Pamela Villa is the founder of All the Women, an online platform for sharing women’s stories.
Suggested questions for discussing the articles in Pamela’s Text Set:
- Have you ever been told you can't do something because you're a girl?
- How did you react?
- If you could react differently now, would you change how you responded?
- Mountain Trekkers article: What were your initial thoughts immediately after reading about the Chettri sisters? When the sisters first started their business, the men threatened and bullied them. Have you ever been in a situation where you felt bullied (by either men or women)? How can we decrease bullying at schools?
- Maya Angelou article: Maya Angelou said, "I had to make a decision that I would tell a truth which might liberate me, and might liberate others." Have you ever been in a situation where you felt you needed to tell the truth? How was it liberating, if at all?
- Lupita Nyong’o article: Do you think society pressures women to adhere to certain beauty standards? If you agree, what are those beauty standards? What can we do as young women to combat this pressure?
- Misty Copeland article: Misty Copeland is the first African-American woman to become a female principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, an organization that has existed for 75 years. Do you think race can divide society and cause structural disadvantages that make it more difficult to succeed in America? If you agree that race leads to marginalization of certain communities and minorities, what have you experienced in your own life that has led you to this conclusion? What does society need to change to equalize opportunity for all Americans?
How do the articles you selected reflect your perspective on women's history?
The history of women is rich and multidimensional. Contemporary women are equally interesting. Through the articles I chose, I sought to show that broad range of experiences.
What has led you to do the work you do today?
I started a project sharing women's stories through a platform called "All The Women.” It started on Instagram and then expanded to a website. The female narrative in the media (film, magazines, news) always seems to center around our physical appearance. I wanted to showcase women in an effort to highlight their many dimensions, as well as share their wisdom through quotes.
Women who inspire Pamela:
All women inspire me. Two women have played significant roles in driving me to share women's stories.
- Frida Kahlo, Mexican world-famous painter. Growing up as a Mexican first in Mexico City and then in the U.S., Kahlo has inspired me since I was a little girl. I visited her house (now a museum) in Mexico City as a teenager. Her tenacity as a human and her talent as an artist continue to influence my work. When she was young, she was in an almost lethal accident while riding a trolley, leading her to experience immense physical and emotional pain for the rest of her life. She used that pain to create some of the most powerful art ever produced. One of her paintings ("Roots") sold for a record $5.6 million -- the highest price ever paid for Latin American art. It is difficult to find women artists that are as successful and well-known and it makes me happy to know Frida Kahlo existed.
- Gloria Steinem, feminist activist and writer who has dedicated her life to equal the playing field for all women. I saw a video of one of her speeches and it changed my life. Steinem was the catalyst that led me to share the stories of women.
Books that have influenced how Pamela thinks about women's history:
- Tracks by Robyn Davidson
- Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
- Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Pamela’s favorite female authors:
- Audre Lord
- Alice Walker
- Simone de Beauvoir