We can’t help but feel a strange sort of nostalgia for March 2016, when we started this project, as we embark on a new year this January. It’s hard to believe there are only 60-odd posts left until we reach International Women’s Day 2017, and the end of our project. Thank you all for coming with us on this wild ride. What stories will 2017 bring? Without further ado, allow us to present a quick overview of the last 50 posts before we stride on dangerously into the unknown.
First of all, if you’re still looking for dangerous New Year’s Resolutions to kick-start your year, this special community post is a great place to start. Or take inspiration from Ru Raynor, an activist in an eco camp.
We met more historical women whose stories were framed in a new way: Vanessa Lee introduced us to Lumina Sophie Dite Surprise, who lit a spark in late 19th century Martinique. Janet Lees wrote about Madge Saunders, a pioneer of intercultural ministry, and Jo Woolf shone a spotlight on Mary Kingsley, who broke the mould of Victorial imperialism. In a journey through time, we learned about the Empress Matilda, Guinevere, the Widow Cliquot of the eponymous champagne empire, the linguist Daisy Bates, Dolly Parton, the reluctant suffragette Lilian Lenton, and Janet Thomson, who taught us that a woman’s place is in Antarctica. Lucy Popescu wrote movingly and insistently about Lydia Cacho, a dangerous journalist in Mexico.
We’ve had a rich selection of personal essays, too. From experiencing trans misogyny second-handedly, deciding to go dancing while being married, facing garden politics on the allotment, or being confronted with condescension and sexism while working at that quaintest place of all, the Christmas market – we’ve had lots of variety. Rachael Martin wrote about leaving former homes and moving to Italy, Molly Sheridan told us about Damn Rebel Bitches, a perfume out to challenge traditional views in the beauty industry, and we found out how female Australian lawyers challenge structures in their own ways. Also in Australia, librarian Michelle Collins retells the harrowing story of serial infanticide in From the lookout. We especially enjoyed writer Jan Carson’s take on Flannery O’Connor, part biography and part personal reflection, and Yewande Omotoso’s Serious Kind of Love, a piece about the dangerous women in her family.
We’ve also had new views on feminist mainstays: an essay on Hélène Cixous and the myth of medusa, and a piece on the place of the dominatrix as a Marxist feminist. If you’ve ever thought about making a public commitment to yourself, give Grace Gelder’s post a read, in which she talks about her own self-marriage and what happened after she said I do. While on the topic, read more about the meaning of the colour red in Nepal, and its significance for women. Have lesbians always been dangerous? Laurie Garrison explores this in a fascinating post on New Woman writing.
We’ve had another comic in the past 50 posts, too: Maria Stoian contributed Load comments, a poignant illustration of what happens all too often when women speak online. Combining visual art, biography and poetry, Elif Sezen’s post explores the life and legacy of French sculptor Camille Claudel. Shazea Quraishi’s poems was also inspired by visual art: Egon Schiele’s portraits of his sister. Just in time for the winter solstice, we featured Claire Askew’s poem What the kitchen witch said, and The Gift by Marjorie Lotfi Gill, in which she discusses empathy and gift-giving across cultural lines and different religions. Irene Hossack’s poem deals with her feelings following the death of Margaret Thatcher, and Roisin Kelly contributed a piece entitled Persephone no more about identifying with mythological characters.
We’re also not short of creative fiction pieces: Nkateko Masinga wrote The Truth, the story of a murderer in a women’s prison reflecting on her crime. Kirsty Logan’s story Domestic Magic sees two newlyweds going through their new house and finding all sorts of magical, mysterious objects. Rebecca Vedavathy’s piece The Praying Mantis is a rewarding, challenging piece of experimental fiction that should definitely go on your To Read list for 2017, as should the sparkling Stargazed by SE Craythorne, about the woman behind a constellation.
Beirut-based journalist and author Nada Awar Jarrar wrote a piece on headscarves, and Catherine Kennedy wrote about Thecla – the heroine of her own brand of dangerous chick lit. Speaking of fiction “for women“, why are there so few coming-of-age stories about young women and girls? Maria Torres-Quevedo examined this in her essay. We’re immensely grateful to our friends at the Edinburgh International Book Festival for making it possible for us to work with amazing authors like Jan Carson, Yewande Omotoso and Nada Awar Jarrar.
We’re also delighted to have got to partner with Book Week Scotland again, running our event Keeping the Door Open chaired by Jenny Niven, featuring Chitra Ramaswamy, Karen Campbell and Nadine Aisha. Did you miss it, or would you like to relive the magic? Heather McDaid has got you covered with this recap post.
All that’s left for us to do is thank you again for believing in us. We’re nearly there! We need your stories to take us all the way to that big number, 365. To celebrate, we’d like to invite you to join us for an event on International Women’s Day – save the date, we hope to have more details for you soon! Do make sure you’re following us on Facebook and Twitter so you can be among the first to know when tickets are available!