history of


What Our Obsession with Tragic, Beautiful, Mentally Ill Women Says About Us

Since the Victorian days—where "hysterics" confined in institutions were forced to dress and act like Ophelia—mental illness in women has wrongly been framed as something beautiful and unknowable.
Bethy Squires

The Misogynistic History of Trying to Understand Women Who Self-Harm

For centuries, women and men alike have been engaging in acts of self-harm, but our understanding of the behavior has long been limited by sexist stereotypes.
Rachel Vorona Cote

The Long, Strange History of Women Wearing Deadly Clothing

In myths and fairytales, women poisoned their rivals with gaudy accessories; in the 19th century, they unknowingly wore dresses dyed with arsenic. The specific dangers may have changed, but one thing remains the same: an obsession with the link between...
Rosalind Jana

Doctors Created Vibrators After Growing Tired of Masturbating 'Hysterical' Women

One hundred years ago, the vibrator was invented to relieve doctors, whose fingers were frequently cramped from treating "hysteria" in female patients. Afterwards, it became a popular household appliance to help women get off on their own.
Bethy Squires

Why Reality Stars Are So Obsessed with Throwing Drinks on Each Other

The wine-hurling Real Housewives of today come from a long tradition: Since the early 1900s, women in film have been angrily tossing drinks on their rivals and nemeses.
Elizabeth King

The Weird World of People Pretending to Be Doctors and Getting Away with It

It's called 'prestige fraud', and it's terrifying.
Katherine Gillespie

The Titillating Rise of Nipple Piercings

Long before Kylie Jenner betwitched her Instagram followers with her pierced nipple selfie, women through the ages were pricking and adorning their "little apples of paradise" in acts of rebellion and pleasure.
Amanda Arnold

No Rights, No Sex: The Powerful History of Women Going on Strike

Poland's "Black Monday" strikes are just the latest in a long line of women showing their value by temporarily refusing to participate in a society that takes them for granted.
Nandita Raghuram

A History of Radical Thinking: How Women Created Book Clubs

From illicit Bible studies to Revolution-era French salons, antebellum black women's reading groups to Oprah's Book Club, women have been gathering to discuss literature—and fight the status quo—for centuries.
Kristin Hunt

Just the Clip: All the Things Women Have Put in Their Hair

From "hair rats" to butterfly clips, golden diadems to Afro picks, you could say women's hair accessories have always been our crowning glory.
Amanda Arnold

Forbidden Fruit: Why Cherries Are So Sexual

From erotic poetry to 19th-century romantic painting, "Cherry Pie" to kitschy underwear, the stone fruit has been a sexual symbol for centuries.
Amanda Arnold

Lip-Smackeringly Good: Why Women Crave Junk Food Beauty Products

From Jolly Rancher nail polish to Burger King perfume, fast food cosmetics have been around for decades, but today they reveal our true hunger for simpler times—and the comfort of a cheap sugar high.
Lilian Min