I used to wake up with a set of alarm clocks, just to be early at the job and start the day as prepared as possible.
But going to sleep with the knowledge of bells and horns going off in a few hours just robs you from the rest part in your sleep. But hey, I wanted to be an example and be…
22-year-old Fatu Kekula nursed her entire family through Ebola. Her father. Her mother. Her sister. Her cousin. Fatu took care of them all, single-handedly feeding them, cleaning them and giving them medications.And she did so with remarkable success. Three out of her four patients survived. That’s a 25% death rate — considerably better than the estimated Ebola death rate of 70%.Fatu stayed healthy, which is noteworthy considering that more than 300 health care workers have become infected with Ebola, and she didn’t even have personal protection equipment — those white space suits and goggles used in Ebola treatment units.Instead Fatu, who’s in her final year of nursing school, invented her own equipment. International aid workers heard about Fatu’s “trash bag method” and are now teaching it to other West Africans who can’t get into hospitals and don’t have protective gear of their own
Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
I see a lot of love for Mary Shelly (author of Frankenstein and widely regarded as the inventor of science fiction) on tumblr, which is awesome, because she was awesome.
But let me tell you about her mother.
Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) was a bamf feminist before ‘feminism’ was even the name for what she was doing. Growing up with an abusive father, Mary would often sleep outside her mother’s bedroom to protect her from his violent beatings. She helped her sister who was suffering through postpartum depression and later helped her flee her husband. She would attend lectures given by her friend’s father, a philosopher and scientist. She also attempted to earn her own living working as a lady’s companion for a widow and later as a governess. These experiences influenced her writings about the limited education and opportunities for poor women.
She became an influential philosopher during the Enlightenment, a cultural movement of intellectuals that stressed reason, logic, and individualism. Her peers were some of the most famous philosophers of all time: Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Edmund Burke, and others. Her writings not only added to the philosophical discourses of the time, but also often directly challenged the sexist and elitist views of her peers. She responded to Burke’s take on the French Revolution with her Vindication of the Rights of Man. Published anonymously, the work attacked aristocracy, advocated republicanism, and was a major hit. She followed that up with her Vindication of the Rights of Women, a treatise that advocated for women’s right to education in response to works such as Rousseau’s Émile that argued women should only be educated in how to please men. Many of her writings throughout her life focused on the education of women, but Vindication of the Rights of Women is the one she’s best known for now. However, she published it under her own name and at the time people were outraged and it did not get the kind of attention that her Vindication of the Rights of Man got. She published many works throughout her life on a variety of subjects, but the over-arching themes of her works was that women are inherently equal to men and that women deserve the same education and opportunities so that they may be independent.
Some gems from her writings:
“My own sex, I hope, will excuse me, if I treat them like rational creatures, instead of flattering their fascinating graces, and viewing them as if they were in a state of perpetual childhood, unable to stand alone.”
"Women are systematically degraded by receiving the trivial attentions which men think it manly to pay to the sex, when, in fact, men are insultingly supporting their own superiority."
"Taught from infancy that beauty is woman’s sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.
“Make them free, and they will quickly become wise and virtous, as men become more so; for the improvement must be mutual, or the injustice which one half of the human race are obliged to submit to, retorting on their oppressors, the virtue of men will be worm-eaten by the insect whom he keeps under his feet”
"Strengthen the female mind by enlarging it, and there will be an end to blind obedience."
"Women ought to have representatives, instead of being arbitrarily governed without any direct share allowed them in the deliberations of government."
She died just ten days after giving birth to her second daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (who would later marry Percy Shelley and author Frankenstein.) After her death, her husband, philosopher William Godwin, published her unfinished manuscripts and memoirs. The memoirs dealt frankly with her controversial life including her love affairs with Henry Fuseli and Gilbert Imlay, her illegitimate daughter Franny Imlay, her close relationship with Franny Blood (possibly another love affair), her suicide attempts, and her agonizing death. These memoirs damaged her reputation in the eyes of the public for many years, but later generations were influenced by her works.
Today, Mary Wollstonecraft is widely regarded as one of the foremothers of feminism. Mary Wollstonecraft lived widely and passionately, all the while fiercely advocating for the equal treatment and education of women. She is one of my personal heroes and generally an awesome lady.