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The Nature of Being

rethinking the facts of life

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feminism

The 10 most unfair inequalities between men and women athletes

  1. Do you know how much the highest paid male football player wins and the highest paid female football player?                                                                                       Cristiano Ronaldo wins 93 million euros while Alex Morgan “only” 2.8 million euros
  2. What are the minimum wages in the NBA and WNBA?                                                    In the 2015-16 season, the NBA had a minimum wage of 500,000 euros, for the 37,000 of the WNBA.
  3. How many IOC presidents have been in history?                                                           Any. The nine presidents that have existed since Demetrius Vikelas (named in 1894) to Thomas Bach (in office since 2013) have been men.
  4. Do you know the difference in income between an ATP ‘Top 100’ tennis player and his WTA counterpart?                                                                                                             An ATP ‘Top 100’ player earns an average of 150,000 euros more per year than a WTA ‘Top 100’.
  5. How much money does the male golf circuit award? And the feminine?                     In 2015, the men’s circuit allocated 322 million euros for prizes, for the 57 million female circuit.
  6.  How many of the 66 Spanish sports federations are presided over by women at the moment?                                                                                                                                Only 3:Lifeguard, Boules and Sailing
  7. How much do the national teams of women’s and men’s soccer world champions enter?                                                                                                                                Germany added 35 million euros to win the 2014 World Cup and the US ‘only’ 2 million to win the 2015.
  8. Total income: What is the difference between the athlete who enters and his female counterpart?                                                                                                                                In 2016 Cristiano Ronaldo entered 85 million euros, for the 27 of Serena Williams.
  9. What is the maximum distance in the men’s and women’s swimming events in the Olympic Games?                                                                                                                    1500 meters in the case of men and 800 in the case of women Can not swim the same distance?
  10. Spanish flag-bearers in the Olympic Games How many there have been?                       Only 2: Infanta Cristina de Borbón in Seoul 88 and Isabel Fernandez, in Athens 2004.
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The Portrayal of Asexuals in Media

My last article will be dedicated to asexual representation in media. I would like to focus on the depiction of a/sexuality in media and the roles that asexual characters usually perform. Furthermore, I would like to draw attention on depictions of asexual individuals in the media.

Giving us a broad overview, the youtuber LatinAlice discusses asexual characters and the depiction of asexuality in fictional media. Some characters, like Sherlock Holmes (series: Sherlock) or Sheldon Cooper(Series: Big Bang Theory) are assumed to be asexual (by the queer community at least) but will sometimes have romantic and/or sexual partners throughout the show. This implicitly communicates how sexuality is considered a natural, basic need, an instinct and drive without which a person cannot be complete. Following this assumption, the dehumanizing nature of it becomes clearer, asexuality makes you less human, which is as LatinAlice points out ‘the ultimate form of othering’. They also discuss an episode of Dr. House, where one doctor has an asexual patient and Dr. House bets that he will find a medical explanation for it. By the end of the episode, Dr. House is proven right and can alleviate the ‘symptoms’ for the patient, yet his problematic assumption stays in tact. His approach is somewhat violent toward people who identify as asexual since he basically invalidates such identity in communicating that asexuality means there’s something going very wrong.

Similarly, the talkshow ‘The View’ invited the founder of AVEN, an informative website on asexuality, to discuss what asexuality entails. But instead of properly listening to the interviewee’s statements, most of the participants prefer to insult him or ask indecent questions. A very striking moment is when another panelist inquires if he ‘had sex with himself’, a question so personal and public it would generally understood to be impolite and rude. Worsely even that when he answers, said panelist persists with their question. Here, two things become apparent: firstly, he is not taken seriously at all and the existence of asexuality is constantly contested by the other panelists, secondly, the way he’s being talked about is sheer sensationalism, a dehumanising public humiliation. The debate is therefore more of a freak show than an actual interest into the lives and desires of asexuals.

On January 6th 2017 Vice published an article, headlined by ‘We asked Asexuals for their sex fantasies’. You may wonder why the title is self-contradictory. It seems to remain unimaginable to not have any sexual desires, and a societal way of processing is questioning the existence completely. Surprisingly, many asexuals report that they experience no sexual fantasies whatsoever and explain how they fantasise about their career, future pets or children and other goals that they have.

