Heather Marold Thomason, butcher and owner of Primal Supply Meats in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Photograph: Chris Crisman
A butcher, firefighter and pig farmer are some of the subjects in the latest project by the photographer Chris Crisman.
This series portrays women at work and focuses on occupations traditionally seen as male dominated.
Crisman’s children were part of the inspiration for Women’s Work – to show them that they could be anything they wanted to be, and to illustrate that gender should not define employment possibilities by Sarah Gilbert.
Firefighter Mindy Gabriel, from Upper Arlington, Ohio.
All Photographs: Chris Crisman.
Nancy Poli, a pig farmer at Stryker Farms, Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania
A traditional Native storyteller, Te Ata, also known as Mary Frances Thompson Fisher, was born in Emet, Chickasaw Nation, near Tishomingo, on December 3, 1895. Her parents were members of the Chickasaw Nation.
Her father, T. B. Thompson, the last treasurer of the Chickasaw Nation, operated stores in Tishomingo. Te Ata’s uncle, Douglas H. Johnston, was the last governor of the old Chickasaw Nation.
Mary Thompson attended Bloomfield Academy in the far southeast corner of Johnston County. Later she attended high school in Tishomingo, encountering “white” children for the first time.
In school at Tishomingo Te Ata found a role model in teacher Muriel Wright. Later attending Oklahoma College for Women (now the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma), in Chickasha, she acquired another mentor, Francis Densmore Davis, an active researcher and writer on Indian cultures.
Davis recognized the young woman’s talent for drama, and soon Mary began to use the name Te Ata, reflecting her Indian heritage.
Te Ata worked on a Chautauqua circuit managed out of St. Louis, and she began to develop her style of storytelling using various American Indian sources.
Her readings, storytelling, and dance were often accompanied by classical and other music played on piano. She eventually also used small drums, rattles, and other common, traditional instruments.
With Davis’s encouragement she attended Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, for one year. From Pittsburg she moved to New York City where she worked in theater and entertained the city’s social elite.
There Te Ata met Clyde Fisher, a naturalist and eventual curator of the Haden Planetarium, and they married in 1933.
In 1933 Te Ata performed for the first state dinner given by Pres. Franklin Roosevelt.
Many of her performances in the 1930s were at summer camps throughout New England and New York state.
In 1939 she performed again for the Roosevelts at their home in Hyde Park, New York, on the occasion of a state visit by the king and queen of Great Britain. Later,
Te Ata toured Europe, giving performances for royal families and heads of state. The Fishers traveled in South America and extensively in the United States, often observing Native ceremonies and learning different traditions.
Te Ata incorporated these experiences in performances later in her storytelling.
Andrea settling herself for the drive on Slinkin’ Leopard in the Mount Arapiles Rock Formation in Western Victoria
Image Credit: Simon Madden
by Simon Madden
Ten years as a gymnast made Andrea Hah strong and determined. Now, when she puts this kind of determination into rock climbing, she sets records.
From age eight, Andrea Hah trained with the Victorian Institute of Sport, ultimately doing 34 hours of gymnastics a week, only 20 hours of school classes and having supervised weigh-ins twice a day. Then, at just 16, it was all over.
Young ex-gymnasts are often branded as ‘burnt out’. Andrea refers instead to her “retirement” and speaks fondly about the institute’s staff who, knowing the importance of a new focus, helped her apply her skills to a new discipline.
She tried many things: aerial skiing, Cirque du Soleil, hurdling, trampolining, diving, yet none seized the young girl’s attention.
Until rock climbing.
In rock climbing, there is no one to answer to but yourself. There are no coaches’ frowns, no weigh-ins or skin folds.
“The best thing about climbing is that it is self-driven,” Andrea says, “I don’t have anyone to report to if I don’t perform. If I don’t want to train or participate in competitions, I don’t have to.”
Finding your place in the world is difficult and even the most cocksure feel like frauds sometimes.
Andrea would take some time to make this new world her own, but when she finally did, the results were spectacular.
Author Jeremy Clay tells the tale of the Victorian women who dealt with a violent man.
Let’s begin at the end, and go straight to the moral – don’t mess with the women of the Forest of Dean.
Cowering by a village pond, braced to be ducked by an angry mob, the wretch at the heart of this story learned that lesson the hard way.
It was a summer’s day in 1878 when life went awry for the Gloucestershire miller. He’d been summoned to appear before the magistrates in Coleford for neglecting to send his child to school.
By the time he got home, he was seething with rage, and took out his fury on his wife, vowing to do the same to his kid.
As the ugly commotion grew, a neighbour set off to alert the police, but help was closer at hand. News of the brutality had spread fast, and a makeshift army of women soon gathered at the wife-beater’s door.
When he spotted them, 40 strong and in no mood to knock, he bolted straight upstairs to hide. That might have been a better plan if he had a) a larger house or b) more in the way of furniture to lurk behind.
