Influential Women from the book 4,000 years of Uppity Women by Vicki Leon

Jasy Jones, Perspectives Editor

The Story of Chime

Chiyome is a Japanese woman of the Renaissance era that deserves a place in our history books. Never would I have thought that such an amazing story existed. This is the kind of story that needs to be made into a film or recognized in society. A Japanese woman decided that she wanted to create a ninja training school for girls while her husband was away on “Warlord business”. She took in runaways, orphans, and children that were unwanted and secretly trained them in “martial arts, knives, swords, spears, and an ax-spear combo called the halberd” (paragraph 4). These girls learned how to use their bodies and minds to better themselves in espionage. Madame Chiyome saw that ninjas were in demand and made an entire school to train them. I wonder how she actually started her business. It is not easy starting a business, let alone an entire school for secret spy ninjas.

This story was, by far, the most interesting story in the Renaissance era because we mostly learn about women that were strong rulers of countries or women that were extremely talented in their profession. We do not hear much about women that want to start businesses, take stray children into their home, and train them to be ninjas. She had to have planned this for years before it began. Did she find other people to train them or did she train them herself in the beginning? That would just raise her level of awe-inspiring because this woman knew these arts and how to handle these weapons. Madame Chiyome is a true inspiration. In modern times, having women train like this probably would not be too popular because they would often use their bodies to get the information they needed and that is too close to prostitution. During her time, though, this was an amazing feat and more people should learn about her.

The Story of Katie Von Bora

Katie Von Bora was the wife of the famous Martin Luther of the Renaissance era. She was one of the nuns that wanted to convert to be a Protestant. Martin Luther was finding husbands for all the women, but Katie Von Bora only wanted him. Martin Luther did not want to marry her because he believed that he would die soon because of his rebellion toward the Catholic Church. She was completely persistent, though, because she was adamant that he had to be her husband. She was so persistent that he married her, even though he did not love her and she got to be the mother of great children with him as her husband. This story just shows how great this woman had to be because throughout all of her persistence and with her great personality, he fell in love with her and made him realize how important women are.

This story reminded me of Lifetime movies. This woman is such a perfect match for him, but he does not realize it until later in life. She was such a great partner for him that he even called her “’my lord Katie’ and ‘my rib’” (paragraph 4). Martin Luther believed that women should not be in a position of dominance, but once he married her “he wrote, ‘Get you a wife and then your mind, however fussy, will become straight as a ribbon. It will be reduced to one idea: Do and think as she wishes” (paragraph 6). She completely changed his mind. Their love story must have been something beautiful to watch flourish. Another reason why this story is so great is because of her famous last words before she died, “I will stick to Christ as a burr to a topcoat” (paragraph 8). This shows her strong personality, her belief in the Protestant religion and Martin Luther, himself. She was clearly a great woman doing great things.

The Story of Vittoria Colonna

Vittoria Colonna was the best friend of the famous artist, Michelangelo and it was a beautiful relationship. A quote from the book that describes their relationship is “Vittoria was a spiritual rocks, his teacher, his intellectual sparring partner, and the sole person in whom he confided his perplexity and anguish about the rapidly changing world they both lived in, and how to survive in it” (paragraph 4). While studying women in history, you hear a lot about women that were forced to marry famous kings and princes or were their concubines. You see a lot of women that were ditched by their spouses or ignored by them and that are how they gained their fame, but with Vittoria Colonna it was different.

She was just being a great friend and inspiration to someone and because of that support became famous. Their relationship was platonic, there were probably times where it toed the line, but in the end they never got together. It is refreshing to see a woman come to fame without having to be forced to marry or have sex with a man that had already gained fame. This woman was such a great friend to him that he was there on her deathbed. One thing about their relationship that really made me feel how connected they were was what Michelangelo said to friend after she had died. He had said that “he greatly wished he’d kissed her face, instead of merely her hand, in farewell” (paragraph 5) when she was on her deathbed.