It's 2015 and still we hear
Republicans describe a woman's role in society as
"Barefoot and Pregnant". What is it that makes
these right-wing people so afraid of a human females'
Never mind, it doesn't really
matter what motivates their fear of women. What does
matter is females like Karen Lee Orzolek could
never return to the nonsensical days of yesteryear
when a popular closed minded columnist would write an
article for the Pittsburgh Dispatch, titled, "What
Girls Are Good For," in it, Erasmus Wilson wrote that
women belonged in the home doing domestic tasks and
called the working woman "a MONSTROSITY." Over
a hundred years later Erasmus Wilson's ideology still
Google Doodle pays tribute to trailblazing journalist
Nellie Bly on her 151st birthday with a melodic ode.
"Oh, Nellie, take us
all around the world and break those rules 'cause you're
our girl," the song goes.
If you listen closely, you might recognize the voice of
Karen O, lead singer of Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
The indie rocker, whose real name is Karen Lee Orzolek,
penned "Oh, Nellie" to go with the doodle of
Bly, who was born Elizabeth Jane Cochran on May 5, 1864.
It's the first original song to be written for the
delightful illustrations that appear on Google's
The song formed the basis of Google artist Katy Wu's
doodle, which is also the first to feature stop-motion
animation. The musical animation pays homage to Bly's
extraordinary life as a pioneering journalist and
adventurer in an era when little more was expected of
women than child rearing and housekeeping, Wu said.
As Wu sees it, Bly and Orzolek have plenty in common even
if they were born more than a century apart. They're
bold, edgy and daring, unafraid to challenge conventional
ideas of what a woman should be or do.
"If you see her onstage, she's daring in her own
way," Wu said of Orzolek. "She doesn't conform;
she does what she wants."
Compare that with Bly, who got her first job with the
Pittsburgh Dispatch by penning an impassioned
condemnation of its most popular columnist. In the column
titled "What Girls Are Good For," Erasmus
Wilson wrote that women belonged in the home doing
domestic tasks and called the working woman "a
The first line in the Karen O's song evokes the column:
"Someone's got to stand up and tell them what a girl
is good for."
Cochran's letter impressed the paper's editors, and they
hired her. She started writing under the pen name
She eventually talked her way into the offices of Joseph
Pulitzer's New York World and took on an assignment that
would change her life. She spent 10 days posing as a
mental patient in New York's notorious Blackwell's Island
and returned with stories of cruel beatings, ice cold
baths and forced meals.
Her reporting led to reforms of the system and set the
tone for her career. She exposed corruption and the
injustices of poverty by telling stories of the
disenfranchised, the poor and women. When she covered the
Chicago Pullman Railroad strike in 1894, she was the only
reporter to share the strikers' perspective.
As the song goes, "We've got to speak up for the
ones who've been told to shut up."
She reached the height of her fame when she took a
whirlwind trip around the world in 1889 to beat Phileas
Fogg, the fictional hero of Jules Verne's "Around
the World in Eighty Days." She returned to New York
in 72 days, beating Fogg's record of 80 days.
All those moments figure in the doodle, which took Wu
about two months to create in a sort of labor of love.
She hopes Bly inspires others to question authority and
"She gave women a space in newspapers when they were
generally preserved for men's perspectives," Wu
said. "She gave women a voice in current events and
media and dared to do a lot of things that women weren't
generally allowed to do."