Former DreamWorks effects animator Jason Porath created Rejected Princesses, a website that features generally bad ass women throughout history that were just too interesting to have their own Disney movie. These heroins have power, and agency, unlike the popular princesses. Princesses today often don’t complete anything by themselves. They always need help from a lover or sidekick.
Originally posted on ViralWomen.
Hester Stanhope: The Desert Queen (1776- 1839)
“100 years before Lawrence of Arabia, Lady Hester Stanhope abandoned her fancy life in Britain to travel around the Middle East by herself, adopting local customs and making it her home. She survived shipwrecks, plagues, Bedouin attacks, and developed a reputation so great that the Sultan himself couldn’t say no to her. And she did so while giving zero fucks.”
Ranavalona I: The Female Caligula (1778-1861)
“The west called her The Female Caligula, but if half what they said is true, he was more a male Ranavalona. This famously cruel ruler of Madagascar ostensibly killed between 30-50% of the entire population during her reign via unspeakable means — yet simultaneously, she kept her country independent, repeatedly defeated the combined forces of the English and French, and instigated one of the first industrial revolutions seen outside of Europe. She, uh, also tried making a giant pair of scissors to chop invaders in half. Unequal parts conqueror, protector, and lunatic, she was, at the very least, not boring.”
Naziq al-Abid: The Syrian Joan of Arc (1898-1959)
“Naziq al-Abid had one of the best resumes ever: spoke five languages, started the Syrian Red Crescent (and half a dozen other organizations), first female general in Syrian history, and possibly held the world record for greatest number of times sent into exile. For what, you ask? Well, you’ll just have to read on to find out.”
Gudit: Princess of Beta Israel (920S?-980S?)
“This week we visit one of the most complex figures ever represented here: Gudit, a Jewish Ethiopian queen, hero to some and villain to others, who took over the country and dramatically ended a millennium-old dynasty dating back to King Solomon. Or… she didn’t. This story zigged and zagged in unexpected directions on me during the research — so let’s go tumble down a rabbit hole together, shall we?”
Hypatia: The Martyr Mathematician (350~370?-415 CE)
“There are few women whose legacies have been more of a political football than Hypatia of Alexandria. She was not only possibly the last scientist with access to the books of the Library of Alexandria, but the first female mathematician in recorded history. She also was an expert astronomer, philosopher, physicist, and overachiever. Unfortunately, Hypatia was killed by a mob of Christian zealots in particularly grisly fashion, turning her life story into a point of contention for centuries to come. Let’s try and unwind this gordian knot after the cut.”
Boudica: The Headhunter Queen (20S?-60 CE)
“At the height of its power, Rome once seriously considered giving up its British holdings entirely. The reason? Queen Boudica, whose brutal revenge spree made her the Roman bogeyman for generations. She killed 70,000 people, burnt London to the ground, established herself as the most famous headhunter of all time – and to this day, Britain loves her for it.”
La Jaguarina: Queen of the Sword (1859 OR 1864-?)
“In April 1896, hardened military veteran US Sergeant Charles Walsh, in front of a crowd of 4,000 onlookers, turned tail and ran. Mere minutes earlier, during a round of equestrian fencing, he’d been hit so hard he’d been nearly knocked off his horse – so hard that his opponent’s sword was permanently bent backwards in a U shape. In response, Walsh did the honorable thing: jumped from his horse, claimed that the judge was cheating, and fled the scene, to the jeers of the massive crowd.
His opponent? A woman known as La Jaguarina, Queen of the Sword – an undefeated sword master who later retired only because she ran out of people to fight. Had she born 25 years later, according to the US Fencing Fall of Fame, she might be recognized as “the world’s first great woman fencer.””
Ching Shih: Princess of the Chinese Seas (1775-1844)
“In 1809, the Chinese government sprang a trap. They were gunning for a group who’d taken control of its southern waters, the Red Flag pirate fleet. Blockading them in a bay, the authorities laid siege to the pirates for three straight weeks with an overwhelming amount of firepower. In the end, the Red Flags strode out through a graveyard of government ships, largely unscathed. At the head of the Red Flags stood one of the most fearsome pirates in history — Ching Shih, a former prostitute turned leader of over 70,000 men. More on her asskicking adventures after the cut.”
Etain: The Shining One
“This week I’ve got an offbeat one for you all. For your consideration I present Étaín, heroine of Irish mythology, who: spent her life being shunted around a ludicrous number of suitors; was transformed at various points into a worm, a butterfly, a swan, and a pool of water; and induced one of the strangest pregnancies since Jesus. Onward!”
Noor Inayat Khan: The Spy Princess (1914-1944)
“This week, we meet Noor Inayat Khan, one of the bravest women to ever live. She was a British secret agent during World War 2, working as a radio operator in occupied Paris. In fact, working as the ONLY radio operator in occupied Paris. The average lifespan for that job was 6 weeks, and she lasted almost 5 months. She escaped the Gestapo numerous times, and went out fighting. All this, even though everything about her work went against her basic pacifist nature. Read on for more about this phenomenal human being.”
Shajar al-Durr: The Ransom Expert (1220S?-1257)
“I’ve been dying to do this entry for a while now. Introducing Shajar-al-Durr, who: was a Muslim sultan that ruled in her own name; stopped the Seventh Crusade dead in its tracks; captured one of the most powerful monarchs in the world; and ransomed him back to his own freakin’ country.”
Osh-Tisch: Princess of Two Spirits (1854-1929)
“This week we focus on Osh-Tisch, whose name translates to “Finds Them and Kills Them” in Crow. Osh-Tisch was a biologically male-sexed woman, and was one of the last Crow Nation baté (Two Spirit spiritual leaders) – oh, and you can be sure, she earned her name.
She is also far from the only awesome lady in this story