I have some friends who attend a book club. Their goal is to read books about strong women. One woman in the club announced that there are not many books out there...I thought that was absolutely crazy. So I looked. Googled 'books about strong women'. Lots of sites come up with lists of books about strong women. But when I actually looked at some of them, they included books about strong girls or strong teenagers. Nothing wrong with that, but I just assumed there would be thousands of books about women. Many of the lists contained the same books as previous sites. How is that possible? There are millions of books out there!
Reading books influences us, shapes us. I thought back to the books I read when I was younger. Do any of these sound familiar? Harriet the Spy, Pippi Longstockings, Ann of Green Gables, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Little Woman, Little House on the Prairie, and the Nancy Drew Mysteries. When I reflect on them...they included a lot of moral lessons, taught perseverance in the face of adversities. Like being left alone on an island or coping with living in a cabin over a harsh winter. Good stuff but not quite what I'm thinking about.
What about really kick-ass heroines?
Not so many of them...they're typically male.
So here's the deal. I was watching a movie and this woman is locked in her house and the abusive boyfriend/husband/maniac stranger is outside trying to get in. Maybe you've seen that one? Yup, I thought so. The woman is always the frail victim, attacked from every direction.
Which means that the noise I hear in the middle of the night outside my window could be a squirrel or it could be him. I know that as women we have to be vigilant for our safety but isn't it tiresome?
When the movie Enough came out with Jennifer Lopez, WOW-it felt good. It's about an abused wife that fights back. Physically. And she emerges as the victor. (sorry to ruin it but seriously, it's been out since 2002)
Maybe that was a turning point.
Just look at Wonder Woman. Fight scenes dominated by Amazonian women whose sole job was to protect mankind. For 141 minutes, it was nice to watch the protagonist frown at danger and fear nothing. I came out of the theatre wanting to taking boxing lessons or karate or something else physical-I could still feel the adrenaline coursing through my body. And then I saw them.
A mother and her toddler daughter dressed the same - like Wonder Woman. The little girl's tutu, a slight variance, but likely deemed necessary. (Besides, there's no logical reason that defending the universe can't be accomplished in a frilly skirt.) That mom is raising her daughter to feel like a super hero. How cool is that?
I hope that this next generation of girls is bold, cocky, fearless and daring. I don't think they necessarily have to use a sword or a lasso but it would be really nice if they weren't brainwashed to believe that someone else has to rescue them. That they can do the job themselves. Oh, and I hope they wear lots of sparkly jewelry while they kick butt.