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

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Trieu Thi Trinh

When the Chinese took over Vietnam in the year 111 BCE, their massive military might, brutality, and sheer numbers more or less neutralized any opposition. Nevertheless, some resistance (such as that by the in-your-face women Trai and Nhi Trung) continued. And among its leaders was the revered Trieu Thi Trinh, often called Lady Trieu in Vietnam. Lady Trieu  -- in her early twenties in 245 CE -- was said to be nine feet tall with breasts three feet long, which she threw over her shoulders or tied behind her back when she rode into battle on the head of a war elephant, as she was wont to do.

Wearing yellow tunics and shoes with curved fronts, Lady Trieu had already killed her own sister-in-law and run into the hills before the Chinese arrived. Gathering a thousand followers because of her boldness and bravery, she robbed and harassed the occupying forces until she had to take them on full tilt. When her brother tried to talk her out of the onslaught, Lady Trieu is quoted as saying, "I only want to ride the wind and walk the waves, slay the big whales of the Eastern sea, clean up frontiers, and save the people from drowning. Why should I imitate others, bow my head, stoop over and be a slave? Why resign myself to menial housework?"

Ultimately overpowered, Lady Trieu committed suicide. But it is said that her ghost came back and haunted the Wu general who defeated her and continued to be a source of spiritual support to her people throughout a thousand years of Chinese occupation. An in-your-face woman quits when she's damn good and ready.

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