Here the societal quest for residual sexuality seems to be a prominent one when discussing and exploring the field of asexuality. The allonormative and also medical/sychological assumption that everyone has to have a sexuality and sexual desires comes into play.

Apart from these unfortunate representations of asexuality in the media, there is really not much talk about due to underrepresentation or rather invisibility. Rarely a character will identify as asexual, especially when there deemed to beautiful and attractive. There is much to be changed if society wants to be inclusive of all genders and orientations in media.

Further information and sources:

http://www.zeit.de/community/2015-05/asexualitaet-beziehung-erfahrung

https://www.vice.com/de/article/kbwda3/wir-haben-asexuelle-nach-ihren-sexfantasien-gefragt

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLn4ob_5_ttEaA_vc8F3fjzE62esf9yP61

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikoIEUBY00Y

http://asexuality.org/?q=video.html

https://youtu.be/6kPfLYuQlL8

* the asterisk implies that ‘woman’ is a social role that some people identify with. Some people will be read as female but do not identify as such, these may or may not want to be included in this social category. The asterisk indicates that being a woman is not a biological fact but a social category that one can assume for themselves.

The Medicalisation of Asexuality

It wasn’t long before medical scholars discovered human behaviour as new field of interest next to the various kinds of sicknesses. Non-normative behaviour has a long history of being sanctioned and disapproved of according to a societal understanding of modesty and reputable behaviour.

In medical terms, asexuality was conceptualised relatively recently as ’Hypoactive sexual desire disorder’ (HSDD) or ‘Inhibited Sexual Desire (ISD)’. Medicalisation of human differences occurred in many aspects of life for example in questions of abortion. The discovery of asexuality or as it is called the lack of sexual desire as field for medical intervention is much younger. When Masters and Johnson published their book ‘Human Sexual Inadequacy’  in 1970 a debate was stimulated about sexual dysfunctions, among them also the lack of sexual desire. It was argued at that time that having sex is part of a healthy and good lifestyle, so suddenly there arose a new norm regarding people’s sex lives.

Apart from these ‘cultural trends’ in lifestyle, there is also an underlying scientific assumption that sexuality is pre-social; much like breathing, digestion and the like it is supposedly involuntary and instinctive. This stance then leads to the problematising of sexualities that fall short of complying with unspoken norms. ‘Deviating’ forms of sexuality have been thus of interest in modern psychology and medicine, e.g. homosexuality, masochistic and sadistic sex practices have been pathologised and it has been tried to find cures and antidotes for many of these. Some of these are still intact today, a prominent example is the so-called conversion therapy for homosexuality. In fact, some forms of sexual expression existed for a long time (e.g. homosexuality was a common, normal practice in ancient Greece) and only attained their new moral condemnation in modern times. In the case of asexuality, it has been linked to sexual dysfunction or abstinence, as opposed to a lack of sexual attraction. A sexual dysfunction is present when an individual experiences psychological strain because of their inability to perform sexual practices. In the case of asexuality there is nothing to be cured since there is no psychological strain in the first place.

In the asexual community these assumptions are largely referred to as allonormativity, which describes the notion that each and everyone has to have romantic and sexual desires and attraction. Many describe their youth as a time when they thought, something was wrong with them, which points to the structuring element allonormativity is for modern societies. Allonormativity is omnipresent in everyday life, as we will see when we talk about asexuality and aromanticism in media.

Sources:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypoactive_sexual_desire_disorder

https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/asexuality-dysfunction-or-sexual-orientation-2161-038X-1000185.php?aid=76817

http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/03/23/reviews/bright-inadequacy.html?mcubz=0

