What is this?
A series of researched illustrations/writeups of women whose stories wouldn’t make the cut for animated kids’ movies, illustrated in a contemporary animation style. In 2016, it became a book – and in 2018, it became a second book!
Additionally, the site has many profiles of “Modern Worthies” – women from living memory who would also not make the cut. There’s a regularly-updated blog featuring items related to non-conforming women, art, and peculiar bits of history.
However, as of 2019, the project is on indefinite hiatus while the author/illustrator/ne’er-do-well behind it rebuilds his finances doing a day job and develops other projects. It’s been five fun years, it’s been a good run! The Nancy Wake entry will get finished, but it’s gonna take a bit. Need to pay the bills!
Did they actually get rejected? Did you pitch these ideas?
Nope, but I think we can assume that nobody’s going to want to do kids’ movies about a lot of these people. They’re either way too awesome, way too awful, or way too weird. For a much longer explanation of why “Rejected,” here is a more in-depth explanation.
But someone did do a film about [Sita|Boudica|Wu Zetian|whomever]!
I’m talking big, corporate-backed, glossy studio movies. We all know the kind. :)
Have you heard of [XXXXX]?
Maybe! I have a binder list of more than
200 400 750 1000 1500 2000 women to illustrate, but I am always looking for more. In general, people I look for:
- They had agency, conflict, and personality – not that they’re necessarily “good.”
- Fight against significant, ideally illustratable, struggles (big institutions are more tricky to represent).
- Are outside societal norms.
- Have not been alive in the past 50 years. (this has some wiggle room – basically, I want the dust to have settled a bit. I post under the heading of Modern Worthies, but full-fledged entries are rare.)
- Of course, I also enjoy truly out of the ordinary stories, so none of this is set in stone.
- Ideally, are fairly unknown.
If you want to get in contact, please do so here! Helps me to keep things straight. :)
I sent you in a suggestion a long time ago and you haven’t done them yet. What’s the deal?
Could be a couple things:
- They could be too similar to someone else I did recently. I try to vary it up.
- They might be too well-known (e.g. Marie Antoinette).
- They might be too tragic. I try to do entries on people that can inspire in some way, and were not just mistreated their whole lives.
- I might be saving them for a book entry.
Wait, there’s a book?
Yep! Has a hundred entries, could probably be used as a murder weapon. More details here.
Is the book available in [Spanish/French/Portuguese/Elvish/etc]?
No, just English, for now. My agent and I have been trying to get it out there for years — the translation isn’t the holdup. The hard part is that it’s an expensive book to produce and foreign markets need a lot of evidence there’s a market for it, sadly. I’m trying.
You got [XXXX] totally wrong and now I think you are awful.
Oh no! Well, I hope you will tell me and help me correct my mistake instead of quietly resenting me for it. I am not a historian, but I put in a lot of effort on getting historical details correct. If I screwed up, please, send in a correction using this here form and let me know. If you send in a really good correction, I’ll give you a Nog Prize!
What’s a Nog Prize?
It’s an award I give to people with good corrections. It says that they’re officially smarter than me forever. See more here.
Who are you?
My name’s Jason Porath. I used to work at DreamWorks Animation (as an effects animator), but not anymore. Now I do this blog, and write, and am a general man about town. If you’re interested in more info, I have a little page about myself right here – so go ahead and check my privilege! :D
So you write this?
Who does the art?
…and the research?
So you were a history major, right? Or an art major?
Degree in film theory. Taken like two art classes in my entire life, no history classes since high school, didn’t draw at all for DreamWorks. I have little to no training in any of this. I just wanted it to exist.
How’d you get this idea?
That’s a question with a long answer. I answer that, and a bunch of other stuff, in this here interview. This one is pretty good too!
Why are you doing this?
Because I think it’s awesome. I hope you do too!
Do you have to cuss so much? It’s the sign of a weak mind, you know.
This project is entirely about not bowdlerizing powerful and difficult stories. I absolutely refuse to tone these stories down, or to write in a voice that is not my own.
But I could use your work for teaching, if you just didn’t cuss.
I understand that, but I strongly feel the original, base version of these entries should remain uncensored. That said, in the future I would like to make a version that is more all-ages friendly for just such a purpose – however, I’m not able to give it much attention at present. If you have such an inclination, however, feel free to clean up any of my work, send it to me, and I’ll post it online for all to use.
Don’t you know women aren’t fit to be in combat?
First off, die in a fire. Second off: if anyone ever starts spouting off this line of ignorant bullshit, direct them to this massive list of women in combat roles from 1500 BCE to World War II.
Who are you represented by?
Nobody, right now. Contact me if you’d like to chat.