Tag Archives: scarlett grant

Not Just Black & White: Dido Elizabeth Belle

In the halls of Kenwood House, a mysterious portrait has fascinated art scholars for hundreds of years. On paper the story seems generic. The Earl and Countess of Mansfield commissioned it, and it portrays their two nieces, Dido Elizabeth Belle and Elizabeth Murray. It’s only when you look at the portrait you see the story, in particular that of the woman on the left, Dido. Dido had an unusual circumstance, she was a mixed-race noblewoman in 18th Century England. More crucially, this portrait depicts both Dido and Elizabeth in equal stature, at a time when any non-white subjects was portrayed in a subservient (if not outright racist) position. This portrait is a main plot device in Amma Asante’s 2013 film Belle, chronicling the story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, and her unique social position. Continue reading Not Just Black & White: Dido Elizabeth Belle


The Remarkable Mary Seacole

Alongside Florence Nightingale, known as the “Lady with the Lamp,” was another woman who improved the desperate conditions of soldiers in the Crimean War—Mary Seacole. For this edition of Femnista, I hope to show the racial prejudices, personal, and financial struggles this remarkable woman faced in caring for her fellow human beings. Continue reading The Remarkable Mary Seacole

Busting Through Time


Nearly every single film, novel, or television show which features time travel always discusses the importance of maintaining the “space-time continuum” as it is often referred to. In Back To The Future (1985), Marty McFly saw his siblings, and himself disappear due to his unintentional meddling. But what if there was a film series where these annoying implications didn’t occur? May I present Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989). Continue reading Busting Through Time

The Elephant Man


“I am not an elephant! I am not an animal! I am a human being! I am a man!” these are the words proclaimed by John Hurt in the 1980 David Lynch classic The Elephant Man. Hurt plays Joseph Merrick, the titular Elephant Man. But who was Joseph Merrick, and what does his treatment say about care for the disabled in Victorian Britain? Continue reading The Elephant Man

Tinsel Town Trailblazer: Anna May Wong


Representation in film is, and will always be, a topic of debate. There has been improvements, for example with last year’s Hidden Figures (2016), but also setbacks, like the controversial casting of Scarlett Johansson in Ghost In The Shell (2017). Long before in the Golden Era of Hollywood, one woman decided to create positive representation—Anna May Wong. Continue reading Tinsel Town Trailblazer: Anna May Wong

Annie Oakley – Not Just A Little Sure Shot


As a British person, I was only made aware of Annie Oakley through the 1950 film musical Annie Get Your Gun starring Betty Hutton. The film has many inaccuracies (the most negligible being it shows Annie as a short-haired blonde, in spite of multiple images showing she was a long-haired brunette), but is the story of a young girl who grew up with nothing and became a star in her own right. Continue reading Annie Oakley – Not Just A Little Sure Shot

Calamity Jane


American culture immortalized Calamity Jane. Portrayed by Doris Day in the 1953 musical film as a pretty, petite blonde, she starts out as a frontier hero wearing men’s clothing. By the end she has become feminized and is in a relationship with Wild Bill Hickok. In the HBO Deadwood series (2004 – 2006) she is more accurately depicted by Robin Weigert. Dark-haired, drunk, and dirty, this is far more like how this frontier female would have been. Continue reading Calamity Jane

Wu Zetian: The Daughter of Heaven


The Chinese Imperial Monarchy was one of the longest lasting political systems in history. It began in 221 BC with Qin Shi Huang, the first ruler of a unified China. Almost two thousand years later, the rule under the “Son of Heaven” came to an end under Emperor Puyi in 1912 after the Xinhai Revolution. This led to the formation of a Republic. But in all those years there was only one woman who actually ruled as an Empress Regnant—Wu Zetian. Continue reading Wu Zetian: The Daughter of Heaven