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The Exploress Podcast
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The Exploress Podcast

Author: Kate J. Armstrong

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Join us as we time travel back through women's history, exploring the lives and stories of ladies of the past, from the everyday to the extraordinary, imagining what it might have been like to be them.
19 Episodes
For millennia, brewing was overwhelmingly a woman’s game. You can’t research beer’s history without stumbling across female brewers. So why, when we conjure up an image of a brewer, is it a dude we always picture? How did beer, both the brewing and the drinking, become overwhelmingly a “man’s drink”? To find out, we’ll explore how beer was made in the ancient world, then hop forward through time up to the present, following a particular story through history: the relationship between women and beer. Their connection to one of the world’s oldest beverages will probably surprise you; it may even change your relationship with that IPA currently sitting in your fridge. Episode includes an interview with modern-day lady brewer Flora Ghisoni of Colonial Brewing Co. Selected music by Kevin Macleod and Keith Zizza. To become a patron of the show, check this out.
Let's continue exploring the lives of ancient Egypt's female pharaohs. We'll start by talking about Hatshepsut's rise to fame and glory: how she stayed on top and what she did while she was there. Then we'll dive into the stories of Nefertiti, a savvy beauty queen with a fanatical boyfriend, and Tawosret, who wasn't afraid to get blood on her hands on her path to power. We'll travel through several eras, looking at the Egyptian language of power and what these women had to do to prove they were more than capable of ruling their world.  For show notes, head over to my website. While you're there, become a patron of the show and receive bonus goodies by clicking on Become a Patron. (Most) music by Keith Zizza and Derek & Brandon Fiechter.  
In ancient Egyptian, the word "pharaoh" doesn’t mean king; it means “great house”. They had no word for queen at all. All royal women were defined by their relationship to that house: with titles like Great Royal Wife, Great Royal Daughter, Great Royal Mother. They were there to support, not to rule. And yet, in an ancient world where men ruled the day, Egypt saw a slew of influential females stalking the gilded royal halls. Some were royal wives and mothers, whispering in their pharaoh brother-husband’s ear, and some stepped in to rule for him when he was too young to do it himself. But then, others were pharaohs in their own right, beating the odds to rule alone. Who were these women? How and why did they get to be pharaohs, when so many of the ancient world’s major empires never suffered a woman to rule? What was life for a woman on top? And what did they have to do to stay there? Let's start with three amazing ladies: Merneith, Neferusobek (Sobekneferu), and Hatshepsut. For show notes, head over to my website. While you're there, become a patron of the show and receive bonus goodies by clicking on Become a Patron. (Most) music by Keith Zizza and Derek & Brandon Fiechter.
Let's continue our day as an everyday lady in ancient Egypt's New Kingdom during the 18th Dynasty. We'll talk about what we're doing for both work and pleasure, go to a feast, and explore medicine, contraception, mummification and the afterlife. Put on your best jewels and let's go traveling. For show notes, head over to my website. While you're there, become a patron of the show and receive bonus goodies by clicking on Become a Patron. (Most) music by Keith Zizza and Derek & Brandon Fiechter.  
Of all the civilizations in the ancient world, Egypt was perhaps the most prone to the miraculous. They invented many wonders: the 365-day calendar, breath mints, paper, the ramp and lever. And then there’s this particular wonder: ancient Egyptian women had more freedom and power than anywhere else in the ancient world. Why was Egypt such an exception to the ancient rule? What did their lives really look like? Grab a linen sheath, your dangliest earrings, and a whole lotta sunscreen. Let’s go traveling. Music from this episode includes: “Hathor,” “Nefertiti,” and “Lost Tombs” from the album Ancient Egypt by Derek and Brandon Fiechter. “Journey of the Nile, “Festival Dance,” and “Jewel of the Desert” from the album Children of the Nile by Keith Zizza. To support the show and get access to exclusive content, become a Patron.  If you're keen to check out the map and timeline I created just for Season 2, plus a list of my sources and an episode transcript, head over to my website.
America's Wild West evokes images of grizzled men in fringed chaps, but women were also there to help shape the frontier: the pioneer women who fought through many hardships to carve out a life on the dusty plains and the Mexican and Native American women who were already there, trying to hold on to their way of life. What was life like for these women as they traveled by wagon train and set up houses on the prairie? How did women already living there deal with the threat pioneers posed? And what about the cowgirls and lady gunslingers of legend: were they real? Let's find out if the Wild West was a place of freedom for women or if the same Victorian-era rules still applied. Get ready for rough rides, loud bawdy houses, extreme weather, hard work and many, many snakes.
The 19th century's best-selling novel was an incendiary story about the evils of slavery, written by a northern woman who wanted to change the world. Meet Harriet Beecher Stowe, the authoress who refused to sit down and be silent about the peculiar institution. In this bonus episode, let's find out how (and why) she wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin, and what about it lit mid-19th century America on fire. We'll also explore what it took to be a lady writer in a time when "working mother" wasn't a thing genteel society wanted you to be. For more bonus episodes, become a patron of the show! Just go to 
Harriet Tubman and Elizabeth Keckley took different paths to freedom, and navigating their new world. One because a famous conductor on the Underground Railroad, spending a decade liberating family and strangers alike. The other became a successful dressmaker in the nation's capitol, dressing the leading political ladies of the day. Both showed an incredible work ethic, a hunger for success, and a deep commitment to themselves and to helping others. Let's hear the rest of their incredible stories!
Elizabeth Keckley and Harriet Tubman spent decades in bondage, suffering everything the "peculiar institution" promised before finding very different paths to freedom. What they did with that freedom is nothing short of extraordinary. In weaving together the lives of these two incredible women, a picture emerges: a window into what it might have been like to be an enslaved woman in 19th-century America. In Part 1 of this two-part episode, we'll dive into the world they were born into and their childhood struggles, exploring the trials of their lives in chains...and how they ultimately escaped them.
I'm bringing one of my bonus episodes out of the Patreon vault and sharing it with everyone! Back by popular demand, this bonus gives a more in-depth glimpse into sex in 19th-century: specifically the fascinating lives and times of two very prominent madames. One was Washington's most renowned brothel owner, who opened up a gilded bawdy house just a stone's throw from the Capitol building. The other made quite a scandalous splash as the East Coast's most infamous lady doctor/abortionist. Let's talk about sex, scandal, contraception and abortion - about the lives of women of the evening, and the lengths 19th century women went to in order to find a little help in the realm of family planning. If you like this episode, go to, become a patron, and dive right into 2+ hours of bonus content (and counting). I'd love to see you there!
Comments (2)

Amanda Hughes

Loving this new podcast, its a great addition to my lineup. When can we expect a new episode?

Oct 10th

The Exploress

Amanda Hughes I’m glad you’re enjoying it! I try to publish every two weeks while a season’s running. I’ll be publishing the next episode later this week!

Oct 22nd
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