Glowreel

The Amazons of Dahomey: The Fearless Female Fighters

Last week was a week! On the good news front: BIPOC women are making waves in the film and publishing industry. You know we've covered their stories!

On the bad news front: Texas. Need I say more? More on Texas in the Bitessection.

This Thursday marks R U OK? Day in Australia. So, in addition to reading this week's Glowreel, I encourage you to check in on yourself, your friends, your family, and ask "are you ok?"

On a related note - this week's community feature on Sandhya Ramautar is all about the cathartic nature art therapy. A really interesting read.

Let's get glowing!

-Shilpa

News To Know

Change Is Coming In The Publishing And Film Industries

Change Is Coming In The Publishing And Film Industries

It's been a big week for BIPOC women in the publishing and film industries.

In publishing: Megha Kapoor has been appointed as the new editor of Vogue India. A bit of a global citizen, Kapoor was born in Punjab, India, grew up in New Zealand and currently lives in Australia.

"What I am really excited about is the prospect to be a champion and foster the diverse, rich and talented wealth of talent emerging from India ... I want to showcase the beauty of the entire subcontinent with Sri Lanka, Nepal and the 36 million Indians who currently don’t live in India and have a similar experience to mine."

Kapoor's appointment follows the appointment of Margaret Zhang as editor of Vogue China earlier this year, and the appointment of Versha Sharma as editor of Teen Vogue.

Meanwhile, for BIPOC women in the film industry: Nia DaCosta's Candyman topped the box office during its release weekend. This makes DaCosta the first Black woman director to debut a movie in the No. 1 spot at the weekend box office.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was also released last week. Marvel's first Asian superhero film includes the trailblazing Asian women you know and love. Michelle Yeoh and Akwafina are proud to be paving the way for Asian representation on the big screen.

Glowreel Reco Of The Week

You need to make: this delicious Afghan feast by Sadia Badiei, aka Pick Up Limes. It comes complete with Afghan dumplings and Bolani (stuffed flatbread). Yep, we're drooling.

Badiei's parents fled Afghanistan during the war of 1979. Her Afghan feast video includes beautiful snippets of conversations with her mum, and a message from both her parents about what's happening in Afghanistan now.

All of the revenue generated from the Afghan feast video will be donated to three different organisations to support Afghan people: the International Committee of the Red Cross, International Rescue Committee and Women for Women International.

Insider tips:

Have a reco to share? Let us know what you love and why here - we'd love to share your recos in Glowreel!

Bites

  • The stories of the women of Afghanistan continue to be important to share. Like Afsoon, who was so proud of her beauty salon, and has now had her career ambitions shattered. And journalist Madina Jaffari, who hoped to return to Afghanistan one day as a reporter.
  • Ummmm Texas, you ok? The Texas abortion ban has been making headlines and pissing off women everywhere. Why are we still debating women's bodily autonomy!? More on the ban, and the organisations you can donate to to fight the abortion ban here.
  • What does an astronaut look like?? Lisa Alcindor is a Black woman on a mission to get to outer space, and she wants people to know that astronauts can look like her: long braids, long lashes and a flair for fashion. "My goal is to show people that they truly are limitless."
  • Avani Lekhara broke another Paralympic record. She's now the first Indian woman to win multiple medals at the Paralympics. Lekhara recently made headlines as the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic gold, in shooting.
  • Imagine having two whales visit you while you're paddle boarding ... Analia Giorgetti doesn't have to imagine - it happened to her while paddle boarding in Argentina. A "beautiful moment" for sure ... but also kind of scary?!
  • ICYMI, South Korean women are reclaiming their short hair. South Korean archer An San was praised for winning three Olympic gold medals in Tokyo, but also criticised for her short hair. So a woman named Han Jiyoung started a short hair campaign on Twitter, under the hashtag #women_shortcut_campaign. Tens of thousands of women have uploaded images of their short hair, in solidarity with San. We love to see it!
  • Zendaya is Zendaying, as always! We know, you've already seen the pics of Zendaya in the naked dress at the Venice Film Festival. But it was too good to not share - it sparks all the joy!

Community Spotlight

Sandhya Ramautar On The Power Of Art Psychotherapy

Sandhya Ramautar On The Power Of Art Psychotherapy

Meet Sandhya Ramautar. A London based art psychotherapist who's encouraging more people, particularly women of colour, to use art therapy as a tool for processing experiences and emotions.

"Art therapy is the process where you can use art materials, like clay and paint brushes to draw out the emotional, deep seated feelings that you might have inside of you."

Ramautar has first-hand experience of using art therapy to process trauma in her life.

A former prop/model maker, Ramautar found herself at a crossroads after her dad passed away a few years ago. "My dad was a major influence in my life."

A friend suggested she get into art therapy. While she felt a little intimidated - Ramautar was the only person of colour in her University interview - she went on to do a course in art therapy. Through her studies, she learnt how art can be such a force in helping get emotions out. It's what helped her process the loss of her dad.

"It's a powerful vehicle to draw something out of somebody that they might not necessarily want to talk about."

Ramautar now works as an art therapist at a school in Croydon, England. Her work focusses on supporting teenagers from the LGBTQIA2+ community.

She hopes that spreading the word about art therapy will help remove any stigma associated with accessing therapy.

"It's important that people of colour like me are seen in these roles ... and to show different communities that it is okay to talk, it's okay to share how you feel."

Historical Woman

The Amazons of Dahomey: The Fearless Female Fighters

The Amazons of Dahomey: The Fearless Female Fighters

The Amazons of Dahomey are the only documented female army in modern history

They were the frontline soldiers in the army of the Kingdom of Dahomey, a West African empire that existed from 1625 to 1894. It is now known as Benin, which sits between Nigeria and Togo.

According to legend, the army started with Queen Hangbe who ruled from 1708 to 1711. She initially established a group of female bodyguards

In 1818, King Ghezo officially integrated the Amazons into the army.

This was partially a practical decision. Dahomey's male population was increasingly becoming scarce because of the European slave trade and ongoing war.

The Amazons were known for their fearlessness and strength!

By the mid-1800s, Dahomey had thousands of female troops as it fought rival kingdoms

Benin was seized by the France in 1894 and colonial officers disbanded the army of women warriors.

They opened new classrooms in what became known as Benin and made no mention in the curriculum of the Amazons. Despite this, the legacy of the fearless female army lives on.

The role of Queen Hangbe and her Amazons remains in Benin. They were also the inspiration for the Dora Milaje in Black Panther

The descendants of Queen Hangbe and her Amazon army play a ceremonial role, presiding over religious rituals in the community.

A team of Beninese researchers is also compiling a book, based on stories from the descendants, so their legendary story can be taught in schools.

Their story will also be told in the upcoming film The Woman King (release date TBC).

One Lioness To Another

“An important attribute of success is to be yourself. Never hide what makes you, you.”

-Indra Nooyi

November 30, 2022
by 
Shilpa Bhim