In early November, the relatively unknown Twitter account @xnulz tweeted out a bold statement: “Name a bitch badder than Taylor Swift.”
As Twitter proclamations go, this felt relatively par for the course for a platform that enjoys ridiculing celebrities’ every move.
While some claimed to be stumped by that challenge, others took this dare as an opportunity to tell the stories of some of the largely forgotten women throughout history who are undeniably, absolutely and thrillingly badass.
People named women like Franceska Mann, a ballerina from Poland who led a rebellion in Auschwitz.
And Queen Ana Nzinga, a leader from present-day Angola who led revolts against Portuguese slave traders and procured her own male harem.
And Mariya Vasilyevna Oktyabrskaya, who obtained a tank and killed Nazis during World War II.
And Ada Lovelace, who’s considered to be the first computer programmer.
And women pirates who took no shit ever.
And Elizabeth Freeman, who was the first enslaved black person to sue for freedom and win.
And countless women who fought for women’s suffrage too.
It’s been a weekend-long history lesson that many are very here for.
Even Fiona the Hippo, that Rubenesque hippopotamus currently charming the internet, has been highlighted in this debate.
Although of course many people challenging Taylor Swift being the “ultimate badass,” have been ill-intentioned, others have taken this as a way to educate the general public on some of the most interesting women in history.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.