Barbie Girl, Barbie Boy

When one thinks of a newspaper what does one think of? Politics? Political Cartons or the usual Calvin and Hobbes or Garfield comic strip that everyone knows and loves? Sometimes newspapers can form to be whatever they want to be whether it be good or bad. There’s a German newspaper called Bild. It’s been around since 1952 and went from being a newspaper that showed mostly pictures and sold around a million or so copies a day, to a newspaper that is not very well loved anymore around Germany because of the tenacious yet audacious way the paper has began to write. Now, I had the pleasure of reading an article the other day about an advertisement with a little boy playing with this new version of Barbie called Moschino Barbie. It was an article advertising these new Barbie dolls called Moschino Barbie dolls. The irony also hasn’t escaped me because Barbie was a doll created from the German Newspaper Bild. The doll was called Bild Lilli but the copyright materials, design and such were bought by an American woman in the mid 1950’s. The article wasn’t very long it simply stated how boys are now being advertised with Barbie dolls. I found this article very interesting because it’s starting to show the cracks in the social norms of what is shown in gender media. It showed how we are trying to take a step past the line that has been created by society that only girls can be advertised with Barbie dolls, and only boys can be advertised with race cars and/ or video games. Even though race cars in video games can be something that girls play with as well, as now as advertised in this Barbie commercial, now boys can  play with Barbie dolls ,or dolls in general, as well. What I found a bit unpleasant was the way the Barbie was dressed. One of the aforementioned dolls had a leather skirt on and a see through net top with a bra on covered slightly by a leather jacket. The little boy mentioned “wie scharf” translated to how spicy, how hot this Barbie is. Now to imagine what message this would send to younger kids is what bothers me. The Barbie is dressed a bit scantily and the boy is already shown making remarks a child his age should not make. The idea of the Barbie is a great one and I am more than enthused that it is attempting to pass the gender norms of media and society but it makes one wonder to what expense and if they were made purposefully this way in order to point a blame on what happened to the youth of future generations. It is my hope that with this step further past the gender roles that have been created, that we step into more of a gender equality and neutralism in the future but maybe without the loopholes and I partially mean the ones in Moschino Barbies top as well.

 

Sources:

http://www.bild.de/unterhaltung/kultur/barbie/barbie-jetzt-auch-fuer-jungen-43433174.bild.html

http://kids.barbie.com/en-gb

http://www.women-inventors.com/Ruth-Handler.asp

#WeDeserveBetter

Everyone wants a happily ever after that they can relate to right? Most young girls watch old Disney movies and think that waiting for their Prince Charming is their only option. Some young boys even think it is their duty to try and save every girl whom they believe are damsels in distress and need someone to save them. Unfortunately for the young boys and girls who are apart of the LGBT community ,or as I like to call them family, like myself, we do  not want that for our future. However, due to society’s standards created by predominantly privileged cis white males, we have been led to believe that any love that is not between a man and a woman is somehow an abomination and or fantasized and sexualized. That the love we share with our same sex is not natural despite there being scientific evidence that same sex attraction is as natural as heterosexual attraction. There are even homosexual relationships in animals. In some cases, female lionesses who identify as both gender or look similar to a male of their species can lead their pride because despite contrary belief, it is possible to survive with only one gender in a group.

Recently there has been a lot of controversy over ,the 100, a tv show which used to be one of the highest rated series of the year. The Director, Jason Rothenberg, used the promise of a non mistreated/mishandled LGBT couple romance, in this situation the main character Clarke being LGBT and falling in love with another woman Commander Lexa, in order to win the LGBT audiences ratings and views but then brutally removing one or both of the characters after ratings are high. This act has been named queerbaiting. So, after the show was ranked #1 on the most watched and popular tv series, the aforementioned couple ,both strong and respected leaders amongst their people, accepted their feelings for one another. Directly after spending their first night together as a couple, the partner was shot by a poisoned arrow meant for the other. Not only was the arrow a misfire but it was shot by the right hand advisor of the one that was shot. Now after this happened and the controversy began the Director claimed that this was done to add to the “shock factor” of the show.

The question that is being asked is would anyone call another lesbian character on a tv show being killed off a shock? Would the young lesbian and bi community think that was a good shock for a story they looked to for their promised happily ever after? One they could finally have that did not end in horrible and or tragic heartbreak? I certainly did not. After this fated day our epic Commander Lexa was taken from us, the LGBT community was outraged, flooded twitter with #Lexadesrvedbetter, #Wedeservebetter, #LGBTcharactersdeservebetter etc, and began to expose this director for the monster he is. A misogynist who mistreats his minority cast and ,even though his main character is a female, constantly creates male roles to dominate the strong roles of the females. Now I have only mentioned J. Rothenberg once or twice, I have made this whole blog post apart of the minority. Why is that one may ask? Because ,at least in America, society has taught cis white males that they are at the top and anyone beneath them are disposable.

