Women's History Month: Bad Girls
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Mae West2 of 15
By Natasha Burton
Known for her sex appeal and wit, this American actress was one of the most controversial stars of her time. We’re huge fans of her many double entendres, particularly this one: “I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it.”
Angelina Jolie3 of 15
Before she was an uber-humanitarian, this actress was quite the wild child. (Who can forget the blood vial she wore around her neck containing then-husband Billy Bob Thornton’s DNA?) Her unapologetic attitude and refusal to mold into the typical Hollywood starlet, not to mention her numerous charitable contributions, will help her leave her mark.
Marie Antoinette4 of 15
This former Queen of France was known to engage in unladylike activities like gambling and was somewhat reviled by her subjects for her opulence in the face of their poverty (the line “let them eat cake” has been associated with her attitude toward the poor).
Janis Joplin5 of 15
Known not just for her unmatchable voice but also her outrageous hairstyles (which often featured beads and feathers), this music legend opened the industry’s doors to other solo female artists, especially in the rock genre that was so dominated by men.
Sherron Watkins6 of 15
This famous whistleblower helped uncover the Enron scandal of 2001 when she was serving as the company’s vice present of corporate development. She now speaks to groups around the world about leadership and ethical issues.
Deborah Sampson7 of 15
She challenged women’s role in society, both theoretically and literally, by impersonating a man during the Revolutionary War and fighting in the Continental Army. She was honorably discharged after a year and a half of service.
Marilyn Monroe8 of 15
This voluptuous pop culture icon secured her place in cinematic history by fine-tuning a comedic “dumb-blonde” persona in films like Gentleman Prefer Blondes and The Seven Year Itch. The only aspect of her that overshadowed her talent, charm and beauty was perhaps her troubled personal life.
Cleopatra9 of 15
As the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt, she solidified her hold on her ruling position by engaging in a relationship with Julius Caesar. While her legacy is more than just her beauty and sexual prowess, she is best known for her ability to conquer even the most powerful of men by seduction.
Joan Rivers10 of 15
Few women are as funny, have undergone as much plastic surgery and are as funny when talking about said plastic surgery as this comedienne. Joan was a pioneer of snarky fashion commentating, and her signature brash humor has made her legendary.
Bonnie Parker11 of 15
The fairer half of notorious criminal twosome Bonnie and Clyde is credited by some as the reason the pair was famous at all. As a woman, Bonnie “supplied the sex appeal … that allowed them to transcend the small-scale thefts and needless killings that actually comprised their criminal careers,” said historian Jeff Guinn.
Madonna12 of 15
The Material Girl broke boundaries with her cone bra and fresh attitude toward sex, marriage and women’s roles. And her music ain’t bad either.
Margaret Sanger13 of 15
It’s amazing how one little (and very controversial) pill changed millions of women’s lives. And this woman had a big part in paving its way as the founder of the American Birth Control League. She educated women on birth control before the pill came out and was a big activist in promoting it in the ’60s.
Betty Friedan14 of 15
In talking about “the problem that has no name” in her iconic book The Feminine Mystique, Betty showed women of her generation that there were others out there questioning their domestically centric lives.
George Sand15 of 15
Born Amantine Aurore Lucile Dupin, this French bohemian novelist wore men’s clothes (because she found them to be more comfortable) and smoked in public, an act highly scandalous in her time.
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