because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Johanna Stegen

Sometimes, a single in-your-face act can ensure a woman's place in the history books. The story of Johanna Stegen, a German woman born in the late 1700's, is one example.

She was twenty years old and her Prussian countrymen were in a battle with Napoleon's troops when they ran out of ammunition. So Stegen loaded up her apron with bullets, grabbed the hem with her teeth to make a pouch, and ran straight out into the fray, handing out ammunition with both hands as she went, greatly contributing to Napoleon losing the battle.

Today, there are streets named after Stegen in Berlin and Luneburg and once a year, a woman dressed like Stegen probably did cleans a war memorial dedicated to her and reminds passers-by of the story. It was only one battle, but it might have cost the war. And, regardless, the Prussians that lived to tell the tale were probably seriously glad to see an in-your-face woman with a handful of bullets coming across the battlefield to save the day -- and their lives.

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