Wednesday 5: Roles That Win Women Oscars, Unknown Heroines, and More

In this week’s Wednesday 5: Amazing women you’ve never heard of, Michelle Obama dunks her way into fabulous and 50, roles that are more likely to win women Oscars, women are reading more than ever, and Happy Birthday to writer Edwidge Danticat.



Amazing Women You’ve Never Heard Of

Hedy Lamarr (Marxchivist/Flickr).

Hedy Lamarr (Marxchivist/Flickr).

“For every Joan of Arc, there’s a Mongolian wrestler princess; for every Mata Hari, there’s a Colombian revolutionary spy; for every Ada Lovelace, there’s a pin-up Austrian telecoms inventor,” writes Jessica Phelan of the Global Post. In her article, she describes seven real women to add to our pantheon of heroines. They hail from  Mongolia, Nigeria, Colombia, China, England, Russia, and Austria. It’s an important piece, since it counters the often-rote list of women we are used to hearing. And of course, any list that champions under-the-radar women gets our attention at Women’s Voices.

We have to say, we were particularly intrigued to hear that Hedy Lamarr—the Hollywood actress of the 1940s—was, on her downtime, “coming up with the system of wireless communication that would later form the foundation of cellphones, Wi-Fi and most of our modern life.”



What 50 Looks Like

Speaking of Amazing Women: For this week’s dose of awesome, we share with you the newly minted 50-year-old Michelle Obama, who recently showcased her basketball dunking skills in a video bomb of the Miami Heat. Enjoy!



How to Win a Best Actress Oscar (Spoiler Alert: Play a Wife)

OscarWinnersWOMEN_ALTvia The Huffington Post

It’s Awards season! The Huffington Post has put together some nifty infographics visualizing an important question for  women in Hollywood: How to Win a Best Actress Oscar? After all the tallying, here’s what the data says about which roles led to an Oscar.

  • Get cast as a wife, mother, sister, daughter, or girlfriend STAT! (Men get cast as  important historical figures).
  • Play a prostitute or mistress.
  • Play a housekeeper or maid.

What’s the lesson here? Katie Halper of weighs in:

The Academy really likes to reward women for playing characters defined by their familial relations to others, and will also give them pats on the head for playing maids, housekeepers, prostitutes, or mistresses—other roles defined by their relations to others. Men, on the other hand, are rewarded for playing important historical figures or whatever the hell they want, and will get encouraging punches in the arm for playing men who have career achievements under their belts—particularly in the male-dominated spheres of law or the military.



Reading Only Books By Women? This Year, It’s Easy

Yes! It’s no news to us that women are reading more than they ever did.  We see that noticeably on our site often. But the Pew report on American reading habits found that, of the 76 percent of American adults who read a book in 2013—all formats—82 percent were women and a mere 69 percent were men. Publishers are taking note—which means this is good news for women writers as well as readers. of TIME notes: An effort is underway to give those consumer figures their parallel in terms of what is being read, not just how much, and to make sure that the intersection of women and books includes female writers rather than just readers. Read more at TIME. . . 5. . Happy Birthday, Edwidge Danticat Speaking of women of letters, writer and 2009 MacArthur award winner Edwidge Danticat just celebrated her 45th birthday. On turning 45, she told her Facebook audience, “I am very blessed to have walked this earth now for 45 years, to have loved and have been loved, and to have shared my words with you.” Below we share with you Danticat, in her own words, talking about what winning the MacArthur award means for her, a Haitian immigrant in the United States.

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