Today's Google Doodle Honors An Unsung Feminist Hero

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Forget Hunter Thompson. Nellie Bly was the real gonzo journalist. More than 100 years after she rocked the world with her reporting — from inside a mental institution and from her trip around the globe — she's finally getting her due.

Google teamed up with Karen O for Tuesday's Google Doodle in honor of Bly's 151st birthday. Bly is best known for traveling around the world when she was 25, in an attempt to beat the characters in Jules Verne's novel, Around the World in 80 Days. She beat them by a week.

The song and video highlight some of Bly's other achievements as a journalist. She spent her career writing stories that exposed corruption and misconduct — from the zoo to the mental hospital to the Mexican government.

Bly was born Elizabeth Cochran on May 5, 1864, in Pittsburgh. She got her start early and gained her first newspaper job after she wrote an angry letter to the editor of the Pittsburg Dispatch in response to a sexist article. "The Girl Puzzle," which she wrote when she was just 20, calls out gender inequality that still exists to this day. She wrote, in 1885:

If girls were boys quickly would it be said: start them where they will, they can, if ambitious, win a name and fortune. How many wealthy and great men could be pointed out who started in the depths; but where are the many women? Let a youth start as errand boy and he will work his way up until he is one of the firm. Girls are just as smart, a great deal quicker to learn; why, then, can they not do the same?

Early feminist, heroine to women writers everywhere, undercover journalist extraordinatire, advocate for the downtrodden and exploited — happy birthday, Nellie Bly!

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