Well the community took a stand and said we are not disposable. So what have we done? We have started a campaign for the Trevor project which is non-profit organization founded in 1998 and the leading national organization focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning and other queer youth. Within mere weeks of the fated episode the Lexas death we have raised over $30,000. The message is clear, we will not back down, we will support our youth and ourselves and we are a force to be reckoned with #LGBTcharactersdeservebetter.

Sources:

http://nypost.com/2015/12/28/gender-fluid-lioness-is-the-queen-of-her-pride/

http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/death-100-prompts-30000-donation-furious-fans-trevor-project/#gs.X37aZKQ

http://www.autostraddle.com/all-65-dead-lesbian-and-bisexual-characters-on-tv-and-how-they-died-312315/

 

Woman Biological Urge

Do you ever go to a social gathering of some sort and while you are mingling, if you mingle at all, you encounter someone with such radical ideas or old fashioned views that you’re amazed you are still listening to their nonsense? Even if only to be able to tell it in a story later about some guy who started talking with you and believes it is only natural for you, a woman, to be attracted to males, himself in particular, so that you can reproduce. Now, despite us being in the 21st century and woman having many more purposes and needs than one would have thought of in, let us say, the 18th/19th century, I found something interesting in the garbage that came out of this boy’s mouth. For despite me being a homosexual and in fact not going to parties to find some man to please, he sparked a curious question in my mind. How many women do have the “Biological Urge” to reproduce?

I have personally wanted to give birth and be a Mother since I was young. Would I call that a biological urge? No. Personally I think it goes amongst the wants of what one wants to do when one grows up. I wanted to be a doctor when I was younger. I would still enjoy the ups and downs of being a doctor but these days it is no longer a priority. I have talked to a few women who range from “I never want kids” which is what my older sister Charity has been saying ever since we were young and that mindset still has not changed. To other women, like my partner who is a primary school teacher, who says “maybe one day if I can afford to bring the child up nicely” and others, like my friend Monique, who dreams of driving a van around with at least 5 kids in the car. It poses then the question if it was an actual urge to reproduce and be a Mother would the urge not affect each and every one of us? Which is why it is to my understanding that it goes down to background of how we were raised and how we perceived interactions when we were younger and to today, which helps us determine if we want to reproduce and making the decision to become a Mommy.

Now, while my word only goes so far therefore, I have read a few articles like the Huffington Post and the Daily Beast about not women who do not want kids. In this article it stated “For women, there is no real evidence to support the notion that there is a biological process that creates that deep longing for a child”. Which is not so far fetched of an idea for even if one were to say that they chose not to have kids, well, that would be proving my point exactly. That it is in fact a conscious choice and not a need that as a women no matter the age would they want kids. In my case, I can only be grateful that I have a partner who is not against the idea of being a Mom but would much rather adopt than give birth and that is fine by me. Well, at least for one of our kids.

 

Sources:

 

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26089486

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-carroll/childfree_b_1752906.html

 

The Heart of Jane

Although my last blog post was a little bit of a tangent on the subject of Jane Goodall, I still believe it shows just the impact she still has on young girls and on the field of science today. Not only has this woman positively impacted the field of science, but she also speaks about how females need to become more involved in STEM. STEM is an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. All of those subjects that get a weird look if you tell people that’s what you’re studying (trust me, I study math, I know hands-down just that certain ‘look’). But why? Why do these esteemed and completely necessary fields of study create people to make a face as if they just smelled a baby’s diaper? In an interview, Jane Goodall addresses some of these issues.

To open, Jane says that this field had the “perception of it being a rather cold sort of discipline to go into, without heart. And I feel that women — really, we need to be involved with not just with our brain, but with our hearts as well.” These studies, to me, are full of heart. Would I choose to study math if I didn’t love it? I would be insane to just voluntarily study math. I think, for me, heart is where it all comes from. I think the same was true for 26 year old Jane when she decided to go deep into the forests of Tanzania.

