HALLIE EPHRON: TIME OUT for an update from yesterday: This is from Darlene Ryan, her "own little Matt Lauer because I don't think I'm going to meet the real one who is my not-so-secret crush." Is this adorable or what??
Vicki Leon is just out with a new book in her Uppity Women series. This one: "4000 Years of Uppity Women." It starts in ancient times, telling anecdotes about women who "rocked as many cradles as the other gals, but they've rocked a lot of boats as well."
Besides well known Cleopatra and Jezebel, she spotlights Korinna (Greece, 500 BC) who beat a man five times in a poetry competition; Margery Russell (England, 1300) who ran her late husband's import export business and stood up to Spanish pirates; and Queen Aahotep of ancient Egypt, so renowned for her battle skills she was buried with a ceremonial battle ax.
It's a feathery fun read, and it got me thinking about my favorite women, famous and not so famous, who excel in uppityness -- present company excluded, of course.
For sheer chutzpah and nerve, I'd nominate my dear friend Barbara for the way she fearlessly marches into stores and returns purchases. Did you know that at one time, Sears tools and GAP clothing could be returned at ANY point if they wore out?
I'd nominate my mother--when she started to write with my father (they co-authored plays and movies) she insisted that her name come first.
Looking at today's famous women, for sheer uppityness and boat rocking, here's ten whom I'd nominate for the Contemporary Uppity Women's Hall of Fame:
Dr. Susan Love
Kara Walker (her art to the left)
Nominations, anyone? Famous and not...
JAN BROGAN: Well, you forgot Madonna - can there be a more uppity woman? And I always loved the idea that Golda Meir kicked butt against Arab countries that liked to keep their women subservient.
And more recently -- the Daughters of St. Paul, who said enough was enough and sued the Boston Diocese (which had to spend so much its money paying for the sins of all its pedophile priests) for control of their own retirement funds. The nuns reached a nice settlement. WAY TO GO NUNS!
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Sue Grafton, for many reasons of course, including that she won't sell Kinsey Milhone to the movies. And Sara Paretsky. And how about Annette Bening? I dunno, she just seems kind of great to me. Got to have Rosa Parks. Tina Turner. Geraldine Ferraro. OH, definitely, Myra Kraft, who hung out with her husbands football team and showed them how to open their hearts.
ROSEMARY HARRIS: What a coincidence...I just got a copy of Uppity Women of Medieval Times. And right now (okay..not RIGHT now) I'm reading Catherine the Great by Robert Massie. Now THAT was an Uppity Woman. Fourteen years old, journeys to Russia, meets the idiot bridegroom, assesses the situation, bides her time, takes a few lovers and husband conveniently dies so she becomes Empress of all the Russias. Uppity.
More recently - and on a somewhat smaller scale - the first UW that leaps to mind is Kathryn Bigelow who won an Oscar for The Hurt Locker. That she beat her ex-husband for the honor must have been a nice little bonus.
LUCY BURDETTE: Gloria Steinem of course. Elinor Lipman (not only a wonderful novelist, but have you seen the poems she's writing on facebook?). Former Texas Governor Kay Richards. How about Sandra Day O'Connor, and Ruth Ginsberg and Sonya Sotomayer, and Elena Kagan--I think sitting on the Supreme Court (not to mention getting there) takes an enormous reserve of guts.
RHYS BOWEN: Did we leave out Hilary Clinton? Tina Fey? Margaret Thatcher? And one of the most assertive, but not uppity, was Mother Theresa. I saw a documentary in which she got everything she wanted in her calm, dignified manner, staring down men twice her size.
HALLIE: So, Jungle Red Readers, let's hear it -- your nominations to the Contemporary Uppity Women's Hall of Fame?