1990s nostalgia is all the rage these days, which got me thinking: who are my favorite women of the ’90s? Right away, these women (some real, some fictional) stood out:
Clarissa Darling: Clarissa was one of the most true to life characters to ever grace teen television. The relationship between Clarissa and little brother Ferguson was so realistic, as was her friendship with Sam (see, guys and girls CAN be friends!). She was smart and witty and faced the typical triumphs and tribulations of being a teenager with humor. We also have the success of Clarissa Explains It All to thank for the creation of other shows with cool female leads, like The Secret World of Alex Mack and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo.
D.J. Tanner: As much as I love my sisters, they are both much older than me - 15 and 16 years older, to be exact. I always wanted a sister who was slightly closer in age to me, and one who was like D.J.; yes, she mostly wanted to hang out with Kimmie and Steve, and she did try to steal Tommy Page away from Stephanie, but she always made time for her little sisters and didn’t torment them too much.
Gwen Stefani: My life forever changed when I first heard No Doubt’s “Just a Girl.” To 11-year-old me, there was no one cooler than lead singer Gwen Stefani, a platinum blonde from just two counties over. She wore bindis! And crop tops! Yes, I was a Gwenabee.
Shirley Manson: Harder edged than Gwen, Garbage’s Shirley Manson was my other musical idol. She was feisty and fiery, with the coolest Scottish accent. I can still remember my friends and I running around the playground singing “I’m Only Happy When it Rains” at the top of our lungs.
Ann M. Martin: Oh, when I think of all the money my parents spent on Baby-sitters Club books, I’m pretty sure it would have been able to pay for my first car and possibly my second. I devoured those books, especially when they featured sophisticated Stacey McGill. While Ann M. Martin didn’t write every single book (it was usually the people she acknowledged on the dedication page), she did create the world of Stoneybrook, CT, and was the reason why I couldn’t wait to turn 13.
There’s a slew of possibilities, from Blossom to Alanis Morissette, Brenda Walsh to Daria. Who do you pick? -Catherine
The magic of the internet means that more often than not, I’ll get the opportunity to find something I only recall from a word, phrase, or image. A little digging revealed that the book I’ve remembered as “the story about that lady who was the world’s first female shark scientist or something” is actually called Shark Lady: True Adventures of Eugenie Clark by Ann Mcgovern. You might remember Mcgovern as the woman behind the If You series; she penned classics such as If You Lived in Colonial Times and If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620. Shark Lady Eugenie Clark also wrote her own memoirs and I’m trying to track those down as well.
I’m also trying to find another favorite book that talks about the life of Florence Nightingale, who created the profession of nursing. Though that, I’ve come across her own book, Notes on Nursing What It Is and What It Is Not. Do you have any favorite books about women’s historical figures from your childhood that you remember fondly (or barely)?
“Her very walk has a swing of mischief and defiance in it,” George Foster wrote of the Gal; Abram Dayton, another contemporary, remembered that “her gait and swing were studied imitations of her lord and master, and she tripped by the side of her beau ideal with an air which plainly said, ‘I know no fear and ask no favor.”—Bowery Gals. An awesome quote from a book I’m reading for BoJ. (via notalexus)
Hello! This is Catherine, one of the interns. While researching entries for the Book of Jezebel, I’ve been learning little known facts about people or characters I’m very familiar with, including Aaliyah, Ariel (as in the Little Mermaid), and Jane Addams. But I’ve also been introduced to plenty of new names, like the poet Anna Akhmatova. I’m surprised that I’ve never come across her before, having taken a few poetry courses in college, but I’m glad I finally did. The works I’ve read of hers so far are intense, thought provoking and rather beautiful.
Now, of course, I want to discover other awesome women that I didn’t know existed. Please share you best (living or dead) under-the-radar activists, poets, novelists, politicians, actresses, etc. so I can scour the Internet for everything I can find out about them. Some might even become contendors to make it into the book…
We’re making a list of memorable and awesome female characters from children’s TV shows. I tweeted about this earlier, and your responses have helped us put together the beginnings of a list. Please do let us know who or what we’re missing, either by replying to this post or emailing us at book [at] jezebel.com
Reminder: Just 4 more days until we stop accepting applications for interns for the book. For more background on what the internships will entail, click here and here. (Contact details can be found within the “Info” tag at the top of this page.) For those who’ve already applied: Thanks very much for your interest. We’ve been enjoying your submissions and will be in contact with candidates the first and second weeks of March. —Anna
Are you a young, brilliant illustrator? Would you like to see your work and name in The Book of Jezebel—and yes, also get paid for it? (Not a ton, alas.) Then we want to talk to you!
