It's amazing to me how sick everyone is of talking about ladies, considering how rare it is for us to talk about actual ladies. I mean, specific people who happen to be ladies, rather than the abstract, intangible concept of "ladies" and lady-ness. "Ladies," we'll say, and then sit back and sip at our cappuccino/Scotch/Shirley Temple. "They sure are that thing they be. I wonder if it's possible for them to be funny or do math." Meanwhile, in the background, actual ladies with body-hair and smelly armpits and bad tempers are inventing computers and punk rock and, like, pies too probably (now I'm just listing my favorite things). And we were too busy nursing our Shirley Temples to even notice.
But seriously folks, there are a lot of women who basically redefined pop culture and never got the credit they were due. Until now, because I'm giving them credit. And I think they'd all agree that what I think is the most important.
5 Star Wars Sucked Until Marcia Lucas Fixed It
Like everything great, Star Wars came within an ass-hair's width of being total shit. You gotta remember that in the '70s anyone with a doofy beard and a plaid shirt could shoot a movie just by telling people what to do and not giving them the chance to disagree. It was a magical time.
Gayer! Gayer! I AM DRUNK WITH POWER!
But through George Lucas' devotion to an acid flashback he was apparently having for three straight weeks, when production wrapped, he found himself with a masterpiece of celluloid, right?
Nope! Turns out that the first cut of Star Wars was an incomprehensible mess, and it was up to George's wife and editor, Marcia Lucas, to swoop in and save the day ... again.
Actually, Marcia was Lucas' "muse" through the entire production, if by "muse" you mean "person who had all the good ideas." It was her idea to kill Obi-Wan (apparently George's first draft had him just disappearing at one point) and demanded that Lucas keep the "For Luck" kiss scene that would snarl the series up in a knotty mess of incest once the third movie was released. But, most importantly, she's totally responsible for the Battle of Yavin, also known as The Death Star Trench Run scene, also known as The Part at the End of the Movie Where the Good Guys Win.
If you don't immediately believe that editing can create tension in a scene, you can watch a re-creation of how the scene was scripted here, but I recommend railing some coke or something first to keep your attention span up. If you can't watch that because you're at work, the pre-Marcia version has Luke taking two full runs at the exhaust port, no appearance of ghost-Obi-Wan telling Luke to use the force, and -- worst of all -- Han scares Vader away from Luke like 45 freaking minutes before Luke takes his shot at the exhaust port, meaning that the only thing we're worried about happening in that scene is Luke missing and having to take the same shot for a goddamn third time. A pretty good rule for filmmaking is that if the biggest threat in your movie is the runtime, then the drama isn't really working.
Basically, without Marcia the movie never would've caught on as anything but another forgettable '70s schlock adventure with a better-than-normal soundtrack, but she was completely written out of Star Wars history by a messy divorce shortly after Empire Strikes Back was released (in fact, the production of Empire had been, in part, an attempt to save their marriage).
In a completely unrelated coincidence, no one made a good Star Wars movie ever again.
4 Lizzie Magie Invented Monopoly to Critique Big Business, Got Screwed by Big Business
Everyone knows the classic story of the invention of Monopoly. Haha, no they don't. That's ridiculous. But if you read the instruction manual or just Google the question, you get a pretty straightforward answer ...
And then you move on to more important stuff because you're a real person with stuff to actually take care of. In fact, you're so important that you didn't even notice the subtle part in those Google results that hinted at a deeper, richer story full of intrigue, mystery, and betrayal ...
The plot thickens!
Thirty years before Charles Darrow "invented" Monopoly, staunch anti-monopolist Elizabeth Magie created The Landlords Game, not as the fast-paced thrill-ride we know today, but as a piece of political commentary. There were two versions: one where you could be a monopolist and crush your opponents and another where everyone benefited when wealth was created. Of course, "fun" and "politically relevant" rarely overlap, and it turned out everyone preferred the more cruel version of her game. Darrow learned that version of the game from a friend and, being a cunning entrepreneur, turned around and sold "his" idea to Parker Brothers. When Parker Brothers found out that they didn't have a monopoly on Monopoly, they tracked down Magie and bought the idea from her for $500 -- which was less than she had spent developing and promoting it in the first place.
Turns out the creation of Monopoly was just like a game of Monopoly: complicated, longer than you expected, and in the end the biggest asshole won.