Monday, September 27, 2010

Wild, Wild Women of the World - Who Was She?

(taken from "Uppity Women of Medieval Times" by Vicki Leon)

"Her rap sheet was a mile long and her personal habits left a lot to be desired, and her aliases included "Moll Cutpurse" and the "Roaring Girle". Who was she?"

Born in 1589, Molly Frith got her nickname from robbing people by cutting their purse strings. She was a hard drinking gal who used pipe tobacco and wore men's clothing. An ever enterprising lady, she built up a network of thieves and then set up as pawn broker to handle the stolen goods. In an effort to branch out she also tried her hand at acting becoming the first woman to appear on the Elizabethan stage. In 1611 a play called "The Roaring Girle or Moll Cutpurse opened in London but it was also the same year that she got arrested for wearing men's clothing. In fact she landed in jail several times not only for her attire but also for her life of crime. Each time she was able to bribe her way out. You would think that her life would have been quite short what with her escapades but she lived to be 75!
So what do you think? Was she a role model for the self-made woman or was she someone you would not want your daughter to emulate? What say you?


  1. My husband's oldest sister would say that Molly Firth is a role model. She is a "femi-nazi" and she's always dreamed of being a "hard-talking boozer" ... her words. (But she isn't a boozer.) She believes in blurring gender lines and "overcoming" differences between men and women and raises her daughters such.

    I think my husband's sister is behind the times. More women since the women's movement are recognizing that there are real differences between men and women and hey, they like when a man can open the door and pay for dinner.

    Personally, I think Molly Firth sounds more like a lesbian than a fighter for women's rights and equality. I can admire her for being true to herself and being enterprising, but I don't see her as a role model... just a strong woman trying to make her way through life. I would NOT want my daughter to emulate her if at all possible... no no no.

  2. LOL! Your sister-in-law sounds like a real hoot!
    I think you are right about how the women's movement has changed and evolved to finally appreciate our differences. And as for Molly Firth - I'd hate to meet her in a dark alley. :-)

  3. I like the feeling in this painting.

  4. Thanks Susan - so glad you like it. It was inspired by the old song "Long Black Veil" - can't remember who sings it.