The Internet Has Spoken. These 15 Women Might Be ‘Badder’ Than Taylor Swift.
You may know Malala. But have you heard of “feminist Robin Hood” or Hatshepsut?
Sometimes, in the darkest of times, beauty can be found in the most unexpected places. Like Twitter.
What started as a simple question about a pop culture icon turned into a feminist history lesson for the ages. And we’re here for it.
On Nov. 10, Twitter user Nutella (@xnulz) tweeted a picture of singer Taylor Swift, with the caption “Name a bitch badder than Taylor Swift 😍😛😤.”
Name a bitch badder than Taylor Swift 😍😛😤 pic.twitter.com/AkSyQBUIME— Nutella (@xnulz) November 10, 2017
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While it’s not clear what sort of reaction Nutella hoped to elicit with this post, Twitter users from around the globe chimed in with some suggestions to answer to the question posed.
Posting images of women from ancient Egypt to modern day America, Twitter users took advantage of the platform’s new 280-character limit to unleash some righteous knowledge about women in history who have stood up for the most vulnerable, changed fields of math and science, and challenged the patriarchy head-on.
Swift, for what it’s worth, has also done some of these things. She’s stood up for women who have experienced sexual assault, given money to protect the environment, and advocated for clean water access for individuals living in poverty.
Some Twitter users criticized the internet trend, noting that it fits into an unsettling pattern of “women tearing down other women in an attempt to somehow show they are supportive of 'better' women.”
But others appreciated the history lesson. As one woman wrote: “So many fantastic stories of truly amazing women, some in the history books, many not, have come from that Taylor Swift meme.”
Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, including goal number five: gender equality. Internet memes and trends like this show that gender equality can be expanded by looking to the powerful leadership of women past and present. You can take action here.
At 15, @Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban for insisting that girls had the right to an education. At 17, she became the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in history. At 18, she opened a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon. https://t.co/UjPdnoqc0o— shauna (@goldengateblond) December 3, 2017
2/ Safiyyah Khan
3/ Phulan Devi
Phulan Devi was a Dalit (low caste) woman born to a poor rural family in India and was later called a “feminist Robin Hood” for leading low-caste rebellions and robbing rich communities to redistribute to poor Indian communities. https://t.co/8YYYWGcYrv— Vriddhi / ವೃದ್ಧಿ (@scaryammu) December 3, 2017
4/ Harriet Tubman
As a child, Harriet Tubman had her skull crushed in by a slave owner, was left w/o medical attention for 2 days, + then was returned to working the fields. She went on to rescue dozens of slaves + be the first woman to lead an armed assault during the CW. https://t.co/Swgus7BlRO— Jane Coaston (@cjane87) December 3, 2017
5/ Kathrine Switzer
Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run in the Boston marathon when the organizer Jock Semple realized a woman was running he tried to tackle her. pic.twitter.com/DRkcdtVhkR— Catherine (@catinthehat1003) December 2, 2017
6/ Sarla Thakral
Sarla Thakral was the first Indian woman to fly. She earned an aviation license in 1936 at age 21 and flew a Gypsy Moth solo. pic.twitter.com/7zpPcRYE8S— Catherine (@catinthehat1003) December 2, 2017
7/ Whang-od Oggay
Whang-od Oggay, Filipina tattoo artist from Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines, who is often described as the "last" and oldest mambabatok and is part of the Butbut people #womensartpic.twitter.com/3kXHsQjnc0— #WOMENSART (@womensart1) November 30, 2017
Khutulun was the great-great-granddaughter of Genghis Khan. She was a strong fighter and insisted that any man who wished to marry her must defeat her in wrestling, but any man who she beat would have to give her a horse. She wound up with 10,000 horses. https://t.co/TQTrKPN9EA— Samantha Mash 🌲 (@anamericanghost) December 2, 2017
9/ Pharaoh Hatshepsut
10/ Mariya Vasilyevna Oktyabrskaya
Mariya Vasilyevna Oktyabrskaya: her husband was killed by the Nazis in 1941 during Operation Barbarossa. She went to the Soviet gov’t and demanded to get a tank to kill Nazis. The gov’t relented and she killed Nazis with her tank. pic.twitter.com/9Iinz8ndxx— (╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻ (@shonan_naminori) December 2, 2017
Hypatia was one of the first women to teach astronomy, math, and philosophy in 5th century Egypt, she surpassed all of her peers and was fine af, she once rejected a man by giving him bloody menstrual rags, her radical presence led to her being beaten to death by a christian mob https://t.co/SgsJ17fd5T— Zachary Fox (@zackfox) December 3, 2017
12/ Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr, considered the most beautiful actress of the 1930s/40s and the inspiration for Catwoman and Disney's Snow White, perfected a radio system to throw Nazi torpedoes off course during WWII, which formed the basis of cellphone, WiFi and bluetooth technology. https://t.co/JRLhtyOj0b— Music Box Theatre (@musicboxtheatre) December 3, 2017
13/ Simone Veil
🇫🇷Simone Veil-survived Auschwitz, became a lawyer, entered ministry for justice, secured dual parental control of family legal matters & adoptive rights for women. Minister for Health, facilitated contraception access and legalized abortion. President of EU parliament. d. 2017 pic.twitter.com/xZGeqrQkA8— Kate Milne (@katemilne8) December 2, 2017
14/ Mekatilili Wa Menza
Mekatilili Wa Menza was a Kenyan woman who led the Giriama people against the British protesting conscription of Giriama men into WWI and erosion of traditional Giriama culture. She was arrested and exiled to western Kenya but escaped prison and walked 1000km back to her home. https://t.co/STSPLx72FS— Phinehas Finn (@Pmuthomi) December 2, 2017
15/ Queen Nitocris of Egypt
Queen Nitocris of Egypt. She invited the murderers of her husband to a banquet, then killed them by flooding the sealed room with the Nile. To avoid the other conspirators, she committed suicide by running into a burning room. pic.twitter.com/2jT5ysVyQ6— Jonny Cairo (@HereticPharaoh) December 3, 2017