As it was, the villagers surged in and instantly found their quarry, ripping away half his clothes and dragging him outside.
“Then,” said the Gloucester Citizen, “in a manner unmentionable to ears polite, these Amazonian women administered the punishment so familiar to English boys, and in no respect less severe or mortifying in its character.”
A rabble’s thirst for DIY justice is rarely so readily quenched, though. Once they’d finished flogging him with whatever stopgap weapons were to hand, they frogmarched him to the millpond, with the collective urge to turn an old convention on its head. This time round, a crowd of women would duck a man.
At the water’s edge, the trembling miller fell to his knees and begged for mercy. He got it, too, after promising solemnly that he’d never raise a fist to his wife or child again.
But just to be on the safe side, he was drenched with a few buckets of water before being let free, shuffling off, in the words of the Cheltenham Chronicle, “a wetter and wiser man”.
Illustrated Police News image provided by The British Library Board.
In 1964, a woman who couldn’t sing, couldn’t dance and couldn’t act was nonetheless deemed qualified to host and perform in an Australian television variety program because she was, well, British.
A black-and-white clip of season one, episode one of Channel Seven’s satirical The Mavis Bramston Show features the eponymous Mavis, all bouffant hair and a song at the ready, being asked by an interviewer if she is looking forward to visiting Australia.
“Oh rather,” she exclaims, all plummy, “I hear it’s absolutely dinky. I simply adore that wide-open thing.
Of course, they have such lovely warm audiences.”
Playing this dried-up, obsequious British personality feted via Australia’s cultural cringe was comic actor Noeline Brown, who had actually grown up in working-class Stanmore in Sydney’s inner west.
The daughter of a staunch unionist who was absent for much of her childhood – he was away riding trains, delivering sacks of mail for Australia’s travelling post office – Brown and her two brothers were raised by a mother stricken with tuberculosis.
Brown would soon take off briefly, herself, to try her luck on the UK stage, being the only cast member not contracted to The Mavis Bramston Show, despite playing its namesake.
But she would find the attitude and the lack of good theatre roles no less sexist in Britain – one London dinner party luvvie claimed she was only pretending to be Australian.
So she returned, resuming a regular place in the Bramston hit, which presaged a healthy turnover of home-grown television comedies that thumbed noses at the cultural colonisers.
It was on a radio show called Chuck Chunder of the Space Patrol that she met the impressively moustachioed “double- and triple-denim” clad writer Tony Sattler, who was moved to reminisce years later:
“I first realised I was reasonably attracted to Noeline by a swelling in the pants, actually. And that’s generally a pretty good barometer of human feeling, I find.”
They married, and teamed up for the mid-1970s comedy sketch hit The Naked Vicar Show, and formed a lifelong friendship with Melbourne’s TV king the late Graham Kennedy, with Brown a permanent fixture on panel show Blankety Blanks, hosted by the anarchic Kennedy.
Noted Psychologist Revealed as Author of Best-Selling ‘Wonder Woman,’” read the astonishing headline.
In the summer of 1942, a press release from the New York offices of All-American Comics turned up at newspapers, magazines and radio stations all over the United States.
The identity of Wonder Woman’s creator had been “at first kept secret,” it said, but the time had come to make a shocking announcement: “the author of ‘Wonder Woman’ is Dr. William Moulton Marston, internationally famous psychologist.” The truth about Wonder Woman had come out at last.
Or so, at least, it was made to appear. But, really, the name of Wonder Woman’s creator was the least of her secrets.
Wonder Woman is the most popular female comic-book superhero of all time.
Aside from Superman and Batman, no other comic-book character has lasted as long.
Generations of girls have carried their sandwiches to school in Wonder Woman lunchboxes. Like every other superhero, Wonder Woman has a secret identity.
Unlike every other superhero, she also has a secret history.
In one episode, a newspaper editor named Brown, desperate to discover Wonder Woman’s past, assigns a team of reporters to chase her down; she easily escapes them. Brown, gone half mad, is committed to a hospital.
Wonder Woman disguises herself as a nurse and brings him a scroll. “This parchment seems to be the history of that girl you call ‘Wonder Woman’!” she tells him. “A strange, veiled woman left it with me.” Brown leaps out of bed and races back to the city desk, where he cries out, parchment in hand, “Stop the presses! I’ve got the history of Wonder Woman!”
But Wonder Woman’s secret history isn’t written on parchment.
Instead, it lies buried in boxes and cabinets and drawers, in thousands of documents, housed in libraries, archives and collections spread all over the United States, including the private papers of creator Marston—papers that, before I saw them, had never before been seen by anyone outside of Marston’s family.
The veil that has shrouded Wonder Woman’s past for seven decades hides beneath it a crucial story about comic books and superheroes and censorship and feminism.
As Marston once put it, “Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who, I believe, should rule the world.”