The Week in Women: 100 years of suffrage, big changes in the Vatican and a feminist Kama Sutra

Illustration © Victo Ngai 2018 from The Folio Society edition of The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana

It’s a blast from the past in this week’s newsletter, as we take a look at stories that are rooted in history. Let’s get started, shall we?

Wearing the suffragette colors of violet, white and green, more than 100,000 women marched in cities across the U.K. to celebrate the centenary of women’s right to vote. In 1918, after fierce and tireless campaigning by the suffragists and suffragettes, Britain’s parliament signed the Representation of the People Act, which granted the right to vote to women over 30 who met certain property requirements — an important step toward universal suffrage. One participant in the London march told the BBC that she was there to honor the efforts of early women’s rights activists, but noted that “we still don’t get equal pay, even in 2018.”

A new edition of the Kama Sutra, a very saucy 1,600-year-old Sanskrit text, includes illustrations by award-winning artist Victo Ngai, who says that her artwork will “situate the viewers from the women’s point of view.” Ngai’s contributions may mark the first time that a woman has illustrated the Kama Sutra, though that’s hard to confirm, since women illustrators in the past may not have been properly credited. The new edition also comes with a volume of commentary, because nothing livens up an erotic manual like a chunk of scholarly text.

An 8-year-old girl with an apparent penchant for ’60s rock did a damn good job performing the famously tricky drum part of Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times Bad Times.” In a now-viral video, which was submitted to the Hit Like a Girl drumming contest, little Yoyoka Soma can be seen effortlessly jamming in near perfect imitation of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. Well, when we were 8, we had almost figured out all the words to the Arthur theme tune, so take that, Yoyoka.

The Vatican may alter the course of its history by granting women an official position in the Catholic Church. A Vatican document has revealed that the Church is open to giving women some “type of official ministry” in order to compensate for a severe lack of priests in the Amazon basin, a vast territory that spans approximately three million square miles. The Vatican has also expressed a willingness to ordain older, married men, but it seems unlikely that the institution will grant female devotees the same opportunity; Pope Francis has been clear in confirming the Church’s ban on women priests. Why you gotta be like that, Pope Francis? Don’t you know women are your biggest fans?

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