This is my latest business venture. This was born out of how the word “feminism”, has somehow become a bad word. I didn’t understand why this was happening. I was from the generation when women’s rights were increasing. Because women before us fought hard, I could now enjoy a college education. I was no longer constrained by a society that thought my only choice should be a wife and a mother.
The younger generation seemed to forget that women had fought hard for these rights to vote and get an education. Things that we once took for granted were now being erroded.
Even though I grew up in a time period where women were making progress, still I knew very little of great women in history. Only recently, through reading, did I discover great women scientists, suffragettes, writers, architects, etc. Women have always contributed to society but their contributions have been silenced.
My children and I were listening to a podcast on Revisionist History, named The Lady Vanishes season 1 episode 1. It is a look at the painter Elizabeth Thompson who painted a painting named “roll call.”. The true story of how Elizabeth painted an image of soldiers returning from battle. She was the first to depict such an image with reality. The soldiers are dirty, tired, and injured. She received great acclaim for this piece and was nominated for membership in the royal academy. The first women to ever be nominated. She lost by two votes. I will not tell the rest of the story here but would encourage you to listen to the podcast.
After listening to the podcast my children and I had a discussion about what it was like for me as an artist who studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. It was the first time I remember my children who were teens at this time asking about my life. I told them about a professor who told me that I was very talented but he was not going to work on my behalf because I was a female and would just get married and have babies and would not continue as an artist. Elizabeth had painted her painting in 1874 but despite women working as artists in the twentieth century, we were still held back in so many ways.
These ruminations led me to the idea of medals of women. Women have fought hard and now deserved to be seen and respected. I realized that I wanted to create medals of women who deserve to be honored. My very first medal is to be Lucy Burns. She was a suffragette who was incarcerated more than any other woman in the movement. She was educated, hard working, and brave. In other words she is “bad ass”.
This medal is now in production. I will post images as soon as they are in my possession.