You know when actors talk about how when they really had to commit for a role and lose like 70 pounds? Like Matthew McConaughey did for that one movie and I think Jared Leto for some other movie.
Anyways. Know who did that before it was cool? Nellie Bly. This lady took journalism to a whole other LEVEL.
It all started in the 1880s when a publication wrote an article called What Girls are Good For. (I googled this article so you don't have to. Really. Don't. Unless you'd like to be consumed by rage-fire).
After our girl clapped back to the patriarchy she landed herself a full time journalism gig, mostly to advance women.
At just 21 she became an outspoken correspondent out of Mexico. She actually had to flee because she was so vocally against the Mexican dictatorship.
After that her paper decided to put her on fluff pieces about art or theater, so she said “bye, Felicia”, and began writing for a new paper. It was with “New York World” that she faked frigging mental illness to infiltrate and report on the conditions of mental asylums.
“What, excepting torture, would produce insanity quicker than this treatment? Here is a class of women sent to be cured. I would like the expert physicians who are condemning me for my action, which has proven their ability, to take a perfectly sane and healthy woman, shut her up and make her sit from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. on straight-back benches, do not allow her to talk or move during these hours, give her no reading and let her know nothing of the world or its doings, give her bad food and harsh treatment, and see how long it will take to make her insane. Two months would make her a mental and physical wreck.”
Her story prompted a full on investigation into mental health facilities and help propel an overhaul of the broken system. You know, the usual.
You'd think that exposing the mental health system would be enough to retire but our girl Nelly wasn't done. Inspired by the book Around the World in Eighty Days, Nelly pitched a very aggressive business trip that would take her around the world in just 72 days, only using steam ships and trains. In addition to being an amazing experience, her trip landed her a monkey from Singapore and a world record!