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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

It’s that time of the year once again when we recognize women for all of their accomplishments. People like Rosie the Riveter, Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, Malala Yousafzai and Harriet Tubman—the faces of their own creations—are getting praised for their contributions in this male-dominated world, while we often disregard the women who do not get to be the star of their achievements. Whether a man has decided to take all of the acclaims, or society has just undoubtedly given it to them, there are so many women out there that have a much bigger hand in creating than anyone is letting on. The best step forward is to finally recognize these women, not for guiding the men who have been given their praise, but for the creations they have given us themselves. As the saying goes: behind every great man is a great woman, but why must we exist from behind?

Below are some of the powerful women that have unfortunately had to exist behind what society knows to be powerful men. Their contributions have earned a great deal of approval and admiration — just not for themselves.

Yoko Ono

“One of the most influential songs of the 20th century” is how History.com describes John Lennon’s “Imagine.” What most don’t know, though, is just how uninfluential it would have been without the other, non-credited, writer Yoko Ono. Yoko Ono herself was an accredited multimedia artist and also happened to be the wife of John Lennon, one of the industry’s most recognized names. She played a part in the creation of the song that gave Lennon the stardom he now has and was then betrayed by her own husband when credit came due, leaving her to remain recognized mostly by her relationship with Lennon. Yoko has now finally been given credit, but for 46 years she went unnamed in her work, leaving Lennon to confess to the sexist intentions behind it: “If it had been Bowie, I would have put Lennon-Bowie.”

All of the Playboy bunnies

Hugh Hefner’s playboy bunnies are one of the most iconic and widely known groups of sex models and sex workers. For some reason, of the over 25,000 playboy workers, most people only seem to remember the group by Hugh Hefner himself. It was said that most of the women did not have an enjoyable time being a “live-in girlfriend” at the mansion because of the multiple allegations of abuse and blackmail coming from Hefner. The Cut has a more in-depth explanation as to what allegedly happened on the inside but says that his former girlfriends describe the experience as cult-like while having no way out since Hefner allegedly had collateral tapes on most of the girls preventing them from being able to leave freely.

Hugh reaped all the benefits from the popularity of the Playboy Mansion: money, fame and connections. While the girls were the ones who had to do all of the work and endure all the trauma, all Hugh had to do was supply the money and the platform. Pamela Anderson, although as famous as she is, was his most featured bunny and yet still holds nowhere near the fame and fortune that Hugh did. Anderson is said to have a net worth of about $20 million, while Hugh was said to have one of about $50 million before he died. The same could be said about thousands of other playboy workers, whether working in the mansion or not, whose names were lost to the mistreatment and exploitation of this man. To name a few: Marilyn Lange, Stacy Sanches, Jennifer Jackson (the first black Playmate of the Month) and Holly Madison, who wrote “Down the Rabbit Hole” about her experiences as a playmate.

Nettie Stevens

Nettie Stevens was a geneticist who did research on how the sex of a child is determined. Based on her research, she was able to determine that sex is a Mendelian trait that is based on genetics. When she published her theory, her colleague E.B. Wilson, a man, happened to also publish a similar theory at the same time. Although Stevens’ work was proved to be more accurate, Wilson was deemed responsible for the discovery and her work became overshadowed. 

Mariama Diallo and Patricia Luiza Blaj

It’s no secret that the entirety of the SHEIN business is created under unethical pretenses. Though, with being named the largest fashion retailer of 2022, most would rightfully assume that the title was at least claimed based on some originality in the business, although that is exactly the opposite of what SHEIN has. For years, SHEIN has been under fire for allegedly stealing designs from smaller designers and selling them without any mention of their inspiration. While it’s not entirely illegal for big companies to do this, it’s extremely distasteful and upsetting for Chris XU, the male CEO of SHEIN bringing in a net worth of $100 billion for the company, to be cheating creators with a much smaller platform out of their opportunity to make their own money.

Two women to look to particularly, although this has happened to hundreds of others, are Miriama Diallo and Patricia Luiza Blaj. Miriama is the owner and designer of Sincerely Ria, a Black woman-owned luxury clothing company and took to Twitter to show that SHEIN not only copied one of her dress designs exactly but also took inspiration from her brand’s aesthetic for the piece’s cover shoot. Patricia Luiza Blaj founded Loud Bodies, a women-owned slow-fashion brand for size-inclusive clothing. SHEIN stole a dress design from them for their plus size line and Patricia called them out saying that they made a blatant rip-off right after having to “go through the toughest year small businesses had to go through.” They then sold it for only $20, which shouldn’t even cover the labor costs.

Both women make beautiful, quality pieces that would absolutely hold up better than the SHEIN knock-off they’re trying to sell. Sincerely Ria and Loud Bodies can be found on Instagram here.

Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar

Lori Locust, who previously worked for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was the NFL’s only female defensive coach. She, alongside Maral Javadifar, Tampa Bay’s director of rehabilitation/performance coach, became the first female coach to clinch a Super Bowl Win. 

Women have proven time and time again how critical we are to society, yet we continue to need double the accomplishments to receive even half the praise. These women don’t cover even a fraction of the accomplishments by women that men are praised for, but it’s important to extend a big thank you to them for the things they should have been recognized for, and a not-so-big thank you to the men who didn’t let them.

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I'm a freshman at FSU studying psychology and criminology. I love painting, watching TV, going to the beach, and hanging out with my cat.