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Myths of Women's History

Sometimes, in studying women's history, you run across a story that is alleged to be true, but the facts and research just don't back it up or only back up part of the story. Here are some of my favorite myths of women's history, and my assessment of whether they're accurate or not -- or how much of the story is accurate.

Myths of Women's History
It's hard enough to know, as a women's history student or teacher or researcher, that so much of the historical record ignored women, and so "her story" is hard to find. But then, sometimes, you run into information that "everyone knows" but it just ain't so. I think that's just as bad! With each story, you'll find the best information I could...

Myths of Women's History: Your Favorite Myths
What are your favorite myths of women's history -- both those that are challenged and you believe are true, or those that you believe are not true? Add yours here, along with reasons you do or don't accept the myth.

Myths of Women's History: Bra Burning Feminists of the Sixties
Feminists in the 1960s burned their bras - we all know that - even if it Just Ain't So.

Myths of Women's History: Was Cleopatra Black?
Was Cleopatra (Cleopatra VII, Queen of Egypt) a black African queen? Find the evidence for and against and weigh it for yourself.

Lady Godiva's Famous Ride Through Coventry
Is Lady Godiva's ride myth or history?

Pocahontas Saves Captain John Smith from Execution
It's one of the best-known stories in American history: Indian princess throws herself on captive John Smith to save him from her father's order of execution. But is the story true?

Rule of Thumb and Wife-Beating - Mostly a Myth
That a man was permitted to beat his wife with a switch no thicker than his thumb was a fact, though it was probably not a formal law anywhere nor stated in common law in just that form -- and was almost certainly not the origin of the phrase rule of thumb.

Pope Joan: NOT
Popess Joan, a female pope: the legends persist, though there's little evidence for them.

Women and the Civil Rights Act
Was "sex" added to the Civil Rights Act in an attempt to defeat the bill?

Jane Fonda and POWs: One Out of Three
Yes, she went to North Vietnam and denounced the United States presence in Vietnam - but no, she didn't directly turn in POWs and cause their deaths.

Betsy Ross and the First American Flag: Maybe Not
Betsy Ross didn't make the first American flag, so why keep telling a false story?

Hillary and the Black Panthers: Exaggeration
The myth of Hillary Clinton and the Black Panthers has grown before our very eyes, right here on the Internet.

Did Anne Boleyn Really Have Six Fingers on One Hand?
How true is the charge that Anne Boleyn, Queen consort of Henry VIII of England, had six fingers on her right hand?

Who Were the Amazons?
Were the Amazons a race of women warriors who hated men and cut off a breast? Find out here.

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