Fearless Women Who Made a Mark on the World

The rare condition Urbach-Wiethe disease can render its sufferers literally fearless. Meet a woman doctors call SM, who does not feel fear due to the disease: she has built-up calcium deposits that damaged her amygdala and eliminated her fear response. Though this condition is rarely seen, fearless women are not. Trailblazing women in history, like Amelia Earhart and Frida Kahlo, used ambition and skill to plow through the cards stacked against them. Annie Oakley was one of the few famed sharpshooting women in the American Wild West—her talent enabled her to pay off her family's mortgage by the time she was 15 years old. Mongolian princess Khutulun destroyed gender stereotypes in the 13th century, by being what Marco Polo described as a "superb warrior." Be inspired by the barrier-breaking women in this video playlist, and learn what's possible when fear is no longer a factor.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. "SM" is the codename for a woman whose amygdala has been damaged, eliminating her ability to feel fear. 00:11

  2. SM exhibited no fear when researchers took her through a haunted house attraction. 00:59

  3. Though she doesn't feel fear, SM is not emotionless. 01:27

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Khutulun was famous for darting into enemy ranks, snatching an enemy off his horse and riding back with her captive. 00:39

  2. Khutulun insisted any men who wished to marry her had to beat her in wrestling or forfeit 100 horses to her. 01:04

  3. Her father wanted to name Khutulun the next khan in the 13th century, but was not allowed because she was a woman. 01:39

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Annie Oakley was able to pay off her family's mortgage by the time she was 15 just by using her shooting skills. 00:31

  2. Annie Oakley's husband, Frank Butler, died three weeks after Annie did in 1926. 02:38

  3. Annie Oakley offered twice to train female sharpshooters for the United States military—but they turned her down. 03:01

Key Facts In This Video

  1. A trolley accident left Frida Kahlo crippled at age 19, and she endured physical pain for the rest of her life. 00:31

  2. Frida Kahlo identified as bisexual, and had many men and women as lovers throughout her life. 00:51

  3. Frida Kahlo's paintings remained largely uncelebrated while she was alive. 01:28

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Amelia Earhart was last seen on July 2, 1937. 00:00

  2. After Amelia Earhart's disappearance, the Navy concluded that her plane ran out of gas and crashed into the ocean near Howland Island. 00:35

  3. Some believe that Amelia Earhart and her navigator died as castaways on a deserted attol. 01:42

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Noether's theorem connects conservation laws and symmetries in nature. 00:33

  2. Bicycle wheels don't fall over while rolling because they are rotationally symmetric, meaning that they conserve angular momentum. 00:58

  3. Because she was Jewish and a woman, Emmy Noether was persecuted and denied faculty positions throughout her life. 01:44

Written by Curiosity Staff August 18, 2015

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