but all too often they have simply slipped from the public consciousness, relegated to footnotes in obscure theses or so-called feminist book shelves in libraries and bookstores that doubtless marginalise them further. nothing the matter with feminism you understand - i rather regard myself as one - but i do wonder how many people wander into such sections unless they are already converts to the cause.
instead, i'd quite like their heroic, literary or scientific adventures to be the stuff of genderless interest, alongside the well known and well loved figures that school children read about and hold in high esteem and which invariably tend to be male.
so forgive meif today i rather shamelessly promote the daring deeds, exploits and inventions of the female of the species - take it good naturedly in the spirit of modernity, equality and egalitarianism with which it is intended.
vive la femme....!!
isabella eberhardt, writer, traveller, orientalist, she lived much of her short life posing as a man in the Algerian desert as a nomad and disciple of Sufism.
gertrude bell, archaeologist, linguist, cartographer, arabist and the greatest mountaineer of her age. the only female political officer in the british forces during ww1, her work in the middle east alongside laurence of arabia led to the formation of present day iran and iraq from the borders of ancient mesopotamia. no stranger to controversy or contradiction, she was also a member of the anti-suffrage league!
katherine stinson, dubbed the flying schoolgirl by the press, was the 4th female in the usa to receive a pilots licence in 1912 and the first woman to perform a loop. she flew a Curtiss JN-4D "Jenny" for fundraising tours for the Red Cross during World War I & was an ambulance driver at the front!
olympic fencer and pilot, joanna de tuscan was the first woman to fence sabre, the first female fencer to compete in pants, was captain of the 1936 US olympic team, AND fought as a WW2 pilot!
katherine hepburn, elegant, androgynous, effortlessly portraying the modern woman, she is most definitely a classic bluestockings style icon...
...alongside that other glorious example of non-conformist female of the silver screen, less graceful perhaps but every bit as beautiful to me at any rate.
margaret rutherford, comic actress and national treasure, her joi de vivre and exhuberant performances in blithe spirit, the importance of being earnest, passport to pimlico & her classic miss marple, belie much sadness in her personal life.
lets end this little homage with forgotten surrealist painter and novelist leonora carrington, rebel, maverick, author of the fabulous 'the hearing trumpet', and last i heard, still alive well into her 90's!!
leonora was a british debutante who ran off with max ernst, hung out with picasso, fled the nazis and escaped from a psychiatric hospital via a submarine rescue by her nanny.
an inspiration to us all....