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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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Christine Ford Testifies Against Brett Kavanaugh; Decision Pending

If Kavanaugh is confirmed for the Supreme Court, the court will have a clear 5-4 conservative majority, which could be solidified for a generation or longer.

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Brett Kavanaugh
In this combination image of Reuters photos, Christine Blasey Ford, left, and Supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testify separately before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

It was a day of drama, tears and tempers in the U.S. Capitol on Thursday with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh angrily denying a charge of sexually assaulting Christine Blasey Ford at a party in 1982 when they were teenagers.

Both got the chance to tell their stories to the Senate Judiciary Committee during a nearly nine-hour-long hearing.

“I have never sexually assaulted anyone, not in high school, not in college, not ever,” Kavanaugh told the senators. “I have never done this to her or to anyone.”

Hours earlier, Ford told the panel she was “100 percent certain” it was a drunken Kavanaugh who pinned her down on a bed, groped her, tried to take off her clothes, and put his hand over her mouth to muffle her screams for help.

Kavanaugh told the senators he attended no such party. He accused Democrats of seeking to avenge Hillary Clinton’s election loss by mounting a calculated attack for political gain and engaging in grotesque character assassination.

Kavanaugh vowed he will not be intimidated into withdrawing.

The Judiciary Committee, with 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats, plan to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination Friday and, if approved, will send it to the entire Senate, which will begin procedural votes Saturday.

 

Brett Kavanaugh
In this photo combination, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

 

Late Thursday, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee announced he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. While, he said, it took courage for Ford to testify, there was no evidence to corroborate her allegations.

Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona said he is still weighing his vote after hearing Ford and Kavanaugh testify.

Asked how he will vote, Flake said, “Let me process it.”

 

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat from North Dakota, also said she needs time to decide how she will vote. She is running for re-election in a state that voted heavily for President Donald Trump.

Sen. Doug Jones, a first-term Democrat from Alabama, said he is voting no on Kavenaugh’s bid for the Supreme Court. “The Kavanaugh nomination process has been flawed from the beginning,” he said, adding that Ford was credible and courageous.

Brett Kavanaugh
In this photo combination, Christine Blasey Ford testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee. VOA

Ford’s testimony

Earlier in the day, Ford testified that she feared that Kavanaugh was “going to accidentally kill” her during the alleged incident in 1982.

She said what she remembers most was Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge’s “uproarious laughter” during the incident and “having fun at my expense.”

Democratic senators repeatedly praised Ford for her courage in coming forward.

A prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, questioned Ford on behalf of Senate Republicans. She asked Ford about timelines and peripheral issues and did not challenge her basic account of sexual assault. But Ford’s account lacked firm corroboration of her claims by others at the party.

Kavanaugh’s testimony

Kavanaugh was much angrier, strident and emotional.

He “unequivocally and categorically” denied the charges and cried as he spoke of how the ordeal has wrecked his family. He presented the senators with what he said were handwritten calendars from 1982 showing his activities and whereabouts. He says they did not include the party.

Kavanaugh said he welcomes whatever the investigation the committee wants, but would not directly answer whether he would approve an FBI probe.

Brett Kavanaugh
Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh gives his opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee. VOA

Admitting he loves drinking beer, he pointed to what he says was his outstanding academic record and dedication to high school sports and church.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley defended Kavanaugh and blamed Democrats for not disclosing the accusations earlier.

“As part of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, the FBI conducted its sixth full field background investigation of Judge Kavanaugh since 1993, 25 years ago. Nowhere in any of these six FBI reports … was there a whiff of any issue, any issue at all related to anyway inappropriate sexual behavior.”

But Democrats did not buy Kavanaugh’s self-portrayal of an angelic choir boy. Senator Patrick Leahy pointed to Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook page and its jokes about heavy drinking and sex.

Brett Kavanaugh
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., makes a point during a hearing with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee. VOA

Republican Senator Lindsay Graham lost his temper during his time to question Kavanaugh. He accused Democrats of an “unethical sham” and warning Republicans that if they vote not to confirm Kavanaugh, they would legitimize “the most despicable thing I’ve ever seen in my time in politics.”

Trump stands by his man

President Trump nominated Kavanaugh to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. He tweeted that the judge showed Americans exactly why he was chosen.

Trump’s tweet did not mention Ford.

No clear winner

Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, Ilya Shapiro, says it is unclear if anyone came out ahead after Thursday’s testimony.

Also Read: Video- USA Gears Up For Its Midterm Elections

“We’re at a dangerous point because if we have no more evidence and Kavanaugh’s rejected, that sets the precedent that accusations are enough to derail … and if he’s approved, then still there will be people who think that he’s a sexual assaulter or rapist and there he is sitting at the Supreme Court.”

If Kavanaugh is confirmed, the court will have a clear 5-4 conservative majority, which could be solidified for a generation or longer. (VOA)