Lagniappe: 5 Ladies Who Told Amazing Stories in October
Lagniappe* is a series on the Camelback Blog through which team members share curated lists of thought-provoking content related to our mission.
As Camelback’s Creative Director, I craft different ways to tell our story and the stories of our Fellows, whether it’s through something as seemingly innocuous as a business card or a more traditional narrative medium like a video. Stories have the power to share big ideas wrapped up in a delightful format (in effect, stories are the food equivalent of dumplings). I’m especially hyped this month because, not only has 2016 already been a banner year for women (Hillary! Ali Wong’s Netflix comedy special! Beyonce’s Lemonade!), but October, in particular, has offered a slew of examples of great storytelling by ladies. It was tough to pick just five to highlight, but here’s my countdown — 5 stories written by women about women telling great stories.
5. Aisholpan, Bad-Ass Eagle Huntress
Normally, I would try to focus on highlighting American female barrier breakers, but this is too cool not to talk about. The Eagle Huntress is a documentary that follows the journey of Aisholpan, a 13-year old girl in Mongolia who trains to become an eagle huntress - the only female in 2,000 years (!) to do so. Aisholpan shares her bravery and tenacity for a local festival, and soon the whole world, to see. In this clip, Aisholpan paints her younger sister’s nails sparkly pink - WHILE HER GIANT GOLDEN EAGLE SITS NEXT TO HER - as she says, “No other girls will be there. Just me. Mostly older men.” The movie hits select theaters this week (with hopefully a wider release soon), and is narrated by none other than Daisy Ridley, the awe-inspiring heroine of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Check out the trailer and read: “Teenage 'Eagle Huntress' Overturns 2,000 Years Of Male Tradition” by Barbara J. King in NPR
4. Comic Book Ladies - Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, Jessica Jones, and Ariell Johnson
October 2016 is busting through decades of a boys-only club pattern of the comic book world. This past week, an international trailer dropped for the new Wonder Woman movie (which, while in Russian, is still exciting). Wonder Woman is the first $100 million blockbuster to be directed by a woman—ever, and also the first of its kind to have a female superhero at the helm. This is a big deal because when it comes to Hollywood, superhero movies are the golden ticket (for reference, Captain America: Civil War 2 is the highest grossing film of 2016 with 1.132 billion USD...?!?!). In a surprising (and somewhat controversial moment) this month, the United Nations named the character of Wonder Woman as a global ambassador. In related news: the Netflix series Marvel’s Jessica Jones (whose title protagonist is a sexual assault survivor) will hire only female directors for its second season; the first Black woman to own a comic shop in America, Ariell Johnson, is going to be featured on the cover of an upcoming Invincible Iron Man issue.
Read: “Why Wonder Woman is not the Problem When it Comes to Sexism at the United Nations” by Teresa Jusino at The Mary Sue
3. Molly Schiot with her book, Game Changers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History
This book was released earlier this month, and is an inspiring piece of photojournalism. Schiot shares her own experiences as an athlete and chronicles the fascinating, untold stories of others like her. There is a spread of Katherine Switzer, the first woman to run in the Boston Marathon, as she fights with male runners that try to tackle her as they realize there’s a woman in their midst. The author also highlights a group of “black golfers in the Wake-Robin Gulf Club who fought to desegregate the sport in Washington in the 1930s.” Janet Guthrie, the first woman to compete in the Indy 500, is quoted succinctly, “[Without recognition,] women lose their history. They do these extraordinary things, and then they are forgotten and denied ever to have existed, so women keep on reinventing the wheel.”
Read: “Too Good to Be Ignored: Women Who Reached the Top in Sports” by Melena Ryzik in The New York Times
Solange’s album, A Seat at the Table, is objectively impressive, from both a musical and socio-cultural analysis. A Seat at the Table is a narrative record that does not shy away from the stories it wants to tell. The album soared to the top of American charts, and Twitter was afire with quotes of lyrics like, “Don’t touch my pride/They say the glory’s all mine/Don’t test my mouth/They say the truth is my sound.” This Pitchfork review described, “A Seat at the Table’s nature is beneficent, but at its spiritual core it is an ode to black women and their healing and sustenance.” As a bonus, this album also skyrocketed Solange and Beyoncé into an elite crew of siblings who reached Number 1 on the Billboard Charts.
Read: “Review: Solange, A Seat at the Table” by Julieanne Escobedo Shepard in Pitchfork
1. Michelle Obama
I feel honored just getting to hear so many incredible speeches from the First Lady over the last few months. Whether it’s stealing the show at the DNC or hyping up fellow First Lady Hillary Clinton on her presidential campaign, Michelle has been sharing absurdly powerful narratives. (I found it surprisingly easy to simultaneously fist pump cheer and cry through all of my feelings.) Most recently, she shared an incredibly moving retort to Donald Trump’s claims of “locker room banter.” Her words shared familiar feelings for women everywhere as she describes, “It’s like that sick, sinking feeling you get when you’re walking down the street minding your own business and some guy yells out vulgar words about your body, or when you see that guy at work that stands just a little too close, stares a little too long so you feel uncomfortable in your own skin.” Michelle for Prez, 2024. In the event that this is not an option, I would be willing to settle for a series of Pulitzer prize-winning inspirational self-help podcasts by Mrs. Obama in which she ends every segment with, “You got this.”
Read: “To the First Lady, With Love” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Gloria Steinem, Jon Meacham, and Rashida Jones in The New York Times
Amanda is Camelback's Creative Director.
*“Lagniappe” has come to mean “a little something extra after a transaction,” and is a word historically derived from the language melting pot of 1800s New Orleans. Mark Twain wrote in Life on the Mississippi (1883), “We picked up one excellent word, a word worth traveling to New Orleans to get; a nice limber, expressive, handy word-'lagniappe'.... It is Spanish-so they said."