Archive for May, 2013

#FoodieFriday: Bizzare Historical Fad Diets

May 31st, 2013

By: Sydnee C. Winston

This week’s #FoodieFriday takes us down a historical memory lane of five of the most bizarre and questionable diets during the 19th and 20th centuries. Many women, in an effort to meet harsh societal standards of beauty for women, adopted these diets.

The Tapeworm Diet

One extremely disgusting beauty regimen that gained some popularity during the 1800s was the “tapeworm diet.”  It involved ingesting pills that contained sanitized tapeworm larvae, which would live in their stomachs. The worms would then consume the excess calories into their own bodies and grow larger, until they had to be removed in what was usually a very unpleasant process. Read the rest of this entry »

#ThrowbackThursday: The First Ladies of Game Shows

May 30th, 2013

By Elissa Blattman, Project Assistant

Female television game show hosts have been few and far between.  Though some women have been able to step into hosting roles, the world of game shows is still largely dominated by men.  This week’s Throwback Thursday post is all about three of the women who have made their marks on one of the most popular genres of television since the medium’s inception.

Arlene Francis is perhaps best known as a panelist on the enduring classic television game show, What’s My Line?, on which she appeared regularly for 25 years.  While she is well remembered for her appearances on What’s My Line?, she is much less remembered for the work she did on her very own long-running game show, Blind Date.  Francis got her first radio role, on the show The March of Time, in 1931.  She worked on radio throughout the 1930s and 1940s, and landed the opportunity to host the new radio matchmaking show, Blind Date, in 1943.  Upon the decline of radio and the rise of television throughout the 1940s, Francis began to worry that her career as a radio personality would end.  However, when Blind Date moved from radio to television on May 5, 1949, Francis was given the opportunity to host that version of the show as well.  She continued as host until 1952, when a new male host stepped in.  In taking her hosting gig from radio to television, Francis became the first ever female television game show host.  Her success on Blind Date led to her appearances on What’s My Line?, as well as to her being casted as the first female emcee, or “femcee,” of the popular television variety show, Your Show of Shows.  On top of her ongoing work on television, Francis went back to her radio career in 1961 with The Arlene Francis Show, which ran for nearly three decades until 1990.

Read the rest of this entry »

Women make up 40 percent of breadwinners

May 29th, 2013

Photo credit: Washington Post

According to a report released today by the Pew Research Center, women are the sole or primary breadwinners for about 40 percent of all households with children.  Female headed households are becoming more and more of a reality and traditional gender roles seem to be changing.

The report cites the recession as one possible cause for this shift.  Men, who have been hit harder with job losses during the recession, have been either forced into unemployment or taking lower paying jobs.  In 2011, 15 percent of married women earned more than their husbands.  Women also are becoming better educated and are earning more advanced degrees than men, meaning mothers are starting to have more education than fathers.

Another possible cause is the increasing number of single mothers, who account for 40 percent of new births.  The bread-winning role often is a burden for those women, though.  Single mothers tend to earn less, be younger, and have less education than married mothers.

Source: Washington Post

Historical Women Who Rocked: Sojourner Truth

May 28th, 2013

Today marks the 162nd anniversary of abolitionist, suffragist, and former slave, Sojourner Truth’s impassioned speech at the Women’s Rights Convention, known today as the “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech. The convention was held in Akron, Ohio on May 28-29, 1851. Truth’s words portrayed women as strong, resilient and intelligent, and called into question the institution of slavery.

