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Epic Women of History

Happy Monday!  Being this Monday March 25th 2013, means a few things.

  • Folks with a 9-5 are back to work
  •  Epic Rap Battles of History released a new video
  •  Josie posted her ‘new’ monday blog

Missed the announcement?  Now that I met my 50 posts in 50 days, I’m on to a more manageable blogging schedule, in other words at least a weekly post each monday.
Something else special about this monday is that it is the last monday in March.  What is so special about March?  It is Women’s History Month!
Each year there is a different theme to this monthlong celebration, this year was ‘Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.’  The month is tied to the National Women’s History Project.  Their mission is to

“recognize and celebrate the diverse and historic accomplishments of women by providing information and educational materials and programs.”

All of these Monday factors equated to a thought bubble.  Strong Historical Women + Blogging + ERB = Epic Women of History.
For those not familiar with Epic Rap Battles of History (ERB), it is a YouTube web series created by Nice Peter and EpicLloyd.  That second guy, well he is my husband.  Now that you have context, a disclaimer.  This post is not necessarily supported, endorsed or promoted by the series.  These are my own ramblings and reflections.
Women’s history month is a time when many educational institutions and local communities offer education, programming and events centered around women’s empowerment.  I was naturally drawn to become involved in these efforts at each campus I have worked.  As noted in my ‘becoming like my mother‘ post, I have sprinkling of a feminist.  Girl Power.  Women United.  I love the song by Beyonce below.

In addition to figures like Beyonce, strong, powerful and inspirational women can be found embedded throughout history.  Need some reminders?  Here are a few sites to jog your memory.
https://www.infoplease.com/world/statistics/most-powerful-women.html
https://www.infoplease.com/world/statistics/most-powerful-women.html
https://www.womeninworldhistory.com/rulers.html
https://www.biography.com/people/groups/famous-female-leaders/all
As a woman, I look at the rap battles a little differently.  Critically?  Possibly.  I found myself wanting to be involved in the writing of the Adam vs Eve battle.  Basically at the heart of that battle was men against women.  I was worried what image they would portray Eve.  Setting her up to fail.  Make her look dumb.  I felt responsible to look out for ‘women.’
Don’t get me wrong, all the writers of ERB are fantastic people.  The writers room has both men and women.  Far from womanizers or intentionally degregating women.  But let’s be honest.  This is a battle.  An argument.  Low blows and crude remarks are part of the DNA whether it is a male, female, child or robot.  I had to remind myself of this.  Fair game.  Eve could handle it.
Well she did.  She did so well that the video got flagged.  In YouTuber land, this means that you must have an account and be a certain age to watch it.  I have included the video below.  Disclaimer: it was flagged for a reason.  Have fun watching it, but it does have some ‘earmuffs’  language.

This was not the first video a woman has ‘battled’.  This summer they released Cleopatra Vs. Marilyn Monroe.  I was so surprised when Lloyd told me the concept they were working on.  Not only would neither of the guys (Lloyd & Pete) be in it, but they would feature two women battling against each other.  While this one did not get flagged, these ladies didn’t hold back.
As a good researcher, I dug into the comments of this video and compared it to others.  I noticed two things on this particular vid:

  • A.  There were significantly more requests to see women in more battles
  • B.  More suggestions that included historical women

Just because a woman is selected in a battle, doesn’t necessarily mean that Pete or Lloyd can’t play them.  As seen in the very first season, Lady Gaga vs. Sarah Palin, Pete plays Gaga.

So I am curious.  What do you think?  Should historical women be in battles?  Writing for the next battle starts tomorrow.  Brainstorming for next season is ongoing.  They seriously do look at your suggestions.  Even on writing days or when they have scrapped an entire concept to start over.  That is how the series started and will continue to exist.
I ask because here is where I feel a little torn.
The battles are meant to be both historically accurate and well, a legitimate rap battle.  Low blows, fight-like, digging up dirt.  Would you really want to see some of the most elegant and distinguished woman drug through the mud?  I prefer to keep Michelle Obama, Princess Diana  and Eleanor Roosevelt at a higher esteem.  But does that mean then that we pick women who ‘deserve’ to be battled?  Is that why Sarah Palin and Gaga were chosen?
On the other hand, I know a battle with Rosa Parks, Hilary Clinton or Beyonce would be amazing to watch.  These women could definitely do some lyrical damage.  Of course they can hold their own!  Why not let the world learn how rocking these chicks can be.
So, could having more women in rap battles pay homage to the mission of Women’s History Month?  To “recognize and celebrate the diverse and historic accomplishments of women…”
For me, I settle on the quote below which brings together battling, writing and women into one.

“There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is a pen.  There is a great competition and rivarly between the two.  There is a third power stronger than both, that of the women.” -Author Unknown

About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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