have been serving in support of our nation since before we were even a nation.  Our service can be traced back to 1775 during the Revolutionary War and we were finally recognized as Veteran’s in the 1970s.  In 1976, women were finally admitted into the U.S. Service Academies and in 2016 our service was officially expanded to include all combat roles (although many were already serving in combat long before it became officially recognized).

Women have been fighting in our nation’s wars before we even became known as the United States of America.    Women like Deborah Sampson, who served for over a year in General George Washington’s Army during the Revolutionary War, disguised herself as a man to serve her country.  While some served in combat units disguised as men, most served as cooks and nurses.

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Dr. Mary Walker (www.army.mil) Medal of Honor Recipient and Women’s Rights Activist

Still others, like Dr. Mary Walker, not only served our nation, but continued to advocate for women’s rights.   She wanted to join the Army during the Civil War as a surgeon but was not allowed because she was a woman.   While she would have been allowed to serve as a nurse,  she instead chose to volunteer for the Union Army and served in field hospitals throughout the war.  In November 1865, she was Awarded the Medal of Honor by President Andrew Jackson.  However, since she served as a civilian, the medal was rescinded in 1917 (a military board would later restore the honor in 1977).

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During World War I, 33,000 women served as nurses and support staff and more than 400 women died the line of duty.  Nearly 400,000 women served at home and abroad during World War II, with 88 captured and held as Prisoners of War (POWs).  Our service has continued through the Korean War, Vietnam War, and all conflicts that have followed to the present War on Terror. (See a more complete timeline here).

We are the fastest growing group of Veterans.  As of 2015, we made up 15.5% of the Active Duty force and 19% of the National Guard and Reserve forces and we make up 9.4% of the total Veteran population.  According to a recent VA report published in February 2017, the overall Veteran population is decreasing by ~1.5% per year while the female Veteran population is increasing by ~1% per year.  (What this could mean for our nation is a different story for a different post).

While history has not always been kind or supportive and we still have a long way to go, today is the day to recognize your military service. We have a proud heritage of military service from the Revolutionary War to the present.   Appreciate that, appreciate yourself, and inspire those around you to serve our great nation.

Most of all, Be Proud – we are proud of you.

 

Fighting Terror with Terror- The Women’s Protection Unit (YPJ)

Have you heard of the Kurdish Women’s Protection Unit?

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In Iraq and Syria – where humanity is fighting for survival – a small force of women has organized into an army.  Women who have had enough of being beaten, tortured, raped, enslaved, and victimized have organized in the Levant region against the Islamic States in Iraq and Syria (or Al-Sham, Caliphate, literally translated)- to protect themselves, their families and their survival.  Capitalizing on the greatest fears of the men of ISIS- to be killed by a woman – the YPJ is winning with force and courage.

Their story will move you – watch here – FearUsWomen.com

“Fear us women, oh enemies of humanity, for you who die by our hand will burn in hell forever…”

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The Kurdish Women’s protection Unit (YPJ) – Bringing the ultimate insult to ISIS/DAESH

#bethechange #womenarewarriors #humanrights #fightingterrorwithterror

 

The Life and Bizarre Death of “Necro-Entrepreneur” Locusta, the World’s First Known Serial Killer

Reblogged at The Milieux Project themilieux.org- Thank you for a great read- a very interesting piece of history.

Dirty, Sexy History

WDM27975 The Love Potion. Evelyn de Morgan, 1903.

Little is known about the world’s first serial killer, which is perhaps why accounts of Locusta’s death are . . . eccentric?

Here’s what we do know: Locusta hailed from Gaul, the outer province of Ancient Rome now known as France. Trained in herbs, she mastered the system of “patronage” and made a name for herself as a reliable assassin – or as Dr. Katherine Ramsland calls Locusta’s business, “necro-entrepreneur.” [1] To Locusta’s benefit, Rome brimmed with wealthy, would-be-patrons, eager to hasten the death of rich relatives. These clients also reliably bailed Locusta out of prison when events didn’t unfold per plan.

In AD 54, Empress Agrippina, the fourth wife—and niece—of Emperor Claudius, grew tired of her uncle/husband. She conspired with Locusta to murder Claudius in order to place her son from a previous marriage, Nero, on the throne. The Emperor, however, proved…

View original post 642 more words

Mary Katharine Goddard and the Declaration of Independence

Since today is election day, I thought it was only fit to reflect on our founding fathers and the incredible design they imagined for our democracy.  It all started with our Declaration of Independence from Britain in 1776, signed by 34 (of 56) delegates of these United States on parchment paper.  It was a momentous occasion fraught with many mistakes and mishaps, misunderstandings and challenges, which were finally resolved in 1777 when Congress commissioned the Baltimore Postmaster Mary Katharine Goddard,  the “35th signatory” of the Declaration of Independence, to publish an official printed document.

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If you look at the very bottom, you will see Mary Katharine Goddard’s name associated with publishing the document.  She was a visionary and original American idealist.

It was in this Harvard.edu article that I first discovered this gem of history- the courage of a young woman in a time of civil unrest.  Obviously, Mary saw the value of being connected with such historical proclamations, but she was also being very business savvy.

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You see, the Declaration of Independence had been published by two other companies before Ms. Goddard’s, completely botched and mistake ridden.  Ms. Goddard and her publishing company seized a unique opportunity to properly and professionally publish a historically significant document, and Ms. M.K. Goddard knew its value.  She risked her life and her publishing company for the faith of a free nation.  Her courage is as remarkable as the other 34 signatories on the document.  But who was Mary Katharine Goddard?

Ms. Goddard was the first postmaster of Baltimore, the first female postmaster in the colonies, and shortly thereafter the first female postmaster in the United States of America.  She wrote many articles and pieces on the importance of freedom and independence.  Her newspaper reflected early Americans’ desire for freedom. Some of her most important reports covered the momentous events in Massachusetts of April 19, 1775–the opening salvoes with the Battles of Concord and Lexington. And an editorial of June 14, 1775 proclaimed, “The ever memorable 19th of April gave a conclusive answer
to the questions of American freedom. What think ye of Congress now? That
day. . . evidenced that Americans would rather die than live slaves!”

The Declaration of Independence might have been her most historically published piece.  Despite her courage and tenacity, Ms. M.K. Goddard was eventually victim to a common misunderstanding of female resolve and she was disbarred from publishing due to the “strain of travel on a woman“.  Testament to her professionalism and reputation, over 200 businessmen petitioned to keep her on, but were unsuccessful.

She lived the rest of her life quietly out of public eye, continuing small movements to raise awareness to social injustice until her death in 1816.  She is an inspiration and reminder this election day of courage and resolve in a time of unrest and uncertainty.  thank you Mary Katharine Goddard for your vision and mark in history.

 

#bethechange #womeninhistory