4 Badass Women Writers We Need To Talk About
Women are incredible.
Time and time again they’ve proved that they can accomplish the same shit men can, even if life has dealt them a worse hand compared to their male counterparts.
I feel, however, unless it’s J.K. Rowling, women in writing aren’t talked about or celebrated enough. It’s about time we change that.
Here are 4 badass women in writing you should know about.
Phillis Wheatley (1753–1784)
Wheatley was born in West Africa and sold into slavery at a young age of 7.
The Wheatley family who purchased Phillis recognised her intelligence and literary talent and allowed her to focus on studies rather than household duties. Phillis eventually went on to become the first published African-American female poet.
Even George Washington praised Wheatley’s work and met with her. She was freed following the publication of her first book.
Besides writing poetry, Wheatley also corresponded with other writers, articulating her views on political matters and arguing for the freedom of all people. Though she died in poverty at only thirty-one years old, Wheatley certainly left her mark on the world of literature.
Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888)
Best known for her book Little Women, Alcott was an American writer, abolitionist, and feminist.
She advocated for women’s suffrage, and was the first woman registered to vote in Concord, MA. She also served as a Union nurse in the Civil War until contracting typhoid and was an advocate for running as an exercise since societal norms frowned on women engaging in such a physical activity.
Little women, since publishing, has never been out of print. It’s reported that approximately 1,000 copies are sold every month. That means around 1.78 million copies have been sold over 149 years.
Upon her death, Alcott was buried in Sleepy Hollow cemetery alongside Emerson, Hawthorne, and Thoreau, in a spot known as “Author’s Ridge.”
Edith Wharton (1862–1937)
Edith was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature (1921).
Though born into wealth, Wharton eschewed the fashion and expected etiquette of her time and instead pursued education and writing.
Wharton traveled extensively, crossing the Atlantic Ocean over sixty times and writing about her travels. Wharton lived in Paris when World War I broke out, and instead of leaving, she remained and opened a workroom for women where she fed and paid them for their sewing. She traveled to the front lines numerous times and supported refugees, the unemployed, and those injured in the war.
Though her first novel wasn’t published until she was forty years old, Wharton ultimately wrote and published fifteen novels and novellas, eighty-five short stories, poetry, books on travel, design, cultural and literary criticism, and a memoir.
Nellie Bly (1864–1922)
Nellie is an American journalist best known for feigning mental illness to get an undercover look inside one of New York’s most notorious insane asylums.
Despite not being able to finish school due to her family’s financial crisis, Nellie nabbed her first job as a columnist by penning a smart letter to the editor of the Pittsburgh Dispatch about the paper’s not-so-great representation of women. The editor printed her letter and offered her a job.
Even after dropping her “crazy” act, the insane asylum would not release Bly, and the newspaper had to send an attorney to get her out.
She then wrote a series of chilling articles about how terribly the patients were treated. These were later made into the book Ten Days in a Mad-House. The book launched Bly’s career and kicked off the practice of what we now call investigative journalism.
Bly also took a trip around the world in seventy-two days, which made her a world record holder for a few months. She married a millionaire and when he passed away, Bly inherited control of his manufacturing company. She went on to patent several inventions of her own. Bly also returned to journalism in her later years, covering important topics like the women’s suffrage movement and World War I.
These women took the molds of society and smashed them into smithereens, paving the way for young girls to pursue writing and literature and beyond.
It’s sad to see how we have forgotten about them over the years. It’s time to put some respect on their names.
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