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Move over, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Cinderella! Rejected Princesses likely to find place in Disney Movies

Rejected Princesses is incredibly popular, with nearly 200,000 followers.

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Hatshepsut, the second female pharaoh of ancient Egypt, as drawn by animator Jason Porath for his book, Rejected Princesses. VOA
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Move over, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Cinderella!

Movie animator Jason Porath got tired of seeing the same fairy tale-princess type of character over and over on the big screen– beautiful, kind and lucky. His quest to find notable women outside that traditional mold led to a blog he calls Rejected Princesses. It is incredibly popular, with nearly 200,000 followers. Now, he’s collected stories about dozens of those extraordinary women who defined for themselves what it means to be a strong woman in a new book.

The Wrestling Princess

Once upon a time—more precisely in 1260 — a girl was born in Mongolia. She was the great granddaughter of the Mongol emperor Genghis Khan. Her name was Khutulun, and she became known as the Wrestling Princess.

Khutulun grew up with fourteen brothers and seemingly learned from an early age how to confront and beat them.

Khutulun grew up with fourteen brothers and seemingly learned from an early age how to confront and beat them.

“Khutulun had a single rule,” Porath explains. “This rule was simple and clear: if you wanted to marry her, you had to beat her in wrestling, but if you lost, you had to give her a hundred horses. She ended up unmarried with 10 thousand horses.”

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Khutulun is one of the women Porath includes in his book, Rejected Princesses: Tales of History’s Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics. He notes that her story has been told and re-told — and changed — throughout the years. “[Puccini’s] opera Turandot is loosely based on her, but instead of wrestling, she’s outwitting people in games of wit and chance. She shows up in the Netflix series Marco Polo, but she’s immediately roped into this Romeo and Juliet-style thing where she immediately falls in love, which is completely against her character and her history. She was a big, hefty wrestler woman in real life, but in the Marco Polo series, she’s thin.”

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Real Women

Khutulun exemplifies Porath’s vision for his blog and his book. From the very beginning, he says he wanted to meet these women where they were, without trying to make them look cuter or wiser or kinder.

“I’m trying to portray people in a more well-rounded manner, where they have actual character flaws as opposed to what you see in animated movies where the biggest flaw you could put on someone is maybe that they’re clumsy.”

Rejected Princesses, by Jason Porath, grew from his blog about amazing women in history.

Rejected Princesses, by Jason Porath, grew from his blog about amazing women in history.

Ada Lovelace, the 19th century English mathematician, had actual character flaws. “You only hear she was an amazing woman who invented computers before they existed, which is definitely true,” he notes. “She’s a first-class intellect super genius. But she also had a lot of downsides. She had a gambling problem. Same with Josephine Baker. She was the world’s biggest mega star, but she also kind of ended up hurting a lot of people. She had an enormously tough childhood. All these people were very complex, fleshed-out human beings. They are not presented as such in history books.”

The women in Porath’s book come from different times and different cultures. While some are mythological, most are historical figures: the 12th century spy queen of the Yoruba, Moremi Ajasoro, who married the leader of the tribe to help her village… deaf American scientist Annie Jump Cannon, who revolutionized astronomy in the 19th century… Phoolan Devi, India’s resilient “Bandit Queen,” who later was elected to the lower house of Parliament.

Women Warriors

Many of these women became icons because of the role they played in defending their countries. Josefina Guerrero became a spy for the Philippines resistance against the Japanese occupation during World War II. In the 17th century, Nzinga Mbande defended Ndono, now Angola, against the Portuguese occupation.

In a meeting with the Portuguese governor, when he had a chair and she did not, Nzinga Mbande had one of her assistants serve as a chair for her, to establish her equality with the Portuguese crown.

In a meeting with the Portuguese governor, when he had a chair and she did not, Nzinga Mbande had one of her assistants serve as a chair for her, to establish her equality with the Portuguese crown.

“She went off into the jungle for forty years where she conquered a tribe of cannibals and became the utterly ruthless ruthless warrior and disturbed the lines of trades and killed Portuguese people for about four decades until the Portuguese were like,’You can have it! We’re leaving your country, it’s yours!'” Porath says of Nzinga. “She’s celebrated all over Angola to this day. Tracking down what’s factual about that story is really difficult. There was a lot of propaganda that was put forward by the Europeans. Some of those (stories) actually were put forward by Nzinga herself because she wanted to be feared.”

Women Rule

The book covers also introduces women who ruled empires, like Empress Myeongseong of Korea in the 19th century, and Wu Zetian, China’s only female emperor who lived and ruled in the 8th century. Centuries before that, around 1478 BCE, Hatshepsut came to the throne of Egypt, the second woman to become Pharoah.

“She reigned for basically 22 years by herself and it was a golden age, with a boom in architecture and art. She engaged in a trip to a land called Punt, which historians believe is Ethiopia. To Egyptians of that time, that was like going to the moon. It was a tremendous achievement. After she died, the following pharaohs systematically tried to remove her name from pretty much everything. But she had made such an enormous quantity of stuff that despite of generations-long attempts to erase her from history, almost every single major museum in the world has a number of artifacts from her reign.”

Jason Porath continues to search for exceptional women for his blog and says there’s no problem finding them. (VOA)

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Let’s Celebrate Father’s Day With Most famous Founding Fathers

Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan.

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Founding Fathers, left to right, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson revise the Declaration of Independence. (Painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris)
Founding Fathers, left to right, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson revise the Declaration of Independence. (Painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris), VOA

In the United States on the third Sunday of June we celebrate Father’s Day! So, today we celebrate fathers with some expressions that use the word “father” and “dad.”

Let’s begin with a great father idiom!

Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan.

An orphan is a child whose parents have died. Without parents, orphans can often feel alone in the world. There is no adult to claim them, so to speak.

We can say the same about failures. Often people, do not want to claim them as their own. People may not want to take ownership, for example, of a project at work that is a complete bust — you know, a failure.

On the other hand, it is not uncommon for people to fight over ownership of a big success. They always want to be on the right side of history.

“It was my idea!” “No, it wasn’t. I thought of it ages ago.” “Well, I did most of the work!”

You get the idea.

So, this idiom means that people like belonging to a successful cause but they distance themselves from a failed one.

Father and son
Father and son, Pixabay

Here’s how you can use it.

Let’s say a new business opens in your community. Everyone is excited about it! Some even invest money. It is the talk of the town. Then, it fails. People who once supported it don’t seem to remember supporting it.

When those people say to you, “Oh, I knew it would fail. It was doomed from the very beginning.” You can say to them, “Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan.”

Now, you could say that creating the United States of America was a success. And there is a group of men who are famous for being on the right side of history.

We call them the Founding Fathers.

We capitalize these two words when we are talking about any member of the group who wrote the United States Constitution in 1787. Some of the most famous Founding Fathers are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.

However, following the success of the musical Hamilton, perhaps Alexander Hamilton has temporarily won the title of “most famous” Founding Father.

But Founding Fathers aren’t just found in history books and on the Broadway stage. We also use this term in other situations.

A founding father is a person who starts or develops a new movement, idea or some other big concept. Used this way, however, we do not capitalize “founding father.”

The Founding Fathers of the U.S. are highly respected and admired by most people. Our next type of father isn’t.

Not all dads are the greatest. In fact, some leave their families and provide no money to help to raise their children. We have a special name for these dads – deadbeat dads.

Also read: Raazi Director Meghna Shares Her Feelings On Working With Father Gulzar

Just for the record, some moms do this, too. But we’ll have to cover that term next Mother’s Day! (VOA)