Women Who Got Themselves Banned
Or, International Women's Day in a man's man's man's man's man's world.
I’ve been drawing a lot of banned women lately! They are my favorite kind of woman.
Here are two tales of banned women for your International Women’s Day:
I don’t know if you heard about how, on the first day of Black History Month, the College Board released its official AP African American Studies Curriculum. But it was not the celebratory occasion they’d intended. People were quick to point out that 28 of the writers and scholars on the original draft had been removed from the diluted final version. People were also quick to note that many of those removed happened to have been singled out by DeSantis and Florida’s Dept. of Education in their objections to the curriculum.
In February, I decided to draw (and learn more about) each of the 28 people removed from the curriculum—one for each day of Black History Month. Of the 28 “benched” (as Kimberlé Crenshaw called them) authors, 19 were women. Here are some of them:
Under political pressure, the Board cut topics like Intersectionality, Queer Theory, and Black Lives Matter from the curriculum, ideas that these women have developed, enriched, and disseminated. Hopefully people will be MORE interested in their work now.
I got a little behind, so we’re a week into March and I still have a few drawings to go, but I Will Finish! Follow me on Instagram to catch the final stretch.
Now let’s go back a hundred years. You know the general story behind A League of Their Own: The U.S., WWII, women playing baseball? Well there was a precursor to it: England, WWI, women playing soccer (aka football). In England during the first World War, women began working factories like the Dick, Kerr Company:
They were making munitions for the war effort:
At lunchtime they started playing football (aka soccer), and in 1917, they became a team:
They started playing charity matches against other “munitionettes.” Their first match had 10,000 spectators and raised thousands of dollars (or, you know, pounds).
For the next several years they continued to play and attract crowds. In 1921, they played 67 matches in front of more than a half MILLION people!
But by then the war was over, the men’s leagues had started back up…
and guess! what! happened!
The British Football Association BANNED ALL WOMEN FROM PLAYING! They hired medical examiners to say things like:
Yep, they proclaimed the sport “quite unsuitable for females” and refused to let women use their fields or facilities for the next FIFTY years! (1921 until 1971)
You can learn a little bit more about the Dick Kerr Ladies (and how they kept playing anyway!) in my book, The Keeper, and a LOT more in Gail Newsham’s In a League of Their Own.
Happy International Women’s Day! Banned women rule!