Read her speech below: Read the rest of this entry »

#FoodieFriday: The White House Edition

May 24th, 2013

By: Sydnee C. Winston, Project Coordinator

Have you ever wondered what the inside of the White House kitchen looked like at the turn of the 20th century, or what Martha Washington’s favorite dessert was? Well you don’t have to wonder anymore, because this week’s #Foodie Friday takes a look at 7 interesting facts about the First Ladies and the White House kitchen and gardens that you may not know. Read the rest of this entry »

#ThrowbackThursday: Disney Princess Edition

May 23rd, 2013

By Elissa Blattman, Project Assistant

Merida before (left) and Merida after (right)

Merida of the Disney-Pixar film, Brave, is the one Disney princess who many girls and their parents feel actually represents real girls.  She looks like a “real girl,” is strong, independent, athletic, able to save herself from situations, and sees no need for a Prince Charming to take her away.  When Merida was announced as the 11th and newest inductee into the Disney Princess Collection, many people were happy.  However, before her coronation ceremony at Disney World on May 11, Disney gave her a makeover, making many people upset.  Disney made her figure slimmer, her hair less frizzy, and her dress tighter and sparkly.  They also took away her signature bow and arrows.  After considerable outrage, though, Disney removed the new Merida from the princess section of their website in the United States and replaced her with the original.  However, the new image still appears on other countries’ Disney sites and on her official Princess Collection merchandise.  To many, Merida’s makeover is yet another example of Disney’s long history of upholding and promoting certain beauty standards and their problematic portrayals of gender roles.  Some of the characters we remember watching and liking when we were younger perhaps do not always provide the best role models for children to emulate.  Check out the examples below and see if you watch them differently now as adults. Read the rest of this entry »

Historical Women Who Rocked: Amelia Earhart

May 20th, 2013

Did you know that today marks the 81st anniversary that Amelia Earhart became the first woman to complete a solo transatlantic flight in less than 15 hours? Now there’s an historical woman who rocked!

Amelia was born in Kansas in 1897, and lived in Iowa and Minnesota before graduating from high school in Illinois.  She did a semester of work at a small college in Pennsylvania then went to Canada to work in a military hospital during World War I.  It was there that she met aviators and developed her lifelong love of flying. Read the rest of this entry »

#Foodie Friday: Peaches Restaurant- A Restaurant with Real Soul

May 17th, 2013

By: Sydnee C. Winston, Project Coordinator

Today’s #FoodieFriday post explores how food can be used as an act of civil protest. The Civil Rights Movement is full of well-known women leaders who used the power of their voices to fight for justice and freedom for all people. We all recognize Rosa Parks, Dr. Dorothy Height, Dr. Maya Angelou, Fannie Lou Hamer and countless other courageous, trailblazing African American women who dedicated their lives to transforming society into a place that acknowledges the inherent dignity and worth of all people.

While these women worked in more visible areas of the movement, many women worked behind the scenes—shaping and influencing the cause in more subtle but nonetheless, powerful ways.  Wilora “Peaches” Ephram was one of those women. Read the rest of this entry »

#ThrowbackThursday: Women of Motown

May 16th, 2013

by Elissa Blattman, Project Assistant

If you like Motown music, you may be familiar with Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records and genius behind the “Motown Sound” that swept the nation and world in the 1960s.  But have you heard of Esther Gordy Edwards, Berry Gordy’s sister?  Edwards started a co-op to provide money to family members in times of need and, in 1959, Gordy approached his family needing an $800 loan to start a record label.  Gordy’s family members all agreed, except Edwards who questioned whether her brother could successfully run a business after a series of taking and leaving numerous jobs.  She eventually decided to loan Gordy the money, which he put toward what would become Motown Records.  Gordy later stated that his sister’s reluctance to lend him the money made him decide that he wanted her, out of their seven other siblings, to run the business side of the company. Read the rest of this entry »

NWHM Does its Turn on the Catwalk at Tory Burch Fashion Presentation

May 13th, 2013

By: Sydnee C. Winston, Project Coordinator

NWHM was looking fierce on Thursday night as it and Bloomingdale’s held an exclusive fashion presentation of the Tory Burch Spring Collection at the store’s Friendship Heights location.  Tory Burch and Bloomingdale’s will donate 10% of proceeds from the sales of the evening to the National Women’s History Museum. Check out these photos from the event: