We Mead to talk about Margaret.

MRG here. WELCOME TO PART TWO OF SIBLINGS WEEK!!!!!!!!!1 Below you’ll find a post by my little sister AMG, who studies linguistics at a small East Coast liberal arts college and has been my parents’ favorite child for about the last 17 years or so but I Am Not Bitter About It. Ours is a relationship largely built on Harry Potter, Leslie Knope, and pizza, though, so naturally we’re ride or die bitches. We’ve got a lot in common, so I kind of can’t believe it took two and a half blogyears (that’s 18.5 in people years) for me to realize an AMG post would be a pretty great addition to the For Shame! canon. And thus, Sibling Week was born. And it was good. (Unless you don’t think she’s good in which case it wasn’t my idea it was LHB’s). Take it away, AMG! And don’t mess up my blog. Seriously. I’ll tell Mom.

“Sisters is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship.”

Margaret Mead on family

I know that title pun was weak, and I’m not proud, but in my defense, as soon as I started explaining Margaret Mead’s scandalous life story to my equally smart and sometimes slightly cooler older sister MRG she said “You should call the post Margaret Meat. It would be funny”, and, when I continued talking, she quietly repeated “Margaret Meat” and laughed a little at her own joke. With the best-case scenario pun gone, I didn’t have much to work with.

Consolation prize: another Margaret's meat (recipes)

Consolation prize: another Margaret’s meat (recipes)

Margaret Mead is best known for Coming of Age in Samoa, the book made from her PhD research. Coincidentally, and I may be derailing a little here, this is only one letter off from my sitcom idea about a troop of college girls who are still involved in Scout life (Coming of Age in Samoas) which I had to scrap when Samoas were renamed ‘Caramel deLites’.

Anyway, I get why Coming of Age in Samoa is so important. It’s about a culture that’s pretty much the opposite of old-timey (and present-timey) USA, and it really delved into sexuality and the sturm und drang of adolescence and all that other stuff the kids are into. Also, a teen who was disappointed with a punishment or even just a rule from his or her parents could just move into a cool uncle’s house or something and no one would care, rendering my favorite courtroom drama  completely obsolete. I get why that’s worth the attention and all, but I just think that Margaret Mead’s scandalous-for-the-1900s-book shouldn’t take away from her scandalous-for-the-1900s self.

Look at this face. Is this the face of a scandal-rouser? Yes. Yes it is, and frankly, the fact that you even had to ask that question disappoints me greatly.

Look at this face. Is this the face of a scandal-rouser? Yes. Yes it is, and frankly, the fact that you even had to ask that question disappoints me greatly.

Now, give me a second to set the stage for the beginning of Margaret Mead’s scandalous life. In 1923, M&M got married to her high school/college boy-next-door sweetheart Luther Cressman. Very quickly, I want you to remember that 1923 is three years after 1920, the year when Congress finally decided that our womanly hands are capable of gripping pens long enough to check off a ballot for voting.

Memory refreshed? Good. Because that will make it a lot more significant that she kept her own last name. Then again, this is the woman whose parents nicknamed her ‘Punk’.

Anyway, our girl Punk didn’t so much care for wifely duties, so she went off to Samoa to become one of, if I’m using the internet correctly, less than 15 female holders of anthro PhDs. Meanwhile, Cressman awkwardly sat at home until he eventually decided ‘screw it, I’m going to Hogwarts to reevaluate my decision to become a preacher’. (Fun fact: he eventually became ‘the father of Oregon anthropology’.  Follow-up fun fact: Oregon anthropology is a thing). Already separated by the Atlantic Ocean, the couple decided to make it official and divorced in 1928. The split could probably be attributed to how Samoa ‘changed her’ or her inability to refuse to respect his space like a normal wife, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it was maybe because of the prolonged affair she’d had with beautiful douchebag linguist Edward Sapir before she left to do her thesis?

mmm get it girl

mmm get it girl

I think it’s probably one of those, but my only real experience with ‘marriage’ and ‘relationships’ is reading Sister of the Bride in fifth grade. I mean, it could definitely be the affair thing, because I can see how your wife sleeping with her professor could be a bit damaging to one’s self-esteem. I can also see how it could be demeaning if that guy uses such eloquent language as “son-of-a-bitchiest” to describe the languages he studies for his job because he is a linguist who couldn’t think of a better descriptive word and also broke up with your wife by sending her a letter that pretty much just said ‘so now I’m married to a nice traditional woman who doesn’t make me think stuff UGH what a drag’. And it would also maybe be kind of bad if you heard that your wife, after reading the letter, calmly stood up, facing the scintillating, iridescent sunset bouncing off of Samoa’s beautiful waves, folded the letter over, and then calmly BURNED THE SHIT OUT OF THAT DEAR JOHN EPISTLE LIKE NOBODY’S BUSINESS, maybe you’d think to yourself, ‘Hm. Was she into that guy? Wait. Is that… bad for our marriage? Hmmmmmmmm.

But really, who am I to speculate. Our girl Punk held that it was only natural that their union would fall apart, since they were married so young (She was married at 22. In 1923). She tended to refer to it as her ‘student marriage’ in a flippant, Daisy Buchanan-esque way. Cressman’s response to that moniker was to shout ‘You BITCH I LOVED YOU!’ while crying into the tub of ice cream he was eating in an attempt to make the pain go away, probably, maybe.

Margaret Mead waited the appropriate amount of time after divorce to get married again, which is to say she waited a Kardashian marriage‘s worth of time. The next lucky man who got to put a ring on it was the absurdly named ‘Reo Fortune’. He was an intelligent, brooding  anthropologist from the Canada of Australia, so I’m about 95% certain that he was actually the love interest in a craptastic YA novel about some mysterious supernatural creature that young girls should not want to date.

Pictured: Reo Fortune, probably

Pictured: Reo Fortune, probably

They got along pretty well for a while; they even did field research together (anthropology dates! 2cute2deal). Of course, then Reo Fortune (seriously this is a name that could only be bestowed by a truly terrible writer I can’t get over it) decided to be the worst. They were studying the Mountain Arapesh in New Guinea – yeah, I don’t know who they are either, just go with it – and Mead observed and presented that these people were very peaceful- almost war-free. Then, without saying anything to his smart, powerful wife, Reo Fortune decided to wait a year and then tell everyone that actually, his research said that there was war all up in the Mountain Arapesh’s lives. Margaret Mead’s response was probably the classic ‘Yeah? Well my research says you’re a little bitch’ and then bam, divorce. This particular marriage lasted six years – one more than the last time! But there was so little Punk for such high demand – it was Maggie’s God-given duty to keep her marriage game strong. So, not wanting to keep anyone waiting, she married the one and only Gregory Batesman a bit more than a year after brushing Reo’s salty attitude off her shoulder.

Like most fantasy boyfriends, Gregory Batesman was a British man with a dark past – both of his brothers were dead by the mid-20s, one from World War I and the other from public suicide. This meant that proclaimed geneticist William Bateson, Gregory’s father, got to put all of his hopes and ambitions that he was unable to fulfill himself onto one person. Whatever those dreams were, Gregory probably fulfilled them – he got a degree in biology, lectured on linguistics, and practiced anthropology and cybernetics. I don’t even know what cybernetics is, and I paid attention in science class. So let’s just do a quick recap: tortured past, a doctor, British, highly interested in the ways of other cultures, hella genius, travelling with a woman who’s a bit out of place for her time, and really weird fashion sense…

NO BUT SERIOUSLY GUYS

NO BUT SERIOUSLY GUYS

TELL ME YOU'RE SEEING THIS

TELL ME YOU’RE SEEING THIS

I’m not saying he’s the Doctor, but I’m not not saying he’s the Doctor.

Anyway, he was Margaret Mead’s favorite husband, hands-down. She openly acknowledged that she loved him the most, which makes sense because Time Lords have double the amount of heart to love with. They had a beautiful genius baby together –Mary Catherine – and stayed together for fourteen years. However, Batesman made the decision to separate from her, which I will attribute to the TARDIS calling her Doctor home and if you give me any evidence to the contrary I will hum the Doctor Who theme as loud as is humanly possible. Mead was heartbroken, and stayed friends with him despite the fact that she was still in love with him, which is really sad and hurts me right in my heart bone.

I know what you’re thinking. ‘This can’t be right! When you catch a beautiful peacock like that, you don’t let her fly away!’  Well, my friend, sometimes you have to let your exotic pets free into the wild. One of those times is when that beautiful peacock has been having lesbian sex with another peacock.

Ruth Benedict was another anthropology professor Mead had studied under at Columbia (Oh hey, if I add ‘if you know what I mean’ to the end of that, it’s a pun! What a novel discovery). Clearly, our Punk had a type, and that type was ‘anthropology’, proving that really her only mistress was science.

I couldn't find 'NuancedSexualPreferencemon' anywhere online, so look at this Bulbasaur instead.

I couldn’t find ‘NuancedSexualPreferencemon’ anywhere online, so look at this Bulbasaur instead.

Of course, Ruth Benedict’s sexual relationship with Mead was more implied than anything, but it was implied by Mead’s own daughter in a memoir, which is more or less conclusive. Furthermore, this wasn’t her only implied relationship with a beautiful, cultured anthropological mistress. Five years after her final divorce, Mead moved in with Rhoda Metraux while they had a ‘professional collaboration’.

hint: it was sex. Sex was the collaboration. Margaret had found something other than just anthropology to fill the hole Gregory left behind, and that little something’s name was Rhoda. Oh, by the way, MRG, remember when I was four and you told me Rhoda wasn’t a real name? Because I remember it, no matter how much you tell me that’s not how it went down. Oh, I remember it. Give me a minute while I cut you a fifteen-year-old slice of humble pie.

Please tell me this is a sufficient amount of pop culture references.

Please tell me this is a sufficient amount of pop culture references.

Anyway, in letters published with permission from Mead’s daughter, a romantic relationship between the two is very clearly expressed, and when Mead was confronted with the rumor that they had a sexual relationship, she never denied it. Furthermore, while Mead never identified as bisexual, in several instances Mead theorized that one’s sexual orientation evolved with experience, much like a Pokemon.

There’s not much else to say about Margaret – she and Rhoda stayed close until she died in her sleep in 1978 as an adorable old lady at Rhoda’s side, did a ton of really great things for anthropology as a whole, and just generally stayed a badass bitch her whole life. I mean, while she was a professor she held a walking stick and wore – this is not a joke – her “trademark cape” at all times. If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking of another certain M.M. right now.

Just some food for thought.

AMG


A tranny with a Hart of gold.

If I actually was sorry, I MIGHT use this little fucking wide-eyed kitten to demonstrate my sorriness. BUT I'M NOT SORRY (I might be a little sorry) (should I say sorry again?) (sorry).

Okay, I know that we tend to do this post-absence mea culpa thing pretty often, so I’m going to go ahead and surprise you. I’m NOT sorry that it’s been so long since I posted. I’m not NOT sorry, but I’m also not sorry. Understand? GOOD. Because dammit, I am a real person (debatable) with real shit to do (equally debatable). I am not a historical-sex-scandal-blogging machine, here.

But I’m still pretty damn good at bringing you the secks, AMIRIGHT!?

That’s why today I bestow upon your scandal-deprived ears or eyes or whatever of the six senses you use for to understand the interweb (taste, probably)……….ALAN L. HART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

What was so special about young Alan, you ask? Hmm oh I don’t know maybe just uhh Alan was sort of maybe AMERICA’S FIRST OFFICIAL TRANSGENDERED PERSON! Which sort of sounds like Fox’s next reality TV venture. Anyway, you thought we were all old Hollywood lesbians and promiscuous writers, didn’t you? Well consider your expectations subverted. BOOM.

You probably can't tell from the cropping, but Al still has ovaries in this photo.

Alan L. Hart was born a poor black child Alberta Lucille Hart in 1890. Now the going has been, and realistically, still is tough (but FABULOUS!) for the gays and the transgendered here in the good ol’ US of A. And this is 2011. But imagine, IMAGINE WITH YOUR BRAIN WRINKLES, wanting to do a li’l gender swaparoo at the turn of the motherfucking 20th century. Holy crow, that’s a shit ton of anxiety to deal with. Especially when, like dear Alan, this desire manifests pretty early in your childhood and you’ve got supportive parents who let you dress like a boy when you’re visiting the family farm and do boy things like kill animals and eat dirt. When I say they were supportive, I’m not kidding – his grandparents’ obituaries from 1921 and 1924 (when Al was an oily preteen) list him as a grandson. Which is sort of adorable in a really forward-thinking kind of way, but also became real fucking problematic when the Hart clan decided to ship him off to the local school, where he had to start going by Lucille and dressing like a girl again.

Lil’ Lucy/Alan spent the rest of his school days writing essays under the pseudonym “Robert Allan Bamford Jr.,” which is a comically specific choice for a fake name. I would probably have gone with something more badass. Like Don Draper. Or Bert Macklin, FBI. Or just Danger. Now that’s fucking boss. But hey, to each his (or her – I don’t really know how to handle the pronouns while I explain this transitional time and I feel a little red state about it) own.

College was good for Al – he could wear his dude suit full time, and even picked up a slam piece named Eva Cushman. As in CUSHMAN for the PUSHIN’!!!!!!!!1 But in all seriousness, they were in love and transferred from Albany College (now Lewis & Clark) to Stanford together. Al went on to go get his medical degree, too, and was a skosh annoyed when they issued the degree in his lady name. Mostly because if he wanted to get any job anywhere as his man self, his employer might, oooh, I don’t know, check out the cred. And the cred would have a lady’s name on it. Which is why he had to switch back to ladygear for a while after graduating to work at the Red Cross in Philadelphia – once again illustrating that the “post-grad” “job market” in the “real world” is Siberian-motherfucking-cold.

This goes without saying, but excellent choice of glasses.

At this point, Alan (who is still going by Robert at night and Lucille by day) is understandably  in need of some advice. So he goes to a psychiartist and is like, “Listen dude, I’m really having A TIME. And I think that getting rid of my extraneous lady bits will help me alleviate the situation. Gotta hysterectomy guy you can recommend? And how do you feel about eugenics?” Now you might be thinking that Al’s shrink laughed at him until he and his unwanted uterus slinked off the velvet fainting couch in shame. And given the pre-established early twentieth century cultural context, you’d be right. But Al was one smart tranny. And he talked his very modern psychiatrist into giving the okay to America’s first removal of healthy organs as a result of gender misidentification! YAYYYYY FOR SWEET AL!!!!!!1

That’s right, ladies. Snip snap, bye bye ovaries. Score another one for the dicks.

I just want to interrupt this brilliant prose with an observation: he went from Alberta to Lucille to Robert and then settled on Alan? Couldn’t he have just hit that ending “a” with a little Liquid Paper, gone by Albert from the beginning, and called it a day? I mean, swapping genders seems like a lot of fucking work. Take the short cuts when you can, Al.

Anyway, post-surgery (which – I’m not trying to be gross, really, I swear – but SHIT, that must have been fucking medieval) (and not in a cool JAF way) (more like in a final-scene-of-Braveheart kind of way) Al met a fine woman with a fierce name – Inez, how fucking sexy is that? – and they got MARRIED! And moved to get away from the whole “everyone here knows I was a certified lady until my recent gender reassignment surgery” problem.

Sometimes a pipe is just a pipe.

But then the shit hit the fan – someone outed Al as recently de-ovaried, and Inez, with her ethnic-ass name, left him soon after. RUDE.

Hey. Shhh. I know you’re a little upset. You’re really rooting for Al. Trannies always finish last. I get it. But don’t worry, because not only did Al go on to marry a fine, probably really open-minded young woman, he also got like a hundred master’s degrees from like a hundred respectable research institutions and became an extremely prominent and well-respected professor of public health. But I think his biggest personal victory came after WWII when hormone therapy got a lot safer and more accessible, because then he could pop some HGH and grow a beard. I don’t know about you, female readers, but if I was a former lady who wanted to be a badass gentleman, I’d be really fucking excited about having facial hair. And getting to use one of those old-fashioned straight razors! And having a dope set of mutton chops a hundred motherfucking years before they were hipster-cool! And being able to wear ascots and shit! AND NEVER HAVING TO SHAVE YOUR LEGS AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!1

We’ve suddenly come to a weird place and I’m not the least bit embarrassed about it.

So here’s to dear, sweet Alan Hart whose manly perseverance eventually led to great personal contentment and probably a lot of very awkward pre-coital discussions. I speak on behalf of all the ladies of the world (you’re welcome, girlfriends) when I say that while we were sad to see little Lucille go, we’re glad that Alan achieved personal peace. And we’re so goddamn jealous of the no leg-shaving thing.

MRG


Sleeping with a professor is awesome! PSYCH, it’s a terrible idea.

BOOM, story time:

Once upon a time there was a hilarious and criminally attractive student named MRG. Now, MRG didn’t like “science.” In fact, whenever she wrote about it on her critically-acclaimed, award-winning* comedy blog about historical sex scandals, she used quotation marks to ridicule a vastly important branch of academia that she didn’t understand because deep down she felt inadequate as a lit major with a lot of smart science friends who did things like develop a sustainability plan for the Chesapeake Bay watershed while she read books about feelings and wrote papers about her feelings about those books about feelings.

Trying to make LHB hate science too. Cheap? Probably. 100% effective? Absolutely.

But the Registrar at her college knew that science was MRG’s weakness, and that she’d been putting off that science gen-ed requirement like her life depended on it.

But the Registrar, like all good villains, was omnipotent and knew MRG’s plan. So it did what any antagonist would do – it sent her a very polite listserv email at the beginning of the semester reminding her that she needed to take another science class to graduate. And MRG, valiant bitch that she was, went to said Registrar and apologetically and politely asked to be added to the introductory Psych class. Then the Registrar gave her a hard candy.

You might be thinking that the Registrar won, and if so, you’re fucking wrong. Because on the second day of class, MRG’s professor (who talks EXACTLY like Jimmy Stewart and looks EXACTLY like a gray-haired Stephen Colbert and therefore is married to the luckiest woman in the world) said “blah blah blah theories blah blah blah blah the most famous psychological sex scandal in history blah blah blah hypothesis blah blah” during a lecture about experimental design.

MRG is a red-blooded American woman, so she got a little turned on. But she knew what she had to do: she took care of her lady boner, fanned herself a little, and started frantically taking notes. The following post is a result of that most serendipitous happening. Serendipitous because 1) she’s learned something in a science class and 2) because it’s topical as shit now that school’s started again.

SO:

Way the fuck back in the 1910s and 1920s, psychology was still a burgeoning science. That Freud guy was getting really prominent with his theories about sex and stuff, and other psychologists (who probably weren’t actually referring to themselves as psychologists yet, but you get it) were also trying to make names for themselves. This thing called “ethics” wasn’t really too big yet, either, so all kinds of crazyass illegal experiments on people’s brains and shit were happening. All in all, a great fucking time to be a scientist.

JBW. Like an SBW, only less strong, less ethnic, and less female.

John B. Watson smelled what everyone was stepping in. He was a researcher at Johns Hopkins, and he liked to observe kids. Not in a pedo way, but in a SCIENCE way. And at some point in 1920 he realized that kids are so fucking annoying.

“They turn into pansy-ass bitches when they hear loud noises or see scary images. I bet it’s because they haven’t been conditioned to keep their shit toether,” hypothesized young John. “YES, I HAVE FOUND MY CONTRIBUTION TO SOCIETY AND TO SCIENCE.”

Really what he decided to do was to train a living, breathing, honest-to-god human infant-child to be terrified of white rats, just to be a douche and/or for SCIENCE. We’ve noted my lack of scientific acuity. Maybe that’s why I’m a little nauseous right now.

Rosalie Rayner, his alliteratively named, sassy, sexy, smart graduate ladystudent lab assistant, felt a little differently. Namely, super-crazy-science-horny. She was like, “AWWWW, I hate when children are very reasonably terrified by scary things, too! We’re totes soul mates, JB.” And then she probably unbuttoned her lab coat a little, because JB subsequently asked her to conduct the study with him.

Rosalie and her human puppet.

I’m not going to get into the experiment too much because it’s apparently really famous. It’s the “Little Albert” study. Google it. You don’t even have to do that, because I’ve linked the Wiki page right fucking here. Anyway, suffice it to say that JB somehow found a loving mother who didn’t give a white rat’s ass (SEE WHAT I DID THERE? Because there were rats in the experiment??! Damn, I’m good.) about her child’s brain/future life and then he proceeded to work his science voodoo classical conditioning magic on lil’ Albie until the poor guy literally pooped his pants at the sight of anything white and furry. Okay, maybe that’s not true. I wasn’t there. But I do know that JB and Rosalie went ahead and decided NOT to bother reversing the conditioning. Which is really fucked up. But I’m pretty sure it’s because they were too busy embarking on a steamy, sciency, professor-student love affair to give a shit about Albie’s “life” or the consequences of “irreversibly fucking it up.”

This is definitely an archival photograph of Ms. Rayner.

That’s right. We’ve come to the secks. These two were doing it all over the place, and probably in the lab, too. I feel like a lot of beakers were shattered. Remember that episode of Boy Meets World where Fred Savage guest stars as a hot professor who tries to bang Topanga, and she’s all, No, I have morals, I’m married to Corey? Remember that? I’m pretty sure Rosalie had the exact opposite reaction to JB’s advances. She was probably doing really gross and phallic things with test tubes, and then he was probably all, “Don’t gotta be a psychologist to know what’s on that bitch’s mind, AM I RIGHT?!” She also probably could get him some pot. I can’t deny that there were perks. Anyway, the the inappropriate banging ensued.

And of course JB was married. Of course. These two were also really shitty at sneaking around, so Johns Hopkins found out. After JB refused to just send Rosalie abroad for a little while (cause you know, that’s how these things are solved), ol’ Johnny Hopkins asked JB to step down. Which was good of them, morally…………….until you remember that they let this motherfucker alter an eight-month-old baby’s brain permanently in the name of science, undisturbed. But fucking a student, that crosses a line.

This is sort of cute. Fuckers.

Either way, Mrs. Watson divorced her asshat husband quicker than you can say “irreconcilable differences,” and Rosalie and JB were married in 1921 and stayed that way until 1935, when she died.

Listen, ladies. I get it. You get it. We’ve all had a crush on at least one of our male professors. They’re smart, they’re endearingly thin (because the eight-year PhD didn’t allow time or money for food), and they’re passionate about things. I know for a fact that should a certain British professor who knows how to werq an ascot propose marriage to JAF, our ginger friend would arrive at Heathrow in head-to-toe Vera Wang within 10 hours. I get it.

But here are some things that should impede a pedagogue-pupil relationship:
1) Possible loss of job/credibility.
2) Breaking up a marriage.
3) FUCKING WITH AN INNOCENT CHILD’S FUCKING BRAIN AS AN EXCUSE FOR BONING TIME.

I fucking hate science.

MRG.

*These are inaccurate adjectives.


A Raunchy and Radioactive Story of Scientific Scandal.

So far, our newborn of a blog seems like it may or may not be written by white supremacists.  And by that I mean it has focused largely on the sexploits of political, literary, or artistic men from Western culture.  In the next week or so, we’re going to try to diversify this blog hard.

Until it looks like the cover of an Ivy League admissions brochure, if you know what I mean.

She really should have been wearing a lead vest or something, right science people?

We’re going to begin by discussing a SCIENTIST!  (Oooohh ahhhhh) And not just any scientist, a LADY scientist!  But the fact that she was a woman is kind of irrelevant.  Like, you know how people will say, “Oh, she was the first WOMAN to win an Oscar for Best Director.”  Well, Marie Curie was the first HUMAN to do something really important and science-y.

Shall I elaborate?  If you insist.  She and her long-time french hubby, Pierre, scored a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903, and in 1911  she won another Nobel Prize in Chemistry by herself.  Bitch was the first person to win two Nobel prizes in separate sciences and IS THE ONLY PERSON who has ever done that in all of Nobel history.  PERIOD.  (I’m not saying she was ON her period, I’m just saying that’s the end of it, she’s the only one, good for her etc. etc. It’s not all about periods just because she’s a lady who does lady things.)

They were POLAR opposites. (Ok, not really, but I needed to get one more magnet joke in there.)

When Marie was in Paris in 1894, studying the magnetic properties of various kinds of steel, she found herself ATTRACTED to a certain instructor at the Ecole named Pierre Curie who, as it turned out, was also studying magnetism.  The two made it offish in 1895 and apparently had a really great marriage/intellectual partnership.  Which made it really sad when 1 wedding, 2 daughters, 1 Nobel prize, and 12 years later, Pierre was killed in a freak accident.  He was caught under a horse and carriage (which is what we had before cars) and fractured his skull, which may or may not have been the result of bone weakening due to prolonged exposure to radiation.  WOOPS!

Our heroine was devastated, but she managed to pull herself out of the drudgery of widowhood to become the first female professor at Sorbonne (more like sore BONE, am I right?!) and head of the University’s laboratory (un-fucking-heard-of.)

Oh yeah, and in 1910, right before she won that big ol’ Nobel Prize for Chemistry, she started getting it on with her husband’s former student, Paul Langevin, who was (you guessed it!) married with 4 children.

You know MRG is crushing on Marie's dark-rimmed lover boy.

When Curie’s academic rivals (mostly male) found out about the CHEMISTRY between Langevin and Curie, they were like, “Omigod!  We finally have a reason to shit on the smartest woman in the world who’s been making us look like chumps for the past few decades” and they told everyone they fucking knew.  Us Weekly was, like, all over that shit.  And People Magazine bought the rights to photograph their love den. The National Inquirer even interviewed Paul’s wife and kids.

No, not really.  I’m contextualizing, motherfuckers.  The point is, the whole debacle was a big freaking scandal in France and served as major fuel for Paris’ boy’s club of scientists who were super jeal of Marie’s brainy accomplishments.  She was plastered all over the tabloids as a home-wrecking bitch and somehow all of these wild accusations against Curie triggered an episode of mass xenophobia in France.  Curie was originally from Poland so people started to flip their shit about her being Polish and even started to speculate that she might be a Jew!  Which she wasn’t — don’t get me wrong, we’d like to take credit for this badass shiksa, but she’s not a member.  Newspapers spread rumors that her affair had started before Pierre’s shocking death (11 years before) and that his knowledge of it drove him to commit suicide (by throwing his head under a carriage wheel — seems unlikely to me, but what the hell.)  She was painted as an evil, Jewish foreigner who had stolen the husband of a good, kind Frenchwoman.

Needless to say, BIG. FUCKING. DEAL.  And I don’t think I’m really going out on a limb here saying that looking back, it seems pretty clear that her academic competitors were pretty eager to catch her doing something wrong because she was doing some majorly important science that they couldn’t understand so much due to the fact that they probably weren’t as smart as she was.

But it sort of speaks volumes, I think, that when we hear the name “Curie” today, we think about her contributions to science and not of the torrid love affair that ended in tabloid-induced scandal and the subsequent social abuse of her and her family.

And by “her contributions to science,” obviously what I mean is the fact that her lab notebook is still too radioactive to be approached and that before she was interred in the French Pantheon, no vegetation grew within a certain radius of her grave because of her body’s radioactivity.  And, oh yeah, she has an element named after her! NBD.

Yeah, now I'm on a postage stamp, Bitches!

Marie Curie is a GLOWING example of a woman with sass and smarts, who refused to let her delightfully scandalous love affair define who she was or the impact she made in the field of science.

Of which, of course, we understand nothing.  But since she used to carry bright green, glowing test tubes inside her pockets, we’re fairly confident that she was a BFD, and a major badass.