To go along with the encyclopedia format Anna explained yesterday, we’ll need to commission some visual representations of Jez-adjacent people, places and things, from Agent Provocateur to Zahara Jolie-Pitt, from Artemis to Zumba, from abstinence-only education to Zappos… I’m done now.
If you’re interested, please send links to a few examples of your work to: book at jezebel dot com. And as with pretty much everything here, please do reblog, tweet, etc. Thanks!
So what’s the book going to be about? Think of it as a “World According To…” opus organized like an encyclopedia. Within: People, places, things, ideas, and concepts, as interpreted by the uniquely opinionated, smart and funny Jezebel writers and readers. Entries will be arranged alphabetically, and will include take the form of everything from short essays to brief text descriptions, illustrations, pullquotes and photographs.
For the next month, we’re focusing on entries for the letters A through C, and, although we’ve got a nice list going, we want to make this interactive and solicit your input. Entries can encompass anything and everything: concepts (“abstinence”, “astrology”); pop culture references or brands (“Bitch Magazine”, “Barbie”); categories/things (“cats”, “clitoris”); and proper names/people (“Clinton, Hillary Rodham”, “Angelou, Maya”).
Feel free to email us ideas (click “Info” at the top of this page) or reblog this post with your suggestions. We’re also open to hearing about dream contributors - writers, photographers, illustrators, artists, musicians, etc. - who deserve to be featured and/or whose work will help round out and add energy to the book. —Anna
Awesome news: Writer, editor, and truculent badass Kate Harding - co-author of the book Lessons from the Fat-O-Sphere, creator of the critically-acclaimed Shapely Prose, proprietor of this blog, and contributor to Salon and Jezebel, among other outlets - is going to be working with us on the book.
You’ll be seeing her posts - along with those by the site’s writers/editors - in this space over the coming months. Suffice it to say, we’re very excited. —Anna
There seems to be a little pushback against my call for interns, namely, my designation that the internships are unpaid. Some great points were made, and I want to clarify a few things:
• At the successful completion of the internship, interns on the Jezebel manuscript - just like the interns on Jezebel.com - will be given a small stipend and a shoutout in the book. I’m also happy to help secure college credit, if this is of interest.
This should have been made clear in my initial post, but I made the mistake of taking my personal definition of “paid internship” - in which an intern turns up at an office or works during defined hours and in return receives an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly rate or wage - and deciding that the particular circumstances of the BOOK OF JEZEBEL internship did not fall within those parameters. This is my bad, and I’m sorry. To be clear: Interns at Jezebel, as well as those working on related side projects such as this, are financially compensated (or work for school credit).
• The larger issue of opportunities available to young people in media is an interesting one, but not one I’m interested in debating right now. Suffice it to say that Jezebel.com - both under my tenure and under current EIC Jessica Coen - has always made good faith efforts to reach out to and recruit interns from all over the country. We’ve promoted/hired 2 of them into full-time positions; others have become contributors. I’m no fan of nepotism, or the NYC-centric media universe, and our intern selection process has reflected that.
• Some more specifics about the internships themselves: They do not involve fetching hot beverages or running off photocopies or other meaningless busywork. The large bulk of the internship will involve research, and there may be opportunities for writing. Interns’ opinions on drafts of the manuscript will be solicited and ideas/brainstorming encouraged. They will be in frequent, close contact with the book’s editor/writers. Time commitment will range from 12-20 hours a week and scheduling will be extremely flexible. (Translation: Interns will be able to make their own hours.)
Again, the deadline for applications is February 28 and should be sent to anna [at] jezebel dot com. Thanks for your feedback.
We’re looking for 2-3 hardworking, passionate, dedicated young women to assist in the creation of the book. Internships are unpaid, 12-20 hours a week, and will require keen familiarity with the website Jezebel.com, lots of research and various administrative duties. You do not need to be in the NYC or enrolled in college, although both are preferred.
Send applications to anna [at] jezebel dot com by February 28 and include 1-2 paragraphs as to why you’d like to work on the project, what the site means to you, and a little bit about your educational and work background. *No attachments*.