She was criticized for almost everything. She was criticized for giving the chimpanzees names instead of just numbering them. She was criticized for claiming that these chimps could have (and did have) personalities. She was always, for some reason, having to justify the way she did things. How she did her work with a little extra ‘heart’. (Because apparently doing what you love with passion should be seen as a bad thing, right?)

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(photo credit)

Later on in the interview, Jane is asked if she thinks females alone possess that little bit of heart that is needed to further STEM  areas. I assumed she would answer yes, but to my surprise she said “I think they do. But fortunately, a lot of men feel this way, too.” I can only commend and applaud Jane for the way she answered this question. She acknowledges that we all possess this little bit of ‘heart’ needed in STEM. She knows that we all have this ability, whether it is always used or not.

To make sort of a conclusion on my posts regarding Jane Goodall (only 4 posts total, sorry! I could write for days about this incredible woman), I would like to say what an inspiration she is in all walks of life. She is an inspiration for young girls wanting to get into the field of science, she inspires those who want to work with the animal kingdom, she inspires feminists that want to classify her as a ‘badass’, and she inspires the world daily to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. It all started with her crazy dream to want to explore the forests of Gombe and see what exactly chimpanzees were all about. Her perseverance and dedication is more than admirable and turning 82 this year, she shows us that every day is an opportunity to change the world, no matter what.


 

interview: http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/morning-news/2016/2/women-and-science-a-conversation-with-jane-goodall.html

Jane Goo[doll]

Wendy Tsao has created a company around deconstructing Bratz dolls and recreating them to be more natural looking. After years of doing this, she decided to take Bratz dolls and recreate them to be famous women figures. Although she only recreated 4 famous women, she made a business out of doing this. Here are some of her earlier works, found of her website:

Tsao takes old Bratz dolls, strips them of their clothes and (in my opinion, gaudy) makeup, and creates a new doll with sensible clothing and makeup. After doing regular dolls for a while, Tsao decided it was time for a change. She then created 5 dolls that were all well-known female figures.

The female figures she chose were Malala Yousafzi, J.K. Rowling, Waris Dirie, and Roberta Bonbar. The other woman she chose to makeover was Jane Goodall.

Sold on Tsao’s ebay account for $170.02 on October 31, 2015, this makeover of a Bratz doll is a clear sign of the impact that Jane had on our world today. So what, some lady made a doll for Jane?

janegoodall-e1444338140203

Out of all the scientists, actresses, movie stars, models, and famous female figures that could have been chosen, Tsao chose Jane. Jane was chosen among an astronaut, the writer of one of the most famous book series, an activist for woman’s rights, and a speaker for the Female Genital Mutilation. This shows just how much an impact Jane has had on the female world of science.

These dolls strip down the regular, over-the-top, original Bratz dolls that poorly represent what young girls or boys should be playing with. Out of curiosity, I wondered what “Bratz dolls feminism” would pull up on Google. The first article, to no surprise, was all about Wendy Tsao’s dolls. This then linked to another article, written by The Huffington Post. THP comments on this series of dolls called “The Mighty Dolls” and how these dolls have taken mothers by surprise.

Tsao hasn’t been the only one to create this ‘make-under’ doll. A class of second grade students was interviewed in this video and they were given a more realistic doll, with proportionate limbs, less make-up, normal feet (the foot of the Barbie has no defined toes as well as the appearance of wearing ‘invisible’ high heel shoes), and a wider build. Boys and girls alike, they preferred this doll over the traditional Barbie doll. They compared this traditional doll to their sister, themselves, or aunts they believed this doll looked like. They thought it was more realistic for her to be ‘wider’ and for her feet to not have ‘invisible high heels’. They were asked to give her a profession and the answers included ‘teacher, swimmer, a computer job, a pilot’ while when they were asked about the traditional Barbie, the answers included ‘model, make-up artist, surfer, fashion star, and it looked she she wouldn’t do any job’. Not only is Barbie affecting the perception of women on the outside, it is affecting the perception of intelligence. These second grades had very clear distinctions when it came down to which job both dolls would most likely be doing.

