Female Rebels and Mavericks

Audacious women who broke the rules: adventurers, radicals, heretics, freethinkers, and visionaries. Women who boldly stepped into all-male preserves, refusing the dictates of female silence, obedience, and passivity. Some of them passed as men to be able to fight in revolutions, practice medicine, or roam the world. Chinese marriage-resisters, free-lovers in the U.S., assorted lesbians, and Hindu avadhutis who disregarded the norms of female—or any—dress.

In this global spectrum of valiant and defiant women, we meet a heretical female pope, a renegade Buddhist nun, and the runaway Afghan bride who became a Sufi master; non-conformist singers of rebetika, boleros, and the blues; tattooed women, acrobats, martial artists; pirates and swashbucklers; doctors, philosophers, drummers, revolutionaries, cultural insurgents, fiery feminist orators, and social justice activists who spoke out against oppression and injustice of all kinds.

catalina de erauso


I went out of the convent;
I found myself on the street,
without knowing where to go;
that was no matter.
All I wanted was liberty
--Catalina Erausa (1585-1650) Basque adventurer

lucy colmna

Once engage in the dirty work of injuring one who does not believe in your creed, and the work grows apace; and worse than all else, such persons come to think they are really doing God a service for which they shall merit and obtain a high seat in heaven.
-- Lucy Colman (1818-1906) freethinker


A visual presentation by Max Dashu

90 minutes, with more time for discussion.
Requires digital projector, screen, mic.

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