Inspirational Names of Outrageous Women
Born in 1874, Beatrice Moses Hinkle was a pioneering feminist, the first American female physician to hold a public health position, then becoming one of the most important early women psychoanalysts, doing trailblazing work on the psychology and creativity of women. A member of New York’s feminist Heterodoxy Club, she pushed for women liberating themselves from their “psychic bondage” to men.
- Born in 1874, Beatrice Moses Hinkle was a pioneering feminist, the first American female physician to hold a public health position, then becoming one of the most important early women psychoanalysts, doing trailblazing work on the psychology and creativity of women. A member of New York’s feminist Heterodoxy Club, she pushed for women liberating themselves from their “psychic bondage” to men." >
- Bronte sisters, the author of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte was an independent spirit who invented male pen names for herself and her sisters to fight literary gender bias, and created characters who were modern women, relying on their own self-esteem and intellect to find their place in the world: Jane Eyre is considered by some to be the earliest major feminist novel." >
- Sweden for 22 years, Queen Christina was a highly intelligent, cultured and witty, forward-thinking woman, under whose rule Stockholm became known as the “Athens of the North” and she the “Minerva of the North.” After scandalously abdicating and converting to Catholicism—the most high-profile convert of her time--she moved to Rome where, often dressed in male attire, she was a supportive patron of artists and musicians." >
- Clara Schumann did both, at the same time she was raising eight children. One of the leading pianists of the Romantic era— starting at the age of 13-- her career suffered in the shadow of her eminent—if unstable-- composer husband Robert and the pressures of her maternal responsibilities. Today her compositions are increasingly performed, recorded and appreciated." >
- Queen Cleopatra was the last pharaoh of Egypt, a popular and independent ruler in a world dominated by men. Her political savvy, intelligence, commitment to country, charm and beauty made her a role model for all women in Egypt and beyond, enabling them to become citizens and property owners, with a degree of equality in marriage." >
- Rebecca and The Birds became haunting Hitchcock movies—Daphne du Maurier’s literary reputation has grown over time. As a married bisexual woman, she was also ahead of her time in terms of sexual identity—reflected in the character of Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper in Rebecca, obsessed with the first Mrs. De Winter." >
- Diana Vreeland was the legendary editor of Vogue who expanded the world’s definition of style. A champion of unconventional beauty, Vreeland was also a pioneering working mother of twin sons. Of course, if you name your daughter Diana, it may also be seen as a nod to the Princess of Wales…or to the adventurous Roman goddess of the hunt." >
- New Yorker writer and famous wit Dorothy Parker was also a political activist who landed on Hollywood’s infamous blacklist. Parker was nominated for an Oscar for co-writing A Star Is Born. When Parker died, she left her estate to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and it passed on to the NAACP, which created a memorial garden for Parker at its Baltimore headquarters." >
- Harriet Tubman, born Araminta Ross, was an escaped slave who rescued about 70 other slaves via the Underground Railroad, including her own parents. Tubman helped abolitionist John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harper’s Ferry. In later life, Tubman spoke in favor of women’s suffrage." >
- Mercy Otis Warren was a poet and playwright whose work before the Revolutionary War criticized British rule and supported American independence. She wrote one of the first histories of the Revolutionary War. The mother of five sons, Warren advised many of the United States’ early leaders, from George Washington to John Adams to Thomas Jefferson." >
- Pearl Witherington parachuted into Nazi-occupied France, where she became the leader of an intelligence-gathering network for the Allies. In keeping with her brave wartime espionage accomplishments, Witherington also bore several different names and aliases: Cecile was her real first name, and her code names were Marie and Pauline." >
- Rose Valland was the real-life figure behind the character portrayed by Cate Blanchett in the film The Monuments Men. A French art historian and decorated war hero, Valland saved innumerable priceless works of art from the Nazis. Rose is a lovely name that translates across many cultures." >
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on March 6th, 2015 at 6:50 am
Lovely names born by absolutely incredible women. These are the kind of names I think of, when I think of strong female names, and why I believe there’s no need to use masculine names in order for a girl to bear a strong name.
These are my favorites of those in the article…
I do like Mercy very much, but prefer its sister name, Clemency.
on March 6th, 2015 at 10:19 am
Lovely list but with a couple of exceptions it seems painfully euro-american centric? Are there no inspiring and beautifully named Asian women in history who went against the grain? Cleopatra is on there of course, but in a list of predominantly unheard of white women it seems to be a pretty token gesture.
on March 6th, 2015 at 6:46 pm
I really like Clara, but my niece is Claire, so I don’t feel like I can use it. That’s the bummer about being the sixth child and all your siblings have a bunch of kids before you do, lots of great names are already taken.
on June 5th, 2015 at 8:19 am
Awesome list! Lots of lovely names and fabulous women. My favorite is Diana, as the article mentioned there are several strong women associated to this name- the Roman goddess, Princess of Wales, Vreeland- but one important Diana you left out is Diana Prince the alter ego of Wonder Women! An icon for strong women if there ever was one!
on July 15th, 2015 at 10:42 am
I appreciate this list tremendously! However, I had the same critique that OliviaSarah pointed out… I vote y’all do another list, focusing on women from outside the US or Europe. That would be wonderful ^_^
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