Jane Goodall, without knowing it, is positively impacting not only the animal world and the environment, but she is also positively impacting the minds of young children. A simple doll made of Jane is showing the sort of new thinking that should be present in the minds of elementary school children. Hopefully, in a future world we dream of, our dolls can look more like a human (on the right) instead of some alien figure with pounds of makeup plastered on their face (on the left).

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 (photo credit)


Wendy Tsao’s website: http://wendytsao.com/

articles referenced: http://www.refinery29.com/2015/10/95710/bratz-dolls-famous-women-wendy-tsao#slide

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bratz-dolls-reimagined-as-extraordinary-women_us_561bda58e4b0082030a33dcf

video: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-1152693/Kids-react-Lammily-average-Barbie.html

Jane ‘The Feminist’ Goodall

*warning*: this post uses the word ‘badass’ (more than) a few times to describe the true personality of Jane Goodall. This word was not chosen by me, but by the author of an article I am reflecting on.

At the end of my last post, I hinted that if Jane would have been a young scientist in today’s world, she would have been seen as a feminist. After some research, I came across the perfect article that describes just what I was talking about.

5526cec03d718

(photo credit)

This article, written by Bee Gray, was posted on bust.com under the ‘Feminism’ tab. It is titled “Ten Times Jane Goodall Was A Total Badass” and proceeds to explain ten things about Dr. Goodall that qualify her to be as defined. Although this is far from an academic article or an article that would be found on a site such as National Geographic, it is the perfect example of how Dr. Goodall is viewed in the minds of young people today.

The first time has a picture of Jane as a young girl with the caption “Hi, it’s me, Jane Goodall. As a child, and in my rare moments of leisure, I take extensive notes, draw sketches in my journal, and love reading about zoology and ethology. What are dolls?” According to the Gray, breaking the stereotype for a little girl classifies Jane as a ‘badass’ very early on. I find it comical for this to be the first reason, seeing as all it has to do with is the fact that she likes to do something other than play with dolls. Would that mean a little boy that doesn’t like to play with trucks or dinosaurs and play with dolls instead would also be classified as a ‘badass’?

The second and third times comment on the fact that Jane took the initiative and asked an anthropologist to go on an ‘anthropological dig’ and then he asked her how she felt about doing a long-term study of chimpanzees in the wild. She apparently wasn’t qualified to do such a thing, but her assertiveness qualifies her as a ‘badass’ and feminist.

The fourth time is probably the one that truly does make Jane Goodall the woman she is. It says that she spent 55 years in Tanzania studying chimpanzees. Regardless of the fact that she is a woman, she dedicated 55 years of her life to these animals and if you ask me, this article should be  “The One Time Jane Goodall Was A Total Badass” and should include this point and this point only.

The fifth, sixth, and seven times all deal with Jane’s work outside of the chimpanzee world. Not only did she work on awareness of the primate world, she also worked to help those in poverty in the areas she researched.

The eighth time was when Jane wrote a book and “climber a mountain alone” after the passing of her husband and the ninth time is when Jane was named a UN Messenger of Peace.

The tenth time Jane Goodall was a badass was when she said “Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don’t believe is right.” Jane is an activist for the less fortunate, for those without a voice, and for those who don’t know how to use the voice they have been given.

5526d1498eedc

(photo credit)

Although these ten ‘times’ seem trivial, they have truth behind them. I find it comical to make a post on a feminism website and to classify different actions of Jane Goodall as being ‘badass’, but the internet never ceases to amaze me in this way. Despite a few of these reason being comical, an article such as this one shows just what an impact Jane had and still has on our scientific world. She is gentle yet strong, humble yet accomplished, and a woman yet a scientist and researcher. She is all of these things and more. She was never one to make grand speeches about how women should be more recognized or how woman should pursue careers in science. She didn’t dedicate her career to pushing for women or for joining the feminist movement. She simply was herself. She set goals, achieved her dreams, and changed the world of science forever. She is a female, a doctor in her field, and according to Gray, a ‘badass’.


article: http://bust.com/feminism/14015-ten-times-jane-goodall-was-a-total-badass.html

 

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