A few disabled badasses

soap-lady asked:

Any handicapped badasses on your list?

I’ve done a couple already:

Annie Jump Cannon, expert astronomer, was mostly deaf.

Vispala, warrior from the Rig Veda, was the first person in recorded history or legend to have a prosthetic limb.

Penta of the Chopped-off Hands, well, had no hands.


Marie Colvin, a heroic journalist (and Modern Worthy) who died in Syria, had only one eye

Kitty O’Neil, car-racing stuntwoman (and Modern Worthy), was deaf from the age of 5, and survived cancer, measles, mumps, and smallpox to become the fastest woman in the world.


Spanish princess Ana de Mendoza y de la Cerda, whom I’ve written about before, was blind in one eye (she also apparently had a monkey with a neck ruff!)

Pavey for the Observer

Şafak Pavey, a Turkish politician (and Modern Worth) lost her right arm and leg in a childhood train accident.

Other potential folk I’ve not written on yet:

  • Tin Hinan, Tuareg queen mother who likely walked with a limp if she could walk at all
  • Taougrat Oult Aissa, a blind Imazighen poet who helped organize rebellions
  • Charley Parkhurst, a trans man who was a celebrated postmaster in the wild west, only had one eye (and thus was known as One-Eyed Charley) [who, it’s been decided, will never be included in RP — see the discussion here]
  • Tembandumba, terrifyingly evil Jaga queen, purportedly only had one eye
  • Mantatisi, queen of the baTlokwa, supposedly was hunchbacked, had one eye, and could control bees

By far my fave, though, is Kittie Smith, “the armless dynamo”:


Severely abused by her alcoholic father, she lost both her arms in a terrifying incident of domestic abuse. From there, she became adept at writing, painting, embroidering silk, worked at Barnum & Baileys and Coney Island, and became the first woman in Chicago to vote. And most incredibly, she forgave her father. Which, you know, she probably should not have. The fact she did is utterly astonishing. More details here.

(Kittie Smith is the shit.)

(standard disclaimer: I’ve not yet done a ton of research into a lot of these people, there may be inaccuracies)

6 Responses to “A few disabled badasses”

  1. Helena

    One woman I admire, though I haven’t found much material about her, is the Swiss Mademoiselle Gabrielle. She was born without her legs, and presented herself in freak shows, on a swing or a table. Yet, she was a independent, vain woman, who married three times.

  2. EleonoreBirk

    There’s also Margarete Steiff. She was partially paralyzed after contracting polio at 18months old, spent part of her teenage years watching the children of working mothers, became a seamstress regardless of her disability and founded her own successful business in 1877.

  3. orkideh84

    Frida Kahlo had a polio as a child, but her health got much worse after the bus-accident and had several fractures and had to stay at hospital/home for 2 years without being able to move much if at all.

  4. Ariadone

